Treat early employees as partners in your business

Posted: July 2, 2011 in work
Tags: , ,

Rajesh Jain makes an interesting observation that “Employees can always get off when the going becomes tough or new opportunities beckon, but not the entrepreneur.”  He wishes that “staff joining entrepreneurial start-ups/early-stage companies show the same grit and determination through the challenging times“.  That is a reasonable wish, and I think it can be achieved by hiring the right people and giving them appropriate incentives.

Incentives in terms of stock holdings is obviously being widely adopted; the important thing here is to make sure the upside is alluring enough. If the stock reward is a paltry sum, it is not going to make a difference. Besides monetary incentives, it is also important for these early employees to be involved in all major decisions; they should know what is going on. They should feel that they are part of the founding team. If the founder(s) think they can push through the tough times and build a great product, how can the employees feel otherwise? If employees are not sharing the optimism of the founders, then it is definitely a matter of communication gap.

You can’t overestimate the importance of hiring right people early on. The right kind of people are those that value their work beyond the rewards that it brings in; the ones that are burning the midnight oil simply because they love what they are doing; not the ones that are doing their job to justify their paycheck at the end of the month. The ones that would fight with their boss to do what is in the best interest of the product; not the ones that are dancing to please the boss. Get the right people, and sell them your vision. When they believe they are fighting for a cause, when they truly think what you are doing makes the world a little better, they are there for the long run. They would toil during the tough times without any complaints.

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