Forbes writer and CEO Mary Juetten explains what your small business should look for when hiring new people.
When to hire new people is one of the biggest challenges any small business faces. And for cash-strapped startups, finding the skills you need at the right price is essential.
One CEO says she has answers.
Mary Juetten is the founder of the software company Traklight that assesses business risk and creates intellectual property strategies. It’s high-tech stuff, but her business advice is universal.
She writes in Forbes this month the first thing an underfunded small business should do when hiring is to get creative with perks.
Your startup might not be able to compete with tech giants when it comes to salary, but there are other things employees want more than money
Hire new people with perks instead of cash
As someone who has worked in New York City’s cut-throat corporate and tech cultures, I can attest the pay and benefits are good.
But, the job also requires your soul.
I remember the first time I toured Google’s brand new Youtube creator space in Manhattan. I was shocked by the amenities. The recreation spaces. The lounges. The casual seating and playfully high-tech design elements. There’s even a metallic wall that mimics your body shape and movements as you walk by.
The evidence of success is everywhere. It’s almost unsettling.
I came for a lunch meeting to realize every well-payed Google employee also has access to a 24/7 luxury cafe where chefs prepare more food choices than you could ever binge. And it’s all free.
But of course, the Google employee I was meeting was also using her “lunch break” for business. Business with me.
So is the food really free if you have to eat it over your laptop while listening to my problems?
This is the kind of existential life-career balance question more workers are beginning to ask.
What sets you apart for new hires?
Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple are famous for their corporate campuses with nap pods and barber shops, health care services and Olympic-size pools.
The point is you never really need to leave work – unless you’d actually like to see your family.
All that window dressing comes at a personal cost that can outweigh these shackles disguised as perks.
A small company, on the other hand, can offer a talented employee what they really want in 2019: freedom!
There’s now plenty of evidence self-motivated employees perform better remotely than with the distractions of a busy office. It turns out having a bed and a TV in your workspace is much less problematic for productivity than colleagues.
And increasingly, burned out millennials are looking for this kind of flexibility.
Experts now argue that letting a new hire work a daily schedule that makes sense for their life could make them more valuable to your business than your standard 9-5 employee.
And, you may get better talent and productivity for the price.
Who to look for when hiring new people
For potential hires, small businesses and startups also have their own challenges.
For one, a start-up won’t have an established culture a new employee evaluate. And even with flexibility, burgeoning companies are known for long hours.
Mary Juetten suggests y0u weed out candidates who aren’t familiar with or excited about working in the type of culture you are going to create. She says anyone with a startup background will already understand the tradeoffs.
“You want someone who is motivated and self-disciplined, but you also need someone who is flexible enough to help out in other areas that might be outside their job description or comfort zone if needed, and someone who is a team player willing to pitch in with those sorts of tasks without complaint, even if it means staying a bit later on occasion.”
Anyone who takes the attitude “that’s not my job” when confronted with opportunities for more responsibility isn’t someone who will help your business grow or be a leader in the future.
They also likely won’t be interested in your alternative approach to compensation. So this one is a no-brainer.
Of course no matter how creative you get when you hire new people, growing your business costs real money.
As always at Velocity Capital we offer merchant cash to businesses looking to get to the next level. And who knows, maybe one day you could offer a free cafe too.