You may be looking for your first pair of extra hands, or be recruiting your 18th employee, either way it’s so important to maintain the authenticity of your business.
Introducing people into your business that maintain the integrity of your vision is always going to be one of the most important things you can do for your company. And, unfortunately, it’s a hard thing to spot on a CV. Granted you also need to be have confidence that those who join you are going to be able to carry out their roles, but ultimately if the fit isn't there, it’s going to cause all manner of issues in the future. Do not lose sight of the fact you need to build a tribe around you, who are all there with the same focused determination - to be with you through the bad times and celebrate the victories.
When there’s someone that just doesn’t fit, either because they’re just a bit of an idiot, or they just don’t suit the environment, everyone suffers, including them. The impact on the others in your business can be massive; suddenly work becomes less of an adventure and the excitement of getting in for the day lessens. In a small business there’s nowhere to hide from each other, the relationships become intense, so they have to, arguably, be ‘so right’ from the outset, to stand a chance.
Workplace niggles get to the best of us - and that’s with people you actually get on with, let alone people that wind you up before they've even opened their mouths. The people you surround yourself with on your journey, hold the key to getting things done and maintaining the direction you want to go in. Throwing in a ‘person shaped’ curve ball can mean that investment dilutes, and ultimately that could determine the success or failure of your business, or certainly the short term ability to meet goals.
Now, this all sounds quite dramatic, but fear not, it’s perfectly possible to do all you can to avoid these pitfalls. Mistakes happen and you learn from them, after all it is not possible to know everything you can from meeting someone a handful of times, but there are systems you can put in place to minimise the risk.
One of the things we’re going to do at Holly & Co, is look at how ‘small business’ does business. This whole area, of building your tribe, is something we’re going to concentrate on. I’m so very very passionate about it. After all - it is the one thing that will make you win, or not. I’ve had so much experience in this area, many happy moments and far too many horror stories.
But just to start - here are a few thoughts:
Be Proud - Don’t shy away from your vibe and let it shine through in everything you do. Through the way your website looks and feels, the dress policy you have, your style of communication, office aesthetics, meeting forums, the list is endless. This will attract some and put off others - natural selection! One of the quickest ways of getting like-minded people, is to be a strong brand.
Finding Someone - When it comes to looking for people to join you, advertise and ask about in the sort of places you hang out in online - Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. Stands to reason that your gang, are going to be hanging out there too. Do the same in places you love to visit physically, your local favourite shop or the wine bar that frustrated people visit on a Friday night after finishing a job they hate. And, if you have a shop door, get a poster on it - like now! The people you need are probably within 500 meters from you!
Interviews - When you’re looking to interview a potential new tribe member, keep that vibe alive! Show who you really are in your interview process. If you're a relaxed team, don't invite people to a stuffy meeting room to discuss the company. Let them see what they would be walking into, warts and all. If they run, they were never meant for you. Your authenticity will encourage theirs and will give you a deeper understanding of their potential fit. Take advantage of the fact that you are a small band and get the whole team involved in recruitment, create some touch points so there’s an opportunity for them to mingle with you all, even if it’s just briefly so that you can make an informed decision.
Other companies screen for intelligence and experience in potential recruits, specifically. But Google also looks for ‘Googliness’, a mix of passion and drive that’s hard to define, but easy to spot. Of the over 26,000 employees worldwide, a surprising percentage have it. While part of a huge organisation, they think and crucially act, like entrepreneurs. Googliness is the intangibles that set a person aside from the rest of the pack. Your ability to explore the limits of your own creativity and the self motivation to consistently do so without exterior influences. A.K.A. thinking outside the box in a worldly capacity!
That gut feeling - When it comes to making a decision, don’t ignore your gut or push aside legitimate non-work related concerns. Of course they must be able to do the job, but it is also important in a small team environment that you would socialise with them. They don't have to be your best friend, but if there’s no common ground it’s going to be hard. Especially when you're putting your all into aiming for the stars (or just out of the red at the bank!). It’s going to make your journey a lot more bumpy, if one of the pot holes is right in front of you.
At the end of the day, and just to conclude what could be a mile long article (we’ll be coming back to this, don’t you worry), just think of it like this: When you are looking for someone, you are following the same emotional touch points, as when you’re looking for a ‘love relationship’!
No, it’s not important what they look like (love is in the eyes of the beholder after all!), but you want to like them; like what they are about. You then need to go on a first date (the interview) and you need to listen to that gut of yours - this will be your biggest tool in the first meeting. Either you can’t stand them, quite like them and arrange another ‘drink’ next week, or you feel butterflies and it’s love (well you think it is) at first sight. If in the end, they find themselves in your life - either through a trial, or you jumped in and hired them - remember you’re still dating.
You have what’s called a ‘probation period’, and both of you, should have good conversations about that fact you’re not married and you’re only but dating. So if either party, is really not happy, it’s okay to share that. Unlike normal life, after 3 months (or whatever your probation period is) you sort of need to get married! That is how sure you need to be. So make sure in the time that you’re dating, you see their true colours.
You are all the beautiful colours card by Nicola Rowlands
When you think of hiring in this way, you seem to understand what you can put up with, where they might come from, how you want someone to make you feel and ultimately, no one wants to walk up the aisle, sort of knowing that a ‘decree nisi’ is inevitable. It tends to be a whole world of confetti and pain - mixed together!