Leaders and entrepreneurs alike are known to blaze trails and find creative ways to build wealth for their company. From the outside, most see wealth creation as the common measurement of a quality leader or entrepreneur; however, the best leaders know what preceded wealth creation, and it started from within.
While the entire world surrounding our corporate structures has changed and evolved significantly, it’s quite remarkable that our leadership and organizational approach has largely stayed the same for over 140 years. That said, it’s the best of leaders and entrepreneurs alike who have the courage to diverge from the pack.
This article will examine common questions for leaders and entrepreneurs: how to hire talent, how to engage staff in organizational purpose, how to establish a purpose driven culture and how to customize our approach to meet individual stakeholder needs.
The best leaders and entrepreneurs recognize none of the external pillars of business success can occur without first focusing on the person behind the competencies and skills doing the work. In other words, they take care of their top talent!
Top talent typically have several career options so, as an employer, it’s vital to take care of those who take care of you. This is also true of the sole proprietor of a startup. After evaluating the cost/benefit and appropriate fit for the organization, if the analysis leads to a decision to hire, we then must develop and support our talent.
“In the earliest stages of growth, the right hire can be rocket fuel. The wrong hire can be a disaster,” according to Tor Constantino, ghost writer for Entrepreneaur.com in the article titled, “4 Things Every Entrepreneur Must Consider Before Hiring Their First, or Next, Employee.”
Constantino cites the following questions common to entrepreneurs when considering how to grow their company.
Should they hire a family member?
The best fit is the focus, not necessarily who. While it may be easy and convenient to hire a family member, first consider if the relationship can storm the worst. If you have to terminate the employment relationship, will this affect the personal relationship? If so, you’re better off finding someone outside the family. Again, the better placed focus is on the skills and competencies most aligned with the vision, mission and function to be performed. How does the new hire add to the collective goals, and are these person’s skills and competencies complimentary or duplicative? The new hire, to best earn their value, will enable efficiency and have expertise that you as the leader or entrepreneur do not, and vice versa. We can also see here the business case for diversity among teams and organizations.
Should the person be brought on as a contractor, or as a part-time or full-time employee?
The answer to this question is at the end of pure number crunching. One must consider the market value, hence the compensation rate, the expected revenue generated by the new hire and the difference between the two to determine the most efficient means of accumulating the greatest revenue with the least costs to the company. Contractors provide the flexibility and limited costs comparable to full time employment that are attractive to entrepreneurs. However, lacking an official employee/employer relationship may not secure the desired talent, leaving him or her to potentially seek more security through other opportunities (and possibly with the competition). Therefore, the kind of employment relationship must also be a top consideration for the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow.
Should they work onsite or remotely?
The answer to this question comes down to the function and level of face to face interaction necessary to successfully perform the position. Gone are the days of “If I don’t see you at your desk, then you’re not working” mentality. No, technology has enabled work to be accomplished almost anywhere. However, what needs to evolve is how we measure productivity and accountability for performance. Personally, I see the positives for remote work being a shift in focus to meritorious outcomes of our work, rather than simply a presence in the work site.
Should they be US-based or ex-US?
Evaluation of employing US based employees or persons outside of the US comes down to cost vs. benefit, as well. Ask yourself, what advantages are realized through employment of US persons or non-US persons? Developing a pro or con list may also be helpful too.
While most leaders and entrepreneurs are focused solely on an efficient operational model, a quality product, good service and high profit margins, human or person-centered organizations place people at the center of their business model. The approach ensures people are not an afterthought to business processes but an integral part of the business processes themselves. By doing so, organizations further engage staff in the direction of the company, enhancing commitment to positive business outcomes.
ENGAGE STAFF IN PURPOSE:
“Change makes people feel like they are part of the problem, while evolution makes people feel like they are part of the solution”, according to Glenn Llopis, VIP Contributor of Entrepreneaur.com. Are staff told they must change, or are they expected to evolve? This may seem like rhetoric to some; however, the approach is significantly different in how it’s viewed by those expected “to do” differently.
The difference in expectation is one of reaction or innovation, says Llopis. Are we standing back to determine what is needed and align our approach based on this question or are we simply reacting to market and clientele needs? Are our current systems aligned with our intentions (vision) or are we realizing certain functions, approached and behaviors are no longer supportive and possibly even a detriment to the company’s intended purpose?
Very simply, evolving is a participatory approach to aligning functions to meet intended outcomes to advance the organizational purpose. Whereas changes are more often than not reactive and do not consider the entire system in response.
IT’S ALL ABOUT CULTURE
Once we hire and impart the vision and mission and how the function contributes to each, leaders are well served to ensure cultural norms are in place to perpetuate the kind of work environment desired by staff and are most conducive to productivity, collaboration and relationship development.
While many leaders and boards of directors are typically focused on quantitative measures of productivity, costs and revenue; it’s the most progressive and accomplished of which that provides equal focus on the culture that supports a growth mindset for staff, enabling innovation and a competitive edge over others in the market.
However, we have seen the inverse is true too, that when boards are so focused on profit that they don’t care how the money is made, which often leads to toxic cultures, rampant harassment, and other behaviors that break down the culture and lead to top talent to leave the organization for less stressful and more supportive environments.
According to Nithya Das, guest writer for Entrepreneur.com leaders and board members should be asking their organizations the following five questions to ensure environments of inclusivity:
- Is the leadership team operating with a high level of professionalism and integrity? Do they value diversity and inclusion?
- Do legal and HR have a seat at the table in making key strategy, organizational and business decisions?
- Does the company have published policies, processes and trainings so employees easily understand what type of behavior is unacceptable and what to do if they have a problem?
- What is the company’s strategy to create a diverse and inclusive environment on the board and in the office?
- Does the board have oversight and access to management, so as to be informed about the company’s internal controls and policies and when the same are violated?
I have to wonder whether VW, the Weinstein Company and others in the news recently for illegal behavior, had they asked these questions and not been solely focused on finances could have avoided the behaviors that, ultimately created financial devastation for the companies and their stakeholders.
No more one size fits all
The approach today is no longer “Build it and they will come”, but one of “What is the need and how can we provide that better than anyone else?” Once we identify the “what”, we then identify the “how”. How we are going to provide our products or services considers the make-up of our workforce.
The largest and most diverse generation to date, Millennials are soon to become the majority demographic by 2025, making up 75% of the total workforce.
The generational values of Millennials are found to be highly altruistic and much less focused on accumulation of wealth or status, as was a more predominant value in prior generations of Gen X, Boomers and Veterans. As such, what motivated staff in the past through extrinsic rewards will not motivate this generation who is more intrinsically motivated.
Glenn Llopis, VIP Contributor of Entrepreneur.com suggests we pause and step back for a moment to evaluate the big questions with our staff, asking, “What are you solving for? Are we adding value? What makes us great? How are we serving each customer?
Notice none of these questions include any financial aspect, market data or revenue goals. Each starts with the fundamental notion of why are we here, what do we want to do, how do we want to do it, and how do we want to be seen by our target market. This is a highly individuated focus of who do we want to be and how can we best be that?
By focusing on answering these questions first, prior to any financial-based questions ensures a culture and workforce aligned with purpose and consequently creates uniformity of intention among the workforce and clear messaging of value for the targeted market.
The best leaders and entrepreneurs know that wealth and business success are preceded by purpose and vision; a consciously designed state of the future organization that is so attractive that it compels the workforce to be guided by the new vision.
Leaders who initiate systems and cultures that align purpose with function are best equipped to realize their vision. To do otherwise is putting the cart before the horse! Yet, how often is this exactly what happens when leaders and entrepreneurs only look for the external measures of success?
By: Ryan McShane, President, HR Evolution LLC, RyanM@marc3solutions.com
HR Evolution provides small to medium sized businesses Fortune 500 Level Resources, creating “High Performance Organizations” with Greater Profit, Top Talent, and Outstanding Culture.
Contact Ryan to get the results that, elevate individuals and organizations to their highest potential.
View Ryan’s website at: www.HRevolutionllc.com