Hiring is a constant theme and task when running a business. Founders have many dilemmas in the hiring process. One of those being whether to consider relationships in the hiring process. In addition, you must take into account the stage that your start up is in. In a fairly new business you are faced with many uncertainties and hiring the right people is at the forefront of those uncertainties. The obvious choice is to choose people that are already in your networks. However, as your business grows, and you gain investors you are faced with yet another dilemma as who you want to hire may not align with who investors want to hire. Once the investor tries his hand at hiring this can lead to more issues as the hire the investor chooses may side more with that investor and their lies potential loyalty problems. Hiring also comes with firing and the creation of new positions. It is really hard to let people go or address conflicts with people you have drawn from your own network or even your family and friends. The same holds true for positions. A small restaurant in my hometown is family owned and mostly ran. The time came for the owner to retire and he has 2 children but he could only choose one to be his successor and manage the business. When he made his decision of course the other child was not pleased and left the business altogether. So not only was he faced with the dilemma of choosing a Manager (CEO) but he also lost a valued employee that will need to be replaced.
So how do you keep top performers? Top performers believe that their success is tied directly to the success of the company, hence one of the reasons that they work so hard. A good founder has to find ways to communicate to these employees that as a founder they are thinking about the longevity and ways to build their business. The company I work for recently went through a name change. This scared me, I immediately thought that we were being sold or there was some sort of ownership change. My employer is a very large company tied to a bank, so I assumed that they were ridding themselves of the insurance business. The CEO sent a message publicly and even internally reassuring the future of my company and the future of the employees that work there. Another way to keep top performers is to make them feel valued and set apart. Growing up as the eldest child my parents would sometimes call me in on their family discussions and even sometimes asked for my input. They would let me know how responsible I was and how they valued my opinion. This in turn was incentive for me to be on my best behavior and an example to my younger siblings. This same principle can be applied to how you should treat the top performers in your business.