A while ago I made my first hire for my current business. It’s been years since the last time I hired someone in a permanent position. It was that time again.
It was a great opportunity to consider: How would a Conscious Startup approach hiring? What’s the Conscious Startup approach to salary? To intellectual property? To non-disclosure? To non-competes? To work hours? To pension? Vacation? Sick leave? Sick child?
It’s a great help to ask yourself those kinds of questions when you do … just about anything.
What’s the essence of my company? What are we about here? How do we market? Hire? Fire? Do customer service? Procurement? And on and on.
Once you know who you are and what your values are, what your essence is, it’s much easier to answer those questions, and your answers start to have a common thread to them.
It also forced me to grow. My last employment contract was very one-sided in my favor. Not out of any conscious choice on my part, but that was just the standard contract that my lawyer made for me, and lawyers tend to see it as their job to make things one-sided, not fair.
But when you’re building a long-term relationship based on trust and mutual respect, a one-sided contractual relationship is not a great place to start.
But then fear steps in. What if the employee decides to take a job for a direct competitor? What if the employee has a side business and chooses to favor that one over mine? What if there’s a conflict there? Can they claim my IP as their own somehow? What if they’re sick too often? What if they decide to slack off and not work very hard? And on and on.
Normally, there’s a tendency to err on the side of restricting the employee. Doing the opposite take courage. But since I’m now officially The Conscious Startup, I can’t allow myself to do that. Instead I had to grow, by thinking through exactly what kind of scenario could happen, and whether that was something to try and attack contractually, or simply through the mutual trust and respect that we’d build up over time. Of course, I chose the latter.
I like the way Dan Pink explains it in Drive:
You need to pay people enough to take money off the table. The same with other aspects of the employment: Set the framework up so the framework isn’t an issue. Then proceed to work respectfully with your people, assuming they want to do great work. That’s their motivation.
It’s the complete opposite way from Dan Kennedy’s Ruthless Management of People and Profits, which is the really old-school approach that assumes your employees are jerks that want to steal from you.
Isn’t it curious how we humans have a tendency to make our beliefs come true, thus confirming them? If we believe our employees are not to be trusted, then we’re going to unconsciously behave in ways that make them untrustworthy, thus confirming our belief.
Better do a serious belief-purge on a regular basis :)