3 Important Steps to Address Employee Needs in your Business

Startups or Small Businesses - Focus on These Employee Needs

In the past few weeks, every startup founder I have spoken to has told me that they are making the Head of People one of their first hires. I am so happy that they are doing this. Every employee is an individual. And not all of them work the same way or react to projects the same way.

Focus on These Employee Needs

No matter what the size of your company, you should consider these three things about your employee needs. HR has the word “Human” in it — and that’s important! You cannot relegate your “People” and “Talent” to just recruitment and benefits. While hiring is the most important part of any company, it is only part of the journey.

1. Hiring a Head of People

When you have more than 15 employees, this is an investment for the future. You are probably incurring intangible but high costs by not doing this. Consider the time your leaders are spending in recruitment and onboarding — if that exists. Your early hires are going to be critical for the success of your company. Hiring is a time-consuming process and you may not be saving money if you fail to hire a Head of People. In fact, you may be overspending on your hiring,

Smart startups are actually hiring Head of People early. When I visited with Chris Bache, Co-Founder and CEO of leads and customer communication startup Hatch, he showed me some Hatchitudes. These are core values and behaviors, proudly displayed in their offices. Hatch also invested in a Head of people very early. Chris says, “We made hiring and investing in the right people fit a priority once we found traction. It’s paramount to find people that have the same work values — and then focus on retaining them so they can help you build an amazing company.”

2. Onboarding

Each company is different and your new hires know this. When they come in on their first day, it is your opportunity to create a good impression and a long term productive employee.

While there are exceptional software programs that help you with this, you still need a human touch. According to SHRM, retention starts from the first day. And the onboarding process is crucial to retention success. Gallup calls the retention experience ‘Heart Over Head.” Employees make emotional decisions when they want to make decisions regarding their jobs.

Small Business Deals

Amy Hirsh Robinson, an expert on workplace strategies, recommends:

  •  Managers should sit down with new employees and discuss their background and previous experiences, and how those may fit into their current job and the organization’s mission.
  • Have managers sit down with the employee and draft a sample career path, based on the employee’s future goals.
  • Managers should not simply rely on organizational charts to explain workflow and reporting structures. Instead, they should try to explain the unwritten rules and process quirks regarding how things work.
  • Have a clean workstation for employees on their first day.
  • Orientation sessions should not be overloaded with detailed policy information.

Price Waterhouse Coopers has a tool called Boarding Pass, an employee engagement platform for designing and delivering interactive experiences.

3. Talent Optimization

Talent Optimization is a new term for me as I am not an HR expert. Until I got invited to Optima2019 by The Predictive Index, that is.  If you think about what we knew about HR, we got recruited, on-boarded by HR and then we fervently hoped throughout our career with the company we never ever interacted with “HR” other than the awards and all hands or periodic team-building training. If that is your perception of HR, then you are horribly behind the times.

Not every employee coming through your doors is going to be exactly the same as the previous one. In today’s workplace, there are five generations working together and each of them needs to be nurtured in different ways. This is not just instinct or personal skills. You will need to nurture everyone to the top of the game to get the best business results. This is a combined strategy of both HR and business and needs tools.

I took the PI Behavioral Assessment. I was graded as a Promoter in the test. The Predictive Index has tools that organizations can use to continue to optimize their talent.  Here are my recommendations:

How to Optimize Your Talent

  1. When a new leader joins the team, have the team take a PI Behavioral test. This will give the new leader the ability to customize their interactions with their team.
    1. Who can help with the details?
    2. Which employees can inspire?
    3. Who can work independently?
  2. Benchmark the employee’s experience. In a few workplaces, you only know about your employees’ experience when you apply for the best places to work nomination or a Glassdoor review rating. Having insight into the satisfaction of your human capital will help you make changes — both procedural and cultural.
  3. Prioritize Senior Team Collaboration. If your executive team is not aligned then there is no victory and no success. This could cause your company to lose over $3M in productivity losses. Using a tool like the PI Design — launching in 2020 — will determine if your senior leaders can collaborate better and get everyone rowing in the same direction
  4. Build a Company Culture. Culture is more than going on picnics and to a bowling alley.

According to the Predictive Index:

“An organization’s culture sets expectations for how employees should behave. It also functions as a control system, defining rewards and consequences that help condition expected behavior. Put simply, when your culture isn’t aligned with your business strategy, it means you aren’t encouraging/rewarding the behaviors needed for your strategy to succeed. From a talent optimization mindset, this is a big red flag.”

Remember that all of these define your People and the Humans that help you build and develop employees so that you can meet your strategic goals.

Let us know when you are hiring your Head of People or giving them the tools they need. If you take the Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment, let us know about your results.

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Shashi Bellamkonda Shashi Bellamkonda is CMO of Surefire Social, AKA "Social Media Swami" at SurefireSocial. Visit Shashi Bellamkonda's blog. He is also an adjunct faculty at Georgetown University. Shashi is a regular contributor to the Washington Business Journal, DC Examiner and other tech blogs like Smallbiztechnology and Techcocktail. Shashi has been in the list of Top 100 Small Business Influencer Champions list for 2011 and 2012.

2 Reactions
  1. Communication must be open but it should also be safe and the employee needs to feel that he or she is heard.