Winning Human Capital Principles for Tech Entrepreneurs
Even smaller, emerging technology companies that don’t yet have a formal Human Resources function need policies and practices to help them get the most productivity and value out of their people.
While all tech entrepreneurs would acknowledge that success depends on the performance of their employees, many still find reasons to put human capital issues in the back seat. They think employees should be motivated simply by the challenge and excitement that comes with building disruptive technology - or the chance to own stock in the company.
Another hinderance is cultural. Some entrepreneurs associate formal HR processes with big, bureaucratic organizations--the opposite of what they want their company to be.
But technology entrepreneurs need to consider the following principles to channel technology and people to build the future:
- Foster emotional commitment -You need employees to be productive, innovative and loyal. Employees want to feel emotional commitment to and from their employer. People need to feel that their contributions are recognized and that their employer cares about them as people.
- Specify expectations -You should be relentless in defining and telling employees what is expected of them and providing them with tools needed to do their jobs well. Loyal employees are those who feel you are transparent with them about the state of the business and its prospects.
- Align strategy with employee aspirations -Your compensation program must align your employees’ aspirations with your strategy and goals. Consider paying spot bonuses, for example, to employees who help to turn around a dissatisfied customer.
- Provide timely rewards -Reward high potential people whose contribution could be a game changer to the company. Even relatively small rewards like movie tickets or getting to have lunch with the CEO can go a long way to inspire people to do their very best work.
- Identify key employees -Treating everyone well doesn’t mean losing sight of which employees are most critical. Understand which of your people would leave the largest hole if they left. They warrant the most attention and investment in their development.
Find ways to take these steps without spending a lot of money on HR or creating bureaucratic processes that make the company less agile. It’s not enough for you to be committed to the business and excited about its prospects. Your people need to feel the same way. HR practices that keep your workforce engaged and motivated are just as important—maybe more important—than landing that next big customer or launching that breakthrough product. The people who work for you hold the future of your business in their hands. Make sure that they care about your success and identify it with their own.
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