Personality: 4 Reasons it Matters to Entrepreneurs
It’s not just Silicon Valley and the Big Apple feeling the squeeze. Burgeoning, up-and-coming markets pinched between coasts sense the tide rising, sending founders and execs from across the country scrambling to edge out the competition waiting to snag rock star talent. But how do entrepreneurs, especially those running new or emerging businesses, attract and retain the best employees when dollars are short and hours are long?
At turnstone, we think the answer lies, at least in part, in the kind of culture they’re able to offer recruits. For the past year, we’ve been studying startup culture and kind of work environments founders are creating for their teams. The emerging themes are solid. Companies who put their personalities on display, follow their passion, remain agile and exhibit authenticity are the ones winning the talent race.
So what is it about personality that has young talent paying attention? And why should it matter to entrepreneurs?
We think it comes down to four things:
People: We all know that having the right mix of personalities is critical to success. In fact, the Harvard Business Review and countless others have made “cultural fit” a virtual hiring trump card, arguing that while it’s possible to train for skill, it’s nearly impossible to alter someone’s habits, workplace style, values and norms. So give your current crowd some love and take time to find that “just right” fit when hiring. With Americans spending more time working than anything else, you’ll be glad you did.
Engagement:Whether wasting time in the office or blatantly disregarding project deadlines, workers who lack passion for their jobs impact the bottom line—to the tune of $450B lost in the U.S. alone each year. That’s why it’s critical to take time to understand the personalities of your employees, especially while hiring. Are they driven? Results-oriented? Motivated to excel? How long will this role keep them happy? If current employees show signs of detachment, consider meeting to explore whether a role adjustment would boost enthusiasm.
Branding: Millennials are forcing companies to not only rethink the way they’re branded externally, but the way they brand and sell themselves as potential employers, too. Millennials want authenticity and true personality to shine through, not a polished, buttoned-up version of life in the office. So when meeting or interviewing talent, make sure you can articulate your culture and kind of personality your office has. Have a clear point of view on issues that define your culture and brand, as well the kinds of traits a new hire would need to succeed in your organization.
Flexibility: From blue jeans and flannel shirts to after-hours events, startup culture is all about flexibility. Founders know that young professionals want choices, and that if employers don’t provide them, workers will certainly look elsewhere. Start by letting them work in ways that feel authentic to their personality. Offer lounge areas, standing height tables, quiet corners for focus work, and places where they can come together. Run the numbers on generous vacation policies, develop a point of view on remote or distributed work, and stop to consider other ways that your flexible culture will draw the right people in—and keep them for the long run.
Want to learn more about startup culture? Read this.