There’s a reason our motto, our slogan, and our passion at TSheets is “we heart employees.” While it pertains to our product as well, it’s also because we know that our company and every company is only as strong as the quality of our team. As a CEO, the best resources I have are the people I work with. That’s why it’s so important that I show, every day, how much I love my employees—because I want to work with the best.
But building a winning team doesn’t happen overnight. We work hard at creating an environment where great people want to work, at choosing the best hires for our particular culture, and at keeping our employees happy once they get here. The process has its nuances and isn’t always straightforward, but it’s vital to our company’s success.
Attracting the Best Talent
Of course our employees enjoy rewards befitting their skill level—the industry’s best compensation and benefits package, a gym membership, free lunch on Thursdays and all the protein shakes they can drink. But while this is an important component of bringing great people to our company, I believe the real reason we have the best talent is so much more than that.
It may be an old adage, but it’s true: birds of a feather flock together. Genuinely kind, hard-working, good people like to be surrounded by other like-minded colleagues. Passionate people want to be around passionate people. As long as egos are checked at the door, intelligent people love being around other intelligent people, because it challenges them.
We’ve built a winning culture here at TSheets—a whatever it takes work hard play harder culture that is tangible from the moment you walk in the door. Everyone here loves to win. People want to work here because they want to be a part of a winning team.
Selecting the Right Hire
There are lots of great, talented people out there—people with tremendous intellectual capacity, technical aptitude, and fantastic communication skills. But not every person is the right fit for every team. When I’m interviewing employees for TSheets or any startup, I know that I’m not just hiring a skill set. I’m hiring a human being with a personality, passions, personal priorities, dreams and ambitions. Each of those attributes needs to be the right fit for this team.
Everyone’s natural tendency during an interview is to say what they think the interviewer wants to hear. Seeking to leave the best possible impression, people speak toward their strengths instead of their passions. But we want people to be transparent. In every interview, I seek to be totally clear about who we are as a company, and I want to get genuine transparency in return. That transparency is so important from both sides so that 6 months down the line, everyone is still getting what they signed up for.
Before hiring for any position, I’m also a big believer in validating every applicant’s skills with an expert in that industry or niche. For example, I may run a time-tracking software company, but I’m not an expert programmer. So if I’m hiring a programmer or someone in a very technical position, I know that I need to have an expert in that area confirm which applicants can do the job.
After six startups and many trips through the hiring process, I’ve found that I’m a pretty good judge of character – and so are my team members. While I do believe in the importance of interviews, validating skills and checking all the important boxes, selecting the best person for a job usually comes down to one thing: referrals. In fact, I was recently in a room with our team and I asked if anyone knew anyone else at the company who hadn’t been brought in via referral, and we couldn’t think of anyone!
Why? It’s simple. Smart, motivated people want to work with other smart, motivated people! If your team members like what they do and want to see the company succeed, they’ll recruit those in their circle who they feel can fulfill that mission, too. Research shows that referrals are the quickest to fill in a job from application-to-hire, and then they stick around. After two years, employee referrals have a 45% retention rate (compared to 20% from job boards after two years and 14% after three years).
Retaining a Great Team
In a growing company like TSheets, teams are constantly evolving and changing. Part of the nature of having a winning team is that our competition is constantly on the hunt to steal our best people away. That’s why it’s important not only that we attract and hire great people, but also that we create an environment where those folks absolutely love coming to work day after day, year after year.
That’s why I know that every day, I have to do the work to build great relationships with my employees. I have to know who they are, what motivates them, where their passions lie. I have to share my vision and my passion for our company and work constantly to bring them on board with that dream. And every employee is different. Some employees respond well to competition. Others don’t. Some of my employees need affirmation and to know what they’re doing well in order to also accept feedback.
Ultimately, I believe retaining great employees is about letting people know that they are truly making a difference in our organization. Employees need to believe that their leaders are genuinely interested in them and actually care. It’s on the back of those relationships and that team spirit that we maintain the best group of employees around.