I think about “selling out” a lot. I was talking to my friend Igor on the phone, and he casually threw out the phrase—as if I knew that I had sold out by working at inDinero (a start up, let me clarify; also, I am NOT defensive). But then I read this wonderful article in the New Inquiry about what selling out means within the context of social media.
When every thought is purported to some audience, and validation is implicitly sought and rewarded in our various networks, is working for a company selling out? Or is selling out as simple as having a Facebook or Twitter account?
Make Sure Your Values Align with the Company's
I just deactivated my personal Twitter for the umpteenth time (I just need your attention, society!); I don’t have a Facebook, and I’m still NOT defensive. I guess the ideal company “sellout” is the anti-sellout sellout—where one is so passionate about the principles driving a company that aligning one’s identity with the company’s identity is sincere. And it’s not complete alignment; one can preserve private personal identity; the same reward doesn’t exist in social media.
So, how can your company recruit and sustain the human capital that will help grow your company’s collective identity? Voucher your company’s cool points, and be the company that reflects the anti-sellout sellout.
8 Ways to Attract Top Employees (aka the Anti-Sellout Sellouts) to Your Startup
- Play up your small size: Small companies in themselves facilitate interpersonal connections easily. Focus on the strengths of your small company, and make sure that your employees stay connected, through growth.
- Know how much you can offer: if you can’t compensate your employees on the same tier as larger companies, add to your benefit packages. Take the hassle out of getting to work with commuter benefits programs, healthcare and services.
- Create a vibrant company culture: Work with people that you would want to befriend. Hire people that you would want to befriend. Make sure there is a good camaraderie amongst your employees, and facilitate conversations, related and unrelated to work.
- Encourage the passions of your employees: Ask your employees to be open and honest in their communications with you; if they want to return to school in a few years, ask them to divulge their intentions. Push personal development as a core tenet of your company, so that your employees feel as if they’re growing alongside the company.
- Stray from Tradition: You can create your company’s core values, aesthetic, and workspace as how you see it. Stray from traditional workplace ideas, and imbue your identity with your company; the result will attract the right employees, and your company will be composed
- Collective Perspective?: Your collective company perspective should be composed of individuals; people that question decision-making, and people who are actively interested in your company’s brand. A company composed of sheep is just a farm, but a company with individuals is a true business.
- Mood Lifters: Don’t get too excited, junkies—this is bigger than that. Have regular “mood-lifters” to help get employees out of slumps. inDinero does company massages, but there are all sorts of things you can do to make your employees feel perked up if something is affecting them.
- And lastly, communicate. Regular and effective communication with your employees will improve their loyalty to your business. Make sure communication is the overarching principle that encompasses all other company perks. A company doesn’t have to be completely transparent for effective communication, but don’t leave your employees in the dark.