There's always the issue of funding, organizational structure and vision. But when everything's been organized and done, you still have to figure out your resources. One must consider that a start up company might have its excitement, but definitely has its uncertainties. That is why it is quite harder to attract and identify competent employees who are willing to go that extra mile to make things happen. After all, more sacrifices are present for employees in any start-up company as they would be more exposed to many changes and expected to accomplish more complex responsibilities.
Here is an interesting, and kind of a disturbing article about managing your employees in a start-up company. It may have its points, but the negative side overwhelms the positive.
For those who value work and life balance like me, well we might find this rationale kind of appalling.
In www.techcrunch.com posted by Duncan Riley, Mahalo founder and serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis has some interesting tips about how to squeeze every effort from startup company employees:
Helpful advice includes (including unsolicited interpretation by techcrunch/duncan Riley)
- If you do meetings, have them over lunch, because you shouldn’t let your employees eat alone
- Don’t provide people with phones, they can always use their own cellphones, and this saves money
- Buy a decent espresso machine and provide food in the office, because you don’t want your staff to ever stop working, this way you keep them in the office every minute of every day
- Buy people who work hard a computer for home, so they can work after hours, on weekends and public holidays
- Urinary catheters are cheap, hook each employee up to one so they don’t waste minutes going to the restroom
OK, so I made the last point up. Here’s my favorite one though (direct quote):
- “Fire people who are not workaholics…. come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. go work at the post office or stabucks if you want balance in your life. For realz.”
Apparently having a life isn’t “for realz” in Calacanis’ playbook so a note to possible Mahalo employees: expect to check your family at the door if you want to go work for JCal. Up to 18 hours a day for $30-35,000 (what I’ve heard is the going rate for base Mahalo employees) , you’re never allowed to go outside during this time or have a proper break…. sounds like a great place to work.
I sense violent reactions. I'm sure you would've revised somethings...if not everything.
Here are my personal revisions:
Point 1: To have meetings over lunch
It depends on the situation. And generally this is unsettling especially if you still want to discuss business matters over lunch. You owe to give your employees an hour of peace to enjoy their meals. And anyways, it's more gratifying if the employees ask you out, not the other way around. A boss' presence might make them feel woozy. To have them over for lunch is great if you want their company, not their business analysis. Much better conversations if you treat them with good food!
Point 2: Don’t provide people with phones, they can always use their own cellphones, and this saves money
This could be understood. To determine the number of phones in the office, per person, depends on the job description anyways, but it's quite advisable to purchase at least 1 phone for one unit or floor for emergency transaction purposes.
Point 3: Buy a decent espresso machine and provide food in the office, because you don’t want your staff to ever stop working, this way you keep them in the office every minute of every day
A good espresso machine and food in the office are always appreciated, and sometimes needed. But this should not be used as a sole basis to determine productivity.
Point 4: Buy people who work hard a computer for home, so they can work after hours, on weekends and public holidays
Really absurd. Having a company phone is enough pain in the ass, but to buy them a computer so they can work after hours, weekends and public holidays, is way too absurd. I'm sorry, I won't agree with this.
Point 5: Urinary catheters are cheap, hook each employee up to one so they don’t waste minutes going to the restroom
Firing people because they're not workaholics can be seen in a different angle. There are good workaholics and extreme workaholics that are not healthy anymore, professional and medically speaking. Are they workaholics because of bad workload dissemination that often leads to health and creative problems, or they're just workaholic for innovation and development? These two causes might offer different results.
Employees, people are most the precious resources, and these resources are not machines. They need sustenance in other forms and other means. They need growth in other aspects of their life to usher growth in their professions. They are not easily decoded and programmed to work the way we want to the last detail. They may be exceptionally brilliant and effective, but they need to reboot and unwind. That's the price of getting good resources, and it's a price a start up company even has to pay.