I co-founded Innersync Studio in 1998 with the desire to build a better web site. We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary and over these last 10 years, I realized we have evolved into a very different company than the one we started. Whether it is the nature of our business, or the economic down-turns we have seen between 2000 and now, we are different. We think differently and we do things differently. When we started our company, we neither had established processes, nor an employee handbook. Heck, we didn’t even have insurance. We formed our LLC and got right into the lifestyle.
But as time went on, the lifestyle turned into a liability. Instead of making money, we may as well have been burning it. But now, we have a process. We have a single way of doing something and we do it at a very high level. When we hire a new employee, we show them the process and ask them not to tell anyone. When the person understands the process, a lot of things can go without saying. Eventually, that same employee can show another new-hire the process.
You catch my drift… without an established road map, you are blind… or at minimum, wandering aimlessly… and burning up money. It’s my job as an employer to tell you how I want something done. If someone deviates from my process, I have a basis to scorn them. If I didn’t have a process to begin with, I just need to shut up. So I now arrive at the main point I wanted to make. As an employer who has hired and fired my share of helpers, I have a thing or two to say about who I consider a good employee… and more to the point, when we realize we are exiting this recession, the type of person I will look to hire.
I consider the stage we are in as a natural cleansing. When the economy picks up again, it’s true that web designers and programmers will again be sought after. However, what it will NOT be for me is business as usual. I will not be looking for fancy resumes with certification labels. I will not be basing my decision on someone’s experience… and believe it or not, I will not even base it on the quality of someone’s portfolio of work. Sure, these will all be considered, but here are a few of the things I’ll be looking for:
- I don’t always mind training someone in the software and technologies we use if I they are someone who will take notes and learn it without making me have to explain it again after a weekend of partying.
- Someone who knows how to manage their time. In a small company like mine, you will have a lot to do. Your successes and failures will be very noticeable and they directly impact profits and losses.
- Someone with a strong work-ethic… where without any suggestion from me, will go back and tweak it one more time to make it right before they bring it back to me. Someone who takes charge and accountability for their task and they will check things and make sure they look and work good so I do not have to come behind them and clean up. This person is aware that sloppiness costs someone money, and it’s usually the company.
- I like creative and thoughtful people who will make suggestions to me about a better way of skinning the cat. I put a process in place so there is a basis of understanding on what needs to be done. I have done it enough myself to know. I demand that everyone follow it. However, if someone wants to bring a better idea and change the process, I welcome it, and in fact, I will begin to favor that person.
- Clock watchers tend to be the types who overlook the details. They have come from big companies where their efforts have been buried by those around them. Overlooked details ultimately come back to me as a customer complaint. If it’s approaching 5pm and you are on the last leg of a project, I ask, would it be time to pack up and bolt and lose that momentum, or might it be better to finish the project and make it right so that you are done and fresh for the next project? This type of person has my attention, and most-likely, a promotion coming.
- Someone who has a genuine interest in being great and making big things. They will go the extra mile to make the latest project better than the last, despite having a full schedule. This is where desire and time-management come together as one. This to me signifies a person who is growing… intentionally.
These ideas represent a paradigm shift in the way I look at and evaluate potential employees. To some, it might sound like I run a sweat shop, but big success allows for much fun and celebration. To the right person, it’s an opportunity to grow and feel like a contributor. Success can come as fast as you want it to in a company as small as Innersync. When there are only 6-8 parts, movers and shakers are needed to make it run like a well oiled machine.
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