Don’t undervalue the importance of HR
You’ve got some early customers and you’re ready to grow. But who do you hire to help expand your enterprise? What skills do you need on your team? How do you compensate them properly? The nuances of a properly laid out human resources strategy can be complicated.
Tackling these issues is something that technology entrepreneurs often leave to the last minute, a problem that can leave start-ups scrambling to hire quality candidates and baffled at how to motivate employees.
Margo Crawford, Founder and CEO of Business Sherpa, has spent years coaching entrepreneurs on how to recruit quality candidates. Crawford spoke recently at MaRS’ Best Practices Special Human Resources Series to a packed house about her experiences.
“Planning well, searching creatively and choosing wisely,” she says to the crowd. “I call this the ‘ready, aim, hire’ model.” She surveys the different ways in which entrepreneurs can plan for their first key hires and plan ahead to formulate HR policies for future hires.
One of her key messages is not to rush the process. “It’s essential that you are left with a choice,” she says. Don’t rush and hire the first decent resume that crosses your desk.
Last Friday, Lynn Cameron and Helen Robert, from Ottawa compensation specialists TechEdge, took the conversation further, focusing on compensating employees. They focused on salaries as the base level of compensation but touched on many different models including stock options, phantom stocks, benefits and profit-sharing.
“Compensation is important,” says Cameron, “but it’s even more important when you get it wrong.” She likes to emphasize how hard it is to know whether entrepreneurs are overpaying their employees. It’s very difficult to find this out because employees tend not to complain when they’re being overpayed. They will, however, stick around at your company longer than they might otherwise.
Check out Cameron and Robert’s talk here.
The Best Practices Human Resources Series culminates at MaRS this Friday, September 24 with Lynn Cameron, Helen Robert and Margo Crawford speaking together in a panel discussion. The three will be talking about recruiting and compensating salespeople – a must-have for all entrepreneurs.
Sign up here (it’s free!)
Joseph was an education advisor at MaRS Discovery District. He writes on topics of science, culture and city issues for NOW Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Spacing and Yonge Street. He is the Executive Director of the Treehouse Group, dedicated to fostering innovation by hosting cross-disciplinary events. See more…