January 22, 2018
Every business is only as good as the people who work there.
Finding good people, recruiting them, training them and retaining them is consistently ranked at the top of the biggest challenges small business face.
And it was certainly a topic of conversation at the HSN’s “Cultivating Small Businesses in the 21st Century” symposium. More than thirty entrepreneurs, small business experts and academics joined a discussion in Washington, D.C.in mid-November, during National Entrepreneur Month. Hosted by HSN and the University of Tampa, the symposium was part of HSN’s on-going American Dreams initiative and was sponsored by Quirky.
Carter Reum, co-founder of brand development and investment company M13, talked about the easier access to talent thanks to technology. “We live in a time where a lot of resources for talent acquisition are more democratized than they were before. It’s not easy, but you have things like LinkedIn and a lot of other tools to really help and make the connection with qualified people.”
But even if talent is easier to find, Reum pointed out that opportunities for better training on talent acquisition, especially through college or university programs, is needed. “I think the right talent’s going to be a big thing moving forward. When we started our business, no one taught us how to hire people and that is such an important skill set for small businesses.”
One of the keys to hiring successfully, said Reum, is knowing your own corporate culture. “It’s really important to define a culture which your organization is going to have, and that you hire people based on what that culture is. So many times, if you don’t define the culture, the culture will be defined for you. And you may not like what it is.”
Chad Hetherington, CEO at The Stable, a Minneapolis-based business incubator, agreed. “We spent a ton of time figuring out our culture, and making sure that our culture is top notch, more than anything else. We have an office that’s open environment, that’s very collaborative. We’re super transparent –we share more than we probably should. We share our financials, we share how far off or above we are. We make crazy trophies for people at the end of the month called “Reppies,” for who performed really well or did something outstanding. We bonus people on failure. ‘Go out and do something that’s different and unique’ we tell them — and be an entrepreneur inside the company. It’s fun, we’re building a team.”
Liliana Gil Valetta, the founder and CEO of C1EN, agreed. “I’ve had to learn that not everyone is motivated by money. You don’t have to give away equity, either. What you also really need are non-traditional methods for retaining and motivating people that are not necessarily tied to money.”
To learn more about HSN’s American Dream initiative and American Dreams Academy opportunities in cities near you, visit the American Dreams Academy website.