Startups How do you find great employees

Career & Salary

"I can no longer do my job alone and I urgently need help. All the bureaucracy and bookkeeping cost a lot of time, which I would rather invest in my product and in my customers."

"What exactly is part of the bureaucracy?"

"Well, everything that comes up, I haven't listed it that precisely yet."

"How many hours per week should someone be available so that you can be well supported?"

"I can't say for sure, I'll take what I can get."

"Then I ask differently: How much money can you spend on an employee per month?"

"Well, actually I don't have a big budget for employees. That's why I also wanted to ask how you can find employees without great costs, interns for example, they don't cost anything, right?"

"That depends on what type of internship it is. But I have another question right away: Do you feel comfortable with an intern doing your accounting, so that you know all the financial figures of your company?"

"Oh, no, of course that doesn't work. I haven't thought about that yet."

I regularly experience dialogues of this kind in my office hours for Start Ups. Young founders are free to poke me there on everything that is on their minds in the areas of human resources and corporate management. The conversations vary slightly, but the situation the start-ups are currently in is the same: The start-up is developing well. The business idea is successful. Sales and income are not yet stable, but are developing positively. At the same time, the volume of work continues to increase until the founder or founders can no longer cope with it alone. This has two effects:

  1. The volume of work increases and there is massive pressure. Even night shifts and weekends are no longer enough to cope with the amount of work tasks. The product is still in the foreground and the customer continues to have his claims, so that business threatens to collapse if the work is not done in a timely manner.

  1. The task contents change. Entrepreneurs increasingly have to deal with things that are not directly related to their core business. They are confronted with tasks that are alien to them and also possibly annoying. The fun at work can decrease rapidly as a result.

In the worst case, both factors come together, that is, the pressure rises sharply as the enjoyment of the work content decreases. The solution: Additional manpower is needed! The first employee is about to be hired!

With this seemingly simple solution, new challenges open up that are usually not clear to the founders. The question of the staff budget is still quite obvious, because everyone knows that staff want to be paid (even if the dream of free staff continues to hold up bravely). In addition, there are many other questions that need to be answered before the hiring of an employee can be put into practice. Only some of them should be mentioned here:

  • What should the new person do anyway? What tasks should she take on?

  • Which specialist knowledge / qualifications should the person bring with them?

  • What is the approximate volume of the tasks, i.e. do we need someone full-time, or are a few hours a month sufficient to begin with?

  • Where should the person work? Can we set up a workplace on site? Does an office even exist?

  • Can we provide the necessary work equipment (notebook, telephone)? Have we budgeted the costs for that too?

  • What times should the person work? Are our own working hours compatible with those of a potential new employee, or do we have to adjust considerably for them?

  • How do we bill the person? Do we already have a tax advisor?

The list can easily be extended to double the number of points, and each individual point must be carefully considered.

Just the decision in which form an employee should be employed offers various possibilities, with the respective advantages and disadvantages. Interns are inexpensive or even free of charge, but they don't stay longer than three to six months. Working students are an inexpensive alternative, but they are primarily focused on their studies and therefore may not be with the desired level of commitment. Even a mini-job means a certain amount of administration, for which you only get around ten hours of support per week. The greatest flexibility is offered by employees who are employed full-time or part-time with a regular employment contract. For these, the costs are then also higher, and the bureaucratic effort is also correspondingly large.

  1. Bonuses and recognition from the boss
    A good working atmosphere is the be-all and end-all for a company's success and employee loyalty. Reason enough, as the boss and HR department, to think about employee motivation. Benefit advisor Markus Sobau names the seven greatest employee wishes.
  2. Flexible working hours
    The desire for flexible working hours is particularly pronounced. Every second employee would like to be able to decide for themselves when and how much they work.
  3. Home office
    A third of employees want to work from home. If the employer pays the costs for the necessary infrastructure for working in the home office, the interest in working from home is even greater.
  4. More gross from net
    Despite all prophecies of doom, a higher salary motivates - preferably if it has a net effect. This can be done elegantly with a company card. Employers can transfer EUR 44 per month to this. The amount is available to the employee as a net benefit in kind. He can go out to eat with it, fill up his car or save the money. Such a benefit is worth more than a pay increase of 100 euros that has to be taxed.
  5. retirement provision
    Many employees would like the boss to help with their retirement provision. Companies should therefore offer a company pension scheme. For contributions that you transfer to the private pension of the employees, proportional social security contributions do not apply. If the boss puts this 20 percent on top as a subsidy, it is also a good investment in the working atmosphere.
  6. Health care
    If the health of its employees is particularly important to a company, company health insurance is a good tip. For example, it saves the employee the expense of glasses, dentures or alternative practitioner treatment. Advantage for the employer: he can initially take out the insurance for one year, for example as a bonus for successful employees, and extend it later if necessary.
  7. Credit from the boss
    Due to their often large loan volumes and the necessary creditworthiness, companies receive favorable interest rates. They can pass these on to their people. The employee pays four percent to his boss instead of eleven percent overdraft interest at his house bank.
  8. Independent working
    Employees attach importance to the fact that bosses trust them and trust them to carry out the assigned tasks independently. In terms of an agile corporate culture, they want to independently develop tasks based on agreed guard rails such as sales, profit targets or product innovations.

With the creation of jobs, the company has reached a completely new dimension. The founders are very well able to convince people of their own business idea. You can inspire them to be part of an exciting organization and to contribute to its growth and success. When employing employees, it is also important to meet these people as a responsible employer. The basis for the work of the employee is not just a common business idea. The employment contract is the basis for the employment relationship. On the basis of this, the employee undertakes to perform the agreed work. The employer undertakes to pay wages on time, to create a suitable working environment, to continue paying wages in the event of illness, vacation, etc. Great care is required, both technically, legally and organizationally.

If the founder just wanted to hire an employee in order to be able to free himself from annoying tasks and to be able to concentrate on his core topic again, he now faces many other challenges that are not really part of his core business.

From zero to one hundred, the founder becomes an employer. The responsibility that he previously only had to bear for himself and his business also directly encompasses the employees. As an employer, the founder must carefully instruct the employees in the work tasks and guide them. It is important that the entrepreneur enjoys pursuing his goals together with other people. To be an employer means to be a manager. And only those who enjoy it and like people can lead efficiently. Those who like to take on the management role will be able to retain employees over the long term and lead them to good performance.

And that's the good news! Of course, employees do not just mean more effort and annoying tasks that also distract from the actual business idea. Above all, employees mean a great deal of relief once they have been introduced and integrated into the company in the right way.

Once you have jumped over the hurdle of wanting to be an employer and you have been able to practice and implement this on a single or even a few employees with a certain degree of calm, a big step has been taken. The company has created a solid basis from which further growth can be planned and implemented much more easily.

If the entrepreneur fails to take due care in this task, frustration and high stress (physical as well as psychological) are programmed on both sides. When companies fail, it is not necessarily because of a bad product or service idea. Rather, it is the lack of discipline in the internal organization and management of employees that forces a company to give up.

IDG Research has published a study on the workplace of the future

Nevertheless: Creating jobs and dealing with your own employees is a great long-term affair that you shouldn't be afraid of. On the contrary: with a little mindfulness and a good routine, it is not difficult to get employees excited about your own company and to involve them in growth and further development in the long term. One thing is clear: without employees, a company cannot grow, increase its success and maintain a stable position in the market. Employees are a valuable (and, by the way, also a scarce) commodity for which the additional effort is definitely worthwhile!

Tips for founders

  • It is important to consider carefully which tasks a new person should take on. A mini job description cannot hurt and at the same time serves as the basis for a possible job advertisement. It is helpful to look at the current daily routine and imagine what it would be like if there was another person in the office. How does it feel to hand over certain tasks?

  • What professional qualifications does the person need? For example, do you need an experienced rabbit for online marketing, or is a young student enough? Are certain programming skills required for app design, or is organizational talent enough when it comes to office work?