While there is no shortage of advice for founders, one thing which rarely gets discussed in the importance of developing your team. Sure, having great development and marketing teams in place is critical to your success and you’ll need someone who can help guide you through the ins and outs of fundraising; but the need for having a Chief People Officer in place is often overlooked. The reality is that all startups – even tech startups – rely on people. With that in mind here is why having a chief people officer is critical to the success of your startup.
There is no “I” in team
Building a startup from the ground up requires a lot of time and energy but ask any successful founder and they will tell you that they could not have done it by themselves. Instead, they needed to surround themselves with a core team.
But having a team around you can present its own challenges. These include managing employees and contractors, recruitment, onboarding, retention, and even balances holidays and leaves of absence. While you can turn to absence software for the latter, and many do, the reality is that you also want a leader on your side who can help you build a team.
Beyond this, you also want to have a leader to help manage morale and to give team members a sense of purpose and personal growth. Sure, this might the founder’s role, especially in the beginning, but so is looking after the development schedule, sales and markets, and let’s not forget fundraising.
So, when you are building the team for your startup remember that there is no “I” in
Bringing calm to the chaos
If you are fortunate enough to be on a booming startup then you know it can feel like you have the tiger by the tail. Yes, everyday is a challenge, and this is probably why you founded the company in the first place. But the reality is that taking your startup to the next level means that you will need to be able to overcome the chaos – eventually.
This is where having a chief people office can help. Not only will they take the reins when it comes to the personnel management aspects of the business, but they should also be adding value by linking your growth to the needs in the trenches.
Sure, there will be times when you need to do more with less, but this can only last for so long. As such, having a leader who can implement a recruitment and retention plan will your team to focus on the needs of the customers and not the fires which pop up every now and then.
Allow you to focus on what’s important
While people are important, they are only part of what you are trying to achieve with your startup. As such, having someone to handle people-related issues can allow you to focus on what is important. In the case of an early-stage company, that is a simple proposition – i.e. keeping your customers happy and making sure you have enough money to keep the lights on.
Beyond this, there are the challenges that come when your team expands from two to four to more. While you don’t want to create a function that is too bureaucratic, you don’t want to make sure you have the support needed to grow rapidly.
Having a chief people officer can really help in this aspect as their focus in not only on the people but also in supporting an environment which can help them to grow. As such, don’t wait until you have 30 employees to think about this function, work with a professional from the beginning and this will help you have a plan in place instead of making it up as you go along.
Because you want to succeed
While you should learn from your failures no founder starts out with the goal of crashing and burning – unless they are running crash test dummy company. As such, you are in it to win it and this means that you need to lay the foundation for a strong company; a critical part of which is making sure you have the leaders in place to attract and retain the best talent.
If you want to succeed, then get yourself a chief people officer. Not only will they help you manage the team you’ve put together today but they will position you and your company for what will come tomorrow.