Teaching Good HabitsNov 04, 2015
One of the questions raised at the Zurich session of Start up Hedge Funds recently was aimed at the panel I sat on which discussed various pitfalls of early stage business building. It was a great conference and for those that missed it here is the link to the key topics.www.iiribcfinance.com
The question which made me think the most was where do you go to find good staff if you are in the process of building a company.
Let us assume by this stage you have your core portfolio group, COO and Marketing Head and so you have your key players in place and also initial capital. So how do you then go out and expand the headcount without, hopefully making too many costly mistakes.
My own experience has been that when you hire in staff that may have been learnt on the job elsewhere you are likely to bring into your formulating culture (Brand) their bad habits. I took the view very early on to look at graduates or those that may have recently qualified as say an accountant (almost prefer the CIMA ones as they have applied themselves to learning for longer). Also don’t overlook those that may have applied themselves in business who are looking for that break to get started.
If you look to start a recruitment programme and be prepared to set out a training schedule you can build and mould talent into the good habits that you wish to instil. This will involve the key team buying into the idea as you should look to have some rotation in the fledgling organisation. The beauty also is that most of your key people’s peer group will know someone looking to break in to the fund management world. So use word of mouth rather than any formal recruitment process. The latter is likely to give you more CV’s to reject than you will ever know what to do with. Also don’t ignore the ones that write in (how did they find you?) but the give the priority to the ones that follow up either in writing or better still a phone call.
You are setting up and building an organisation for the future and don’t be afraid to take people in. See if they want to grow with you and be challenged to learn and develop. You can buy a lot of loyalty by helping people off the bottom of the rung. However like anything else you have to keep a dialogue open to ensure that their expectations can be mentored and that you don’t one day find you have lost a key team member. The challenge for you is to keep growing the business to absorb the new talent.
Better that than maybe dealing with job hoppers that may not be all that they say they are cracked up to be.