PlaybookChapter 5

The Essentials

Find out the essential tools that form the foundation of your startup's process.

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Successful teams follow a consistent formula: they regularly ask for feedback, hire the right people for the right jobs, give new hires a great onboarding experience, and make it easy to get answers.

If you don’t have all 4, you’ll want to get them in place before moving on to higher-level problems like performance or management training.

1. Employee Feedback System

Surface Hidden Problems

Your team wants to share feedback, but it’s not always easy. New hires, underrepresented minorities, and less assertive employees worry about rocking the boat. So your leadership team needs to actively solicit feedback and guarantee there won’t be any unpleasant repercussions, or you’ll find out about your biggest issues on GlassDoor.

Monitor Changes

Collecting regular feedback has another benefit: you can measure changes over time. By periodically asking people’s willingness to recommend your company as a place to work, you can study inflection points to see the impact of changes to your workplace.

KPIs: Employee Net Promoter Score

If you’re successfully collecting and addressing feedback from your team, you’ll see an increase in your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

2. Hiring Process

Find the Right People

Hiring isn’t just about finding great people. You need to find the right mix of skills, values, and personality. Then, you need to convince them to join and set the right expectations so they don’t find out they made the wrong decision after it’s too late.

Guard Against Unconscious Bias

Structured hiring is also key to maintaining a diverse team. Unconscious bias thrives in environments without a standard interview process where decisions are mostly being made on gut instinct.

KPIs: Time to Fill, Offer Acceptance, Premature Turnover

If you’ve built a great hiring process, you’ll see a decrease in your Time to Fill and an increase in your Offer Acceptance Rate. If you’re setting the right expectations, you should also see a decrease in turnover before the 1-year mark.

3. Onboarding Plan

Prevent Morale-Killing Mistakes

The first days, weeks, and months at a new job are a delicate time. A bad experience early on can set a great employee on the path to frustration and early turnover. You need to anticipate problems before they happen and put a process in place to prevent them.

Set Clear Expectations

Starting a new job is a bit like moving to a new country. Even if you speak the same language, a lot of things are different. Things that used to be easy can be overwhelming when you’re in unfamiliar territory. By setting expectations up front, you’ll avoid unnecessary conflict and expensive mistakes down the line.

KPIs: Time to Full Productivity, Turnover, Employee Net Promoter Score

If you’re doing a great job onboarding new people, you’ll see a decrease in new hires’ Time to Productivity. Eventually, you should also see a decrease in turnover before the 1-year mark, and an increase in your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).

4. Knowledge Base

Prevent Wasted Time

Without a centralized knowledge base, new hires will waste time reinventing wheels and bugging the old guard for answers to FAQs. Even worse, most of their questions will go unasked, leading to assumptions that cost you business when they don’t pan out.

Eliminate “Key Person” Risk

Star employees at early-stage startups often seem to carry the entire company on their shoulders. It’s not just the long hours. They hold the answers to hundreds of questions, and spend a lot of their day unblocking other people. And when they go on vacation, your team is on edge until they get back.

KPIs: Time to Full Productivity, Turnover, Employee Net Promoter Score

If you’ve built a great knowledge base, you’ll see a decrease in new hires’ Time to Productivity. Eventually, you should also see a decrease in turnover before the 1-year mark, and an increase in your Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS).


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