There comes a point in every business when you realize… it’s time to get HELP! A lot of web-based businesses start out in-house, I mean REALLY in your house. But after awhile, most businesses grow to a point where they have to hire some outside help in order to maintain what you’ve built so far, while taking your business to the next level of success. Unfortunately we can’t do it all by ourselves, and for the obsessive perfectionist work-a-holic in all of us hiring staff can be a scary concept.
We’ve all heard the employee horror stories – staff that takes off with money, steals insider secrets or, more commonly, just does a really bad job. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier to just do it ourselves rather than “waste time” training somebody else to come in and do the basic daily routine. But if we ever hope to get beyond Point A to Point B, C and D – we need to learn to delegate, no matter how hard it might seem.
These are the most common types of employees used within the industry to date, but the one you choose will depend upon the type of business you run, whether you function out of an office or your home and your budget.
OFFICE STAFF – For businesses that work out of an established office or have an actual office set up at home with room for additional staff, this is probably the preferred method of choice. PROS – You can train, support and supervise in-house office staff easier than with employees who work in other states or countries apart from your location, and you get to know your staff on a more intimate level than you might otherwise, giving that feeling of a true “team.” CONS – You will have to “house” said employees with an office or cubicle, provide the computers and tools necessary for them to complete their work – overall, this method likely has the most overhead costs to consider… basically, you get what you pay for.
TELECOMMUTERS – This is the most commonly used method within the online industry. At one point it seemed that only hosting companies and affiliate programs had actual staff working in their offices, while everyone else had staff that lived across North America and around the globe. PROS – Telecommuting gives you more options as far as staff, more choice of hiring experienced professionals who can get the job done at home on their own equipment, without having to have an actual office set-up and costs. CONS – Unless you are really lucky, a lot of times it’s difficult to supervise a telecommuter and ensure that you are getting their full potential out of them on a regular basis. It’s common to have hired several “dud” employees who didn’t work out with this method before you find a gem that will have the same work ethic and standards as you do.
Making YOUR Team “Work” Hiring staff is just one part of the puzzle, once you have brought on new employees you will need to get them all working together toward one shared, common goal – success! In-house office staff and telecommuting employees will need to be able to work well together, know their individual jobs and responsibilities and you will need to find ways to establish checks and balances to ensure that they are getting the job done. Like with any other business, personality issues and conflicts may arise. Having a “game plan” ahead of time can help you quiet these problems before they even start and have a chance to snowball, creating an ineffective working environment for all.
Let’s look at the typical dynamics of a web development team to better understand what is necessary to complete the average industry project:
- Web Designer: Hired to design the overall websites, site elements, banners and advertising.
- Programmer: Hired to implement scripts and programs within the site’s navigation and utilities, adding those features seamlessly to the web design.
- Copywriter: Hired to write the text for advertising, banners, site tours, written content and press announcements.
- Webmaster: Hired to “put it all together,” the copy, design, programming and other dynamic elements necessary to complete the overall layout and presentation of the website – as well as complete future updates to the site.
- Project Coordinator: Possibly yourself, this person’s job is to keep the team focused on the task at hand, coordinate the efforts between the various “jobs” completed by each staff member and keep everyone on track.
Even working inside a brick-and-mortar office setting, sometimes it’s hard to keep all of these different dynamics working together and on the same track. But if everyone knows what his or her job is, what is expected and when the deadline is set, that eliminates a lot of potential for confusion. A lot of inter-office negativity comes from situations involving a staff member who comes in and “takes control” over the company, trying to do everyone else’s job while failing to complete even his own job at full potential. Or from confused employees who aren’t sure what they need to do and ultimately miss deadlines because they thought “someone else” was completing them instead.
When working with a team, communication, guidelines, rules and deadlines are more important than ever before. You are not just hiring staff – you are coordinating a group effort. Each part of the team needs to work in harmony with the other parts of the team if they are to be truly effective.
Later This Week: Fixing a “Broken” Team