Google. Facebook. Apple. These tech titans appear to have overwhelming advantages over your company when it comes to recruiting top talent. They offer incredible resources and reach. They have world-class brands that can burnish a resume. And not the least, they can offer more money. A lot more. Google once gave one of its executives $100 million in stock to keep him from leaving to join Twitter.

I’ve spent most of my career in Silicon Valley, competing with these household names to hire great people. And while I’ve certainly lost many a candidate to their bottomless wallets, I’ve won more than my fair share of these battles. You don’t need buckets of money or a world-famous brand to get top talent. But you do need a better strategy. Here’s how you can beat them, rather than joining them:

1) Treat your employees like allies, not assets.

Notice how we speak about hiring. “The war for talent.” “Stockpiling great people.” “Collecting rockstars.” The implicit assumption is that people are assets, some of these assets are particularly valuable, and these valuable assets should be acquired and hoarded like a dragon’s treasure.

You don’t need buckets of money or a world-famous brand to get top talent. But you do need a better strategy. Tweet This Quote

While this attention is flattering, being treated like an object is not. Just ask any trophy spouse.

The right approach is to treat your employees like allies—independent people whom you need to court by finding mutual interests and reaching a formal, mutually-beneficial agreement. This way, you can make people feel valued as an individual, not just as an asset.

This strategy is especially powerful when you’re recruiting against big organizations; let Google and Facebook prepare standard offers, delivered by HR personnel. You can court potential employees personally and directly.

2) Define a clear, mutually beneficial mission that, if achieved, helps both company and employee achieve important goals.

Another dangerous fallacy is to assume that great talent automatically translates into great results. At one point in Google’s history, founder Larry Page decided that management was getting in the way of productivity. So he fired all the managers and had all 400 of Google’s engineers report to a single person. (He did this at an all hands meeting without consulting any of them—including the VP of Engineering, who was quite surprised to suddenly have 400 direct reports!) Needless to say, Larry soon realized the error he had made, and realized that management is actually necessary.

A great manager doesn’t just define the work, she also makes sure that the employee understands how both he and the company benefit from that work. Tweet This Quote

The key to great management is clarity—making sure that employees understand their mission. But it doesn’t stop there—a great manager doesn’t just define the work, she also makes sure that the employee understands how both he and the company benefit from that work. This way, each employee truly understands the context for his work, and can better suggest changes and improvements as (inevitably) circumstances change.

Only three percent of companies set and regularly revisit individual employee goals. Tweet This Quote

Astonishingly enough, very few companies actually follow this basic principle. According to Deloitte, only three percent of companies set and regularly revisit individual employee goals. Just by checking in regularly, you can be better than 97 percent of your competitors!

3) Offer employees the chance to transform their careers.

The accepted wisdom is that companies no longer offer professional development. With the exception of a few old-school organizations like GE, training, learning, and development get lip service. It might be tempting to save a few bucks by following the norm, especially when you’re a small, cash-poor startup. But in doing so, you’d be giving up one of your most powerful recruiting tools.

In the past few years, you’ve probably already heard enough about employee engagement to last several lifetimes. But lost in the hype is this key fact: Employees under the age of 25 rate professional development as their #1 driver of engagement. And employees in the 25 to 34 age range rank professional development #2. It makes perfect sense that people at the beginning of their career would prize the opportunity to build the base of soft assets (skills, experiences, etc.) that they’ll leverage for decades.

Offer employees the chance to transform their careers. Tweet This Quote

You can tap this hunger for development by offering the chance for true career transformation. You may not be able to afford to build a fancy corporate university, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide great learning opportunities. Here in Silicon Valley, one way I’ve been able to retain top software developers is to offer them the chance to learn hot new technologies. Giving a bright person the chance to learn iOS to develop your iPhone app may seem riskier than hiring someone who already has iOS experience, but it’s the kind of learning opportunity that top talents appreciate (and it may be cheaper to pay someone to learn, than it is to pay an existing expert).

If you’re not sure whether or not an opportunity is truly transformational, simply ask, “Would achieving this mission warrant a new entry on the employee’s LinkedIn profile?” If the answer is yes, it probably is; if the answer is no, it probably isn’t. One useful exercise for defining a transformative mission is to write the resulting LinkedIn profile entry in advance, to make the benefits clear and concrete to everyone involved.

Treat employees like allies, define their missions clearly, and give them the chance to transform their careers Tweet This Quote

When you treat employees like allies, define their missions clearly, and give them the chance to transform their careers, you and your company will become known as great employers, and you’ll be to hold your own against the Googles and Facebooks of the world.

To learn more about treating employees as allies, check out my book, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age

If you want more guidance on implementing these ideas at your organization, you can sign up for our mailing list and get additional materials and help from my company, Allied Talent.

About the author

Chris Yeh

Chris Yeh

Chris is the VP Marketing for PBworks, partner at Wasabi Ventures, and an avid startup investor and advisor. He is also a co-author of The Alliance and serial tech entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.

  • pouls29

    Nothing is worse than working for someone who doesn’t define clearly what your role in the business is. But is even worse is working for someone who defines your roll differently each time you meet with them. This happened to me. Each week, I’d meet with my boss and discuss our goals for the upcoming week/month. By the time the next week rolled around and I presented the results of my efforts, my boss would look confused and change directions. It was such a problem that I found a new job in less than a month. It was a blessing in disguise, but it highlights one of your points.

  • SGustin

    In my experience working in corporate America, my goals are so generic that I can meet them simply by showing up to work everyday. There are no specific tasks or even goals that apply only to me. My entire team has pretty much the same goals as everyone else. Not the most motivating environment for sure.

  • Mallory Benham

    I really value the first recommendation. Employees are so important to a company and its function. They need to know they are respected and valued! Nothing feels worse than feeling like a replaceable employee.

  • Jack Strader

    First off, I didn’t know that companies are struggling to find hard working and top tier employees. They really make it seem like they have it all under control or at least bluff their way to convincing me I need this job more than they need me in any interview I’ve ever been involved with. If I consider myself one of these top tier employees that companies would be interested in, how would I go about showcasing my talents to one of these companies? I’m guessing that having a nicely designed resume and a good smile isn’t enough to show them they need me.

  • Kziegle1

    I definitely agree with you. I have found myself in a career that I am less that enthusiastic about, however I have been afforded the beautiful gift of education. I am desperate to continue my professional development and aware that a recognized education is a part of that. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Chris Yeh

    The key is always to take your audience’s point of view. For a company, that means clearly articulating why hiring you will lead to greater sales and profits. If you can paint a vivid, convincing picture of the benefits you’ll bring, companies will want you…badly.

  • Chris Yeh

    Sadly, as I noted, most companies do a terrible job of setting and revisiting goals. You can always try to improve how your corner of the company works–you can be an oasis for your direct reports and team. Alternately, use your well-compensated but undemanding job to finance your own projects, be they self-development or even your own startup!

  • Chris Yeh

    Yes, while it is important to respond to the changing environment, moving the goalposts every week is incredibly frustrating!

  • pouls29

    Exactly! I can handle change, and actually welcome it. But when the change has nothing to do with the analysis of the current state of the business, that’s when it gets wonky!

  • malopez93

    This is a great article about some not so normal thinking that can really go a long way in management. I think these three principles should be something that all big companies follow and it is a shame that they aren’t. I am 23 years old and I have to agree my #1 question when making a job transition is how likely is development for me. I want the experience I want to grow and I want to be able to offer my employer more. Some times it will take time and I just need experience but if the employee is willing to offer that to me I make sure they don’t regret it. I love how it talks about treating people as allies. To me that is a crucial way of rethinking it. Being seem as an ally and not just an employee can really change someones work ethic ten folds.

  • Erin Todd

    I agree with this article. I find to often that people don’t feel accomplished or fulfilled in their jobs. While jobs sole purpose to gain an income, it is nice to have a job that creates value beyond monetary value. Managers should recognize their employees and respect them as well as understand their own goals in life and in the workplace.

  • JuanFonseca1995

    This article made many interesting points that can make your company have highly productive employees with little to no money. A manager tells people what to do, whereas a leader inspires employees to put their best effort forward. You need to surround yourself with employees that believe in themselves, people that have a positive attitude so that the entire team is an energetic and cohesive unit. When you treat employees as human beings as opposed to dollar signs, you will realize that people will put more effort into the work environment. The reason is because they don’t want to disappoint you or let you down because you genuinely care about their personal wellbeing. When you prove to your employees that they matter, your employees will be more reluctant to listen to you and they will buy into the system you are trying to implement.

  • karnold001

    I really like strategy #3: offering employees the chance to transform their careers. In interviews I have often noticed employers’ concern for my lack of job experience, but how am I supposed to get experience if I am not hired? It is frustrating because companies would rather search for top tier employees than take the time to train someone young that is eager to work and learn.

  • Katie

    I think this article makes a lot of great points. It’s obvious that big companies like Apple have the money to draw in and keep employees. This article gives great advice on how to make employees feel appreciated as well as gives insight on how work in a successful environment. By feeling valued, employees are more likely to give full effort as well as be open about their innovative ideas.

  • Katie Larson

    I completely agree. I believe money can only satisfy people to a certain extent. If I am supposed to be in the workforce for 40 years or more, I hope to work for organizations/companies that offer existential benefits in addition to the monetary benefits. This article does a great job of outling how companies can attract the right employees when they show genuine interest in their employees/allies as well as offer opportunities for personal and professional growth.

  • Matthew Montoya

    I thought this was an outstanding article! I asked a similar question about the recruitment of talent following a previous article on maintaining employee relationships! I think what speaks to me the most about this article is the importance of reciprocal benefit between employers and employees. If a company takes a genuine stance to provide career opportunities that not only benefit the company, but provide interesting and challenging opportunities for their employees to gain from, there is a true healthy relationship. That being said, my question is how can organizations say in the nonprofit sector utilize these tips to recruit top talent? I know that it is important for nonprofits to treat their employees as allies, provide a mission that fosters mutual goal reach for employers and employees, and to give employees the opportunity to transform their career, but how can these be done in a way that encourages participation in nonprofits? Can nonprofits provide the opportunities to transform careers in a way that is cross functional between for-profits and nonprofits? In what ways could nonprofits demonstrate to top talent that nonprofit careers are a genuine opportunity to spark and develop a quality career? Just a few questions, but overall, I really enjoyed this article!

  • Ryan Broida

    Overall I very much so enjoyed this article! I am going to be running my own company this summer and I am quickly learning the importance of establishing the benefits for both my employees and myself of completing work. It is important to use your employees as allies and to implore goals for them to want to accomplish because it will help the whole company run smoother.

  • dbickel

    I think you need to tell a story, much like Chris Yeh said below when referring to the vivid painting you create. From what I have experienced in the job market it’s not always about the college GPA or the fascinating things you’ve done to put on your resume. Dont, get me wrong, these things do help, but when you sit down in that interview you can’t just read off the paper. The ability to stand in front of someone or a group of people and tell them who you are, and what you are about is something that provides not only tremendous value in the business world but in all aspects of our lives. Being able to explain WHAT work you’re doing, is just as important as, being able to explain WHY you’re doing it. I see more and more business transforming the style of management to that explained in the article. This idea that the people you employ are your greatest investments and paying attention to their goals and ideas and thoughts on a personal level can increase the relationship they share with you and the business.

  • tanderson_PAX370

    Valuing your employees as allies is extremely important! You are both working together to achieve a common goal. The best work gets done when people feel respected as valuable members of a team, not just as expendable cogs in a machine. Mutual respect feeds loyalty and people that are happy in their work environment are more productive than those who are not. I absolutely love the idea of focusing not just on your own intentions by finding out what the intentions are of your employees as well. This not only honors the goals and dreams of your employees but helps to keep everybody on the same page while meeting your triple bottom line.

  • bdelbian

    As someone who has worked in Career Services at my own university for the past two and a half years, I have had the opportunity to talk with many different employers. Employers put a lot of time, effort, and money into the recruiting that they do. Making the right choice is always a big concern of any organization, but I think that it is important, for recent grads and those about to graduate, to take a minute to think. Think about not who the company is and what they stand for, but how will you be able to fit in the larger spectrum of things. Does their mission statement conflict with your own personal goals? If so, maybe they are not a right fit for you. I once met with an engineering student who had worked for a big name company, which will remain anonymous here, and he discovered a couple years into the job that he didn’t want to be working there the rest of his life or until retirement. It was not all that it was cracked up to be and so he decided to return to school to further his education and seek out a position that was a better fit for him. Did this second organization have as much of a presence in the world as the first? Of course not, but he is happier there and he has found more room to grow in his new role.
    People often get caught up in the glamour of the big name companies and often forget that they all started out small at some point or another.

  • bdelbian

    The best of luck to you as you run your own company! That seems like an exciting endeavor and I am sure that you will learn much along the way. I am hoping to launch my own start-up in the near future. I am beginning to learn how much really goes into developing an idea and how important people and allies are to that vision that I have.

  • storres001

    I really like the point of treating employees like allies instead of assets. in a world where employees are being chipped and tracked to make sure they are being productive, I think its really important to see them less as cattle and more as people who can help you. I also liked the point of growing their trade. I had a boss once that said he’d rather hire people he knew would fit well in the company and train teach them, than get someone who just had the certifications but nothing else. We should be helping our employees grow just as much as they help us grow the company. That is really how you’ll get your company to continue a pattern of growth.

  • James Callahan

    I think that helping your employees personal development is a great practice for businesses to get into. When you do that, even if you end up losing some as they move up, you are able to attract great talent and it will do much to engender appreciation and loyalty to you and your business. Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, said “I know that, at times, it makes it hard at times on us, but I want the next guy coming in to know the exact same thing, if you come here, we’re going to help you be the best that you could possibly be and that doesn’t mean it comes during recommendation time, this is in the process of trying to help guys find their best manners, the best way, their best understanding of how to present their philosophy and their approach so we work with that throughout the year.”

  • John Mulhern

    I find this approach very helpful. As you look for a job one of the first feelings that are tempting to let take control of you is the feeling that you need the organization you are trying to work for much more than they need you. Its quite often the other way around just as much. I think that understanding both sides of the thinking is critical in applying the concepts brought up ere in this article and can be the key for companies to acquire and keep excellent talent.

  • dannyjoseph14

    This is a great article that really hits home as a graduating senior just entering the job market. As I interview and research potential careers, I have found that a company’s willingness to invest in my training and development as well as their acknowledgement of my long-term career goals and potential for growth within the company are among the most important factors when considering my future with an organization. Sure, a hip, modern campus with every amenity imaginable is a very attractive feature in a workplace and has been proven to be an effective recruitment incentive for many companies, but I would much rather work for an organization that values my goals and future within the company and is willing to invest and work with me to achieve them. As the author notes, this is mutually beneficial to the employer and employee; it creates loyalty, improves job satisfaction, and reduces employee turnover. Great article Chris, I respect your recruitment strategy.

  • AFraley

    Best of luck to you in your new company this summer, i too am working on a business plan for the not too far away future. I think that there is a lot of vital information that is mostly true and could be beneficial to any new business owner or prospect to keep in mind.

  • AFraley

    Best of luck to you on your job search i truly hope that you find the perfect company for you. I am a junior right now and the future is not that far away for me and my dreams of being a small business owner are quickly approaching. Its simple reminders such as these that keep me inspired to always do the next right thing which also includes my future employees/allies.

  • rschneider2800

    I think, as a soon to be college grad, we get sucked up into the brand the same way we do as consumers. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that if it’s something you really love and are passionate about. But if you decide to work for a company because of name instead of your own personal beliefs and goals, then you are going to be a super unhappy employee.
    Also it’s incredibly exciting as a college grad to hear that employers still fight for talent because sometimes it feel like companies are doing us a favor just interviewing us.

  • sadeakindele

    I really like your point of being able to be conversational and to tell your story, rather than relying on your resume alone. I’ve been told that it is no longer your academic or work background that gets you hired, but your personality and network.

  • Halea McAteer

    This reminded me of an article posted by Unreasonable sometime last week, but the information is just as informative. This sort of relationship is crucial for both the employee and employer. As I am slowly starting to enter into the professional world I am realizing that a career that simply makes me a bunch of money truly won’t be as satisfying as I once thought. For me to truly be happy in a career, I want to be valued and know that the work I am doing is making a difference, just as this article touches on.

  • kgallaher

    I totally agree! I think it is really important to be valued as an employee. I think this article is encouraging, especially since we will soon be entering the work force.

  • Mabel

    Being a student that is about to graduate within a few months this article really hit home with me. I’ve felt like i have had different experiences at the jobs and internships. The most positive experiences have been when i felt that i was apart of the culture and goals of the company. This is key to have the personnel of a company be motivated and contribute willfully to the company, instead of doing work out of obligation. This article highlights what businesses should do and what employees should consider when taking a job.

  • Tiffanie Marszalek

    In my market within Starbucks, Coffee Co. we are currently having developmental 1:1’s with our partners, and covering these topics exactly. By having transparent conversations regarding how their behaviors support our mission statement, and asking where they want to develop, in addition to how I can support their learning, we are mutually achieving our goals. I enjoyed this very relevant article.

  • Arnthor Kristinsson

    In many ways I think it is positive that the personality and network gets you hired. That often shows more about you than your education. But aren’t the networks and personality also affected by your education and work background? Just a thought, what do you think Sade?

  • Jenny Lynn Shaver

    Having worked for Starbucks, and my husband currently works for Apple, I understand the pull to these great companies from the workforce standpoint. Starbucks pays (a little) more than minimum wage, offers part time employees health insurance, and 2 years of schooling from a top college for free. Most Starbucks employees are college graduates. My Starbucks always did a great job creating a feeling of loyalty and dedication to their employees and I spent more time with my team than I did my own family. Apple hired my husband at $5/hr more (which was a 25% increase) than he was making at his other job. Apple has provided more continual training, support, and leadership to my husband than his other job could have ever imagined. They believe that one on one mentoring will create a strong, dedicated, and effective team. And it does. They quickly weed out the lackeys and are left with the cream of the crop. This is why we chose to stay at these big name companies because they offered more than a paycheck. They offered us opportunities to lead, grow, and flourish. That being said, the moment you fell behind, the moment you had a life-changing event that effected your work, these companies will leave you in the dust. There are hundreds of other people dying to take your place. And because of this, there is always a little voice in the back of your head whispering paranoid thoughts. “Did I do well enough this quarter?” “Did I improve enough to keep my job?” I hope smaller companies can take the best from these corporate giants and learn from the worst.

  • mleano

    It seems to me that it takes a certain type of personality to get into start ups or small unestablished companies. Aside from ambition and intellect, it takes an independent risk taker to go with the unestablished because big money and big brand recognition offer a lot of job security and that means a lot to many who would be starting a career with college debt who would like to determine their career path by starting at an established company. While some of the biggest companies in tech started in a garage or a dorm room, there’s only a few that make it big. For me personally, if given the opportunity, it would be very hard for me to pick the start up over the big names.

  • kschwein

    Company culture for employees is one of the most important aspects in a job. Building relationships with your employees is huge and is ultimately the foundation of your work environment. With this build up with employees you won’t only benefit your employees in their careers but also you and your company in the long run. This was a very interesting article and showed the benefits of your employees

  • aburns002

    I agree. My work-experience lacks diversity. I’ve worked at the same company for several years now, they treat me well and I simply enjoy my time. Why work as a grunt level employee for a company that does not truly value you as a person? I really like what Chris Yeh said in response to Jack Strader’s post. “Paint a vivid, convincing picture of the benefits you’ll bring.” It sounds challenging in words, but if that job opportunity defines you, It is not out of reach.

  • Gaby Perez

    I completely agree with you! Just like you I have worked jobs where I was treated like an asset rather than an ally. I personally want to work for a company that treasures my work and make me feel like part of something bigger than itself. That is something I look for in a company to work for, not just another number/employee but someone who is valued.

  • Spencer Rafii

    Really great article. This is a question that I ask myself a lot. How do I find hard working employees when other places can pay them better? For my company, I need to higher low skilled workers who would work for me for the summer or neighborhood restaurants, local pools, that sort of thing. Just as this article stresses, make your employees feel like their friendship and skills that they bring to the table is what the company needs. Personally speaking, I want to stress the importance of to my potential new higher’s, that in a company like my own, hard work will only make their careers more meaningful to the company with higher pay. I guess when it comes down to selling a job, the more room for hard work that leads to raises or promotions the better. Something the competition can not do in a summer.

  • pcutinelli

    I agree with your example in correlation to the article. Starbucks is a great company when it comes to a business putting value and ethics before profit, and they have been able to use their devotion to value to gaining lasting consumer relationships. A business’ attention to value will turn a profit in the long run of business.

  • joconne4

    I firmly believe that a personal investment in ones work leads to far greater productivity, both in consistency and quality. It’s a very simple matter that a person like that would be streets ahead of someone who is just there for no better reason.

  • mpierson19

    I believe the person being hired should almost feel pressured when in an interview that way they don’t leave anything out so they can really showcase all their skills and what they will bring to the company, rather then the interviewer to tell the interviewee that the company needs them.

  • Jessica Andrew

    Thank you for sharing this article. I imagine that there is some pressure on the person giving the interview because they don’t want to give the wrong message about the company or leave something out that is important. Doing this could drive the person being interviewed away from working for the company. This is great advice for someone who does a lot of hiring for their job.

  • Dena Keizer

    Thanks for posting. This makes me realize that its really not that easy to hire people. I have been taught so much about standing out by having unique things on my resume and all that but after reading this, i see how difficult it can be on the other end of the spectrum when you’re the person doing the hiring.

  • conner_faulkner

    Another great way to get top talent is to be in the trenches with your employees/comrades. My grandfather (WWII USMC veteran recently buried in Arlington National Cemetery) told me about his favorite leader, Lt. Robert Dunlap (Medal of Honor recipient). He said what made him a great leader is that when his troops were wet, tired, hungry and bleeding, Dunlap was wet, tired, hungry and bleeding. And that is how/why you earn top performance from your troops.

  • Amy Rink

    Thank you for posting this article! Throughout the reading there was one quote that really stood out to me. “A great manager doesn’t just define the work, he also makes sure that the employee understands how both he and the company benefit from that work.” This is completely true and I think every boss should follow this. By having great communication makes the employee truly understand what it is they are doing with their work. This is how it should be with all bosses and their employees!

  • whwatkin

    I really enjoy these types of articles that are geared towards the smaller companies. It is articles like this that show that you do not need to be intimidated or pushed around by the big guys. And I suppose that recruiting quality employees could be fairly difficult for a smaller company that went about it the wrong way.

  • kbell003

    I like the idea of allowing the employees to be able to mold their careers. I think that in many jobs today if you don’t move up within a year or two, then you will never be able to move up. So if they are allowed to mold and change their job as the company grows, then I think that this is a great long term solution to keeping better quality employees.

  • zoeantonow

    I like this idea too, and I think it encourages individuality and uniqueness is employee value. Without this freedom on the employee to set their career path, they could get caught up in being “stuck” somewhere and give up on their potential; the company also loses sight of niche talents without it. I hope to someday work in a place where this molding idea is prevalent, because it seems like it would lead to a much more productive and diverse workplace.

  • Alex_C_B

    I enjoyed the line about giving an aspiring professional a chance, rather than look for seasoned professionals. That opportunity and the trust that was placed in the new hire will not be forgotten nor unappreciated. People are looking for ways to “break in” to the industry, and I think that the strategy mentioned in this article is a great way to help people break in. Even if someone is a risk, they MIGHT repay the business with loyalty, which is more valuable than a complacent professional.

  • epmcinty

    This article is excellent and i love every single point of it. My favorite has to be the first point. I read a book called EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey for my TMC110 course at Arizona State University. In this book he discusses the best strategies to be a successful businessman and entrepreneur. One of the biggest things was to delete the word employee out of your dictionary and create a TEAM. Everyone is a team member, it creates the sense of unity and equality. I also like the point of creating a clear mission, otherwise you never know exactly what goals and initiatives you are working towards. There are numerous ways to get top notch talent even without having copious amounts of money and resources, you just have to set out some guidelines for yourself when choosing, just like this article.

  • Jansscor16

    It would be nice to see more companies take this approach. I think it is important to invest in your employees and give them what they need to succeed. Like you said, they may have to learn in order to perform better, but giving the employees the opportunity, will hopefully create a loyal and trustworthy employee. Your article is something that if I am ever in a position where I have to hire someone, I will use greatly to make a great decision.

  • Jansscor16

    I agree, a complacent professional is probably more willing to leave if he doesn’t like it or if his job is done. Developing a loyal employee can go a long way in developing a business and acquiring future employees.

  • Jansscor16

    I agree, having a hardworking and enjoyable atmosphere will build a quality business and will likely keep its employees for longer. Investing in your employees will in turn have your employees investing in you.

  • ChaiseSheldon

    This is an interesting article. I have read a few articles that involve getting good people without the money. The things that all these articles have in common is that the people are allies and not assets. Second you have to make the goal of your startup applicable to your partners dreams and goals.

  • Will Carter

    I’m glad that there are still people that realize that people like to be treated like people, and will often even take a lower-paying, lower-profile job if it treats them like a person instead of a robot.

  • Persophine Reid Tiapula

    I really enjoyed this article! if the employee and the employer do not get along it will be hard to get things done. Treat your employees like allies not assets, it’s really important for both sides to make people feel like they are a part of a team, a valuable member of the team, that way people love their job and that is beneficial for both employee and employer.

  • glmcguir

    This is definitely a great read for those of us who plan on owning our own businesses one day. While I thought these points were “common sense”, it was kind of baffling to know that companies are moving away from offering professional development of their employees these days.

  • JakeEllis7

    As a veteran, any company who would ask me what my goals are and care about them would instantly gain my interest. Honestly, if a company doesn’t do that we should all question if working for them is where we would want to be.

  • AndreaOlsen22

    I think this article makes a very important point. Even in the workplace employees, even the newest ones, are still people, not objects. Treating your employees like actual people, and like they matter to the company, is crucial. When employees feel like they matter and actually have a purpose within the business, chances are they will enjoy working there. They will also WANT to work there, due to how they are treated, and strive to be efficient/successful. Having employees that are good at what they do, makes for a strong company. By giving your employees tasks and goals, they will aim high and be able to learn in the process as well.

  • 204Ted

    Achieving goals and contributing to the success of the company is two things that I think are really vital when it comes to future job hunting. I feel that for maximum productivity, having manageable goals and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from them is huge. Furthermore, there is always talk that people aren’t looking for careers with one company for 20 years anymore. Yet, if you can get a job with a company where you can constantly evolve and move around easily to new and challenging projects then why not?

  • My guess is that Larry didn’t manage the managers very well himself?! Company culture is set and nurtured by the founders and executives wether they are conscious about it or not.

    “According to Deloitte, only three percent of companies set and regularly revisit individual employee goals.”
    This is quite a surprising and astonishing statistic!

    “Giving a bright person the chance to learn iOS to develop your iPhone app may seem riskier than hiring someone who already has iOS experience, but it’s the kind of learning opportunity that top talents appreciate”
    This concept nailed it for me. There is a give and take incentive here that took me awhile to get but now seems very obvious. Finding areas that are mutually berneficial to company and employees just takes some innovative thinking about what is possible.


    I would venture to say that the majority of people are professionally driven by opportunities for growth, clear-cut goals and a feeling of appreciation. I think this strategy is simple, yet extremely influential, as its foundation is built strongly on all of these aspects. People are complex, but I think addressing these simple things can go a long way in finding and maintaining great talent in the workforce.

  • TykwinskB25

    As an employer I think it is key to make sure you think of your employees as a person or teammate. I see this happen to much in big corporation such as Walmart, target, grocery store. These companies have so many employees and lots of the time the employees get treated as numbers rather than employees, which causes them to stop caring about their work because nobody cares about their work.

  • GSonDUBS

    Really good advice. Thank you for sharing. There are many companies out there that forgot continue education or don’t realize how valuable it is.

  • Lindsey Kessler

    I agree with what you’re saying, but I think people have referred to their employees as a team member or teammate so much, that the term is a bit overused and vague. I’ve found that the companies who use the word “team” in any way are the companies where their employees are the most unhappy. I think the principles behind teammate has been lost in the work environment, and that they need to be redefined and re-examined. I like where the author is getting at, because I think his ideas are getting at the this reexamination.

  • wegener61

    YES. Companies always have a knack for making it seem that you need them more than they need you. Employees are disposable, so why this article? To have a valuable skill set is important, but to have the capability to get your foot in the door and prove your worth is another thing entirely.

  • James Sullivan

    I believe that looking at you’re employees as your allies is a fantastic idea, however, can they know everything you know if one of us has a different position because that could cause chaos in the work environment. To an extent, yes, we should be looking at our employees as allies rather than competitors even though we all want to eventually move up in the workforce which is very competitive.

  • Kendra Larson

    Thank you for sharing this article. I feel that a lot of managers need to take the time and read this article, because there are so many managers out there that do not take the time to appreciate their employees. I really liked the quote, “Treat your employees like allies, define their missions clearly, and give them the chance to transform their careers”. I think it brings fourth an important factor to running a business. If you want people to be successful at the job, then you need to make sure that you explain “their mission” clearly. For example, I have worked in a few different places and I have delt with a lot of bad managers. Most of them would tell you to do something, but they did not clearly communicate what they needed to be done, and how it needed to be done. It is extreamely frusturating because when you do not do it the right way, they yell at you. And it was because of them that you did it wrong in the first place… because they did not clearly communicate how to do it. In other words, I think if management took the time and thought about these words of wisdom: “treat your employees like allies, define their missions clearly, and give them the chance to transform their careers”, then I think we would have a lot more happy employees.

  • DuchAM21

    I completely agree with this idea. When companies take advantage of their employees, it ends up hurting the company in the long run, as the companies end up losing their employees. Managers should always be in touch with lower management and applaude them on hard work, and suggest improvements when necessary.

  • nbaker3

    Appreciating employees cannot occur without some empathetic experiences. Thus, if employers want to get good employees communication and charisma are a must.

  • Chelsea Haffele

    Your employees will also appreciate you and your company much more. Maybe consider giving them rewards for good/hard work. It can be something little but even little things can make your employees feel very appreciated.

  • catec18

    I think article is great at laying out three things that employees can do to recruit top talent. But coming from the other side of things (looking for jobs) it also lays out 3 important things to look for when job searching. Now that I am actively searching for jobs it is easy to just look at what company seems great. It’s hard to decide which company would actually be a great fit. Looking at their goals and where they are headed is a great way to see if you will fit in with the company and their culture. Also asking what personal development is available is great so that you know you are able to get a job should something go wrong with the company. I think something that could be added is the fact that working at a start up is a great stepping stone to working for a larger company. That is certainly something to tell others about.

  • alexlavine

    The point you make about talking about your employees as allies and not assets really got my attention. If they are on your team treat them like your all on the same team as opposed to them being on your team. Make them feel valued and value who they are what they do for your company. I like point of being personal and direct. Nice article!

  • Jessica Peardon

    Employees are very disposable. They know they can leave at anytime and find another job. That’s why it is so important to value your employees and treat them like you would treat your family.

  • Thomas Miller

    I have a friend who will be starting a small company of his own this summer, and he will be needing to do some recruiting of his own. I’m going to show him this article, thank you.

  • Thomas Miller

    Yeah, I think that sometimes companies forget that employees are people. While they may be there to do work for you, they are still people that want to feel like their presence has value.

  • Thomas Miller

    To add to that, if employers want their employees to continue to perform well and stay at their job, communication and appreciation are a must.

  • Glassborow

    I completely agree with you, it makes me feel more powerful knowing that the need for one another is more mutual than unbalanced. Why would you work for anyone who makes your job not enjoyable. If I was an employer I would definitely take care of my employees and treat them with respect.

  • TykwinskB25

    Exactly there needs to be a relationship between the CEO all the way down to the janitor. This will give the feeling of, it is a nice place to work, and people will work hard for people who are nice and caring, but can still hold their position if the situation asks for it.

  • TykwinskB25

    Yes exactly the teamwork idea is great but if you don’t have the employer and employee working on the same page then things will get ugly and unhappy.

  • Nathan Tessar

    Overall this article is a great one in my mind. To keep your employees, you need to treat them with respect and also show them growth in the company. It shows that you care and want to see your employees grow as a whole. Overall, your employees make you as a manager/owner look good or bad. You just need to put the effort in to make sure they are happy.

  • barema28

    Exactly! Your employees can help make you look good or bad. Choosing the right people and making them happy is hard work but what you need to do if you want your business to succeed.

  • Leah Renee

    great advice! these are all so important. how employees are treated can be so much more important than what they are paid. I know I would choose happiness at a job over a paycheck and more and more so are others

  • Brady

    I agree so much. Pit yourself in the place of the audience. You can learn soany awesome lessons about yourself that way.

  • Maria Alvarez

    A companies most valuable asset is its employees. Knowing the individual and their interest will help you meet their needs. The more the cognitive focused the task they are completing is, the more an individual will value autonomy and need for competence instead of money, which will give small companies who encourage ingenuity within employees will be able to compete with companies who offer hefty paychecks.