Should you be invest in better hiring or in better onboarding?

October 26, 2016

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Photo : Deathtothestockphoto.com

There is a great edition of Hubspot’s The Growth Show which I’ve listed to several times this last month and I wanted share it. It’s with Henry Ward, who is the CEO of eShares and he talks a lot about people, the organization, and how they manage and make decisions.

In particular I’ve been intrigued by Henry’s discussion of recruitment success vs onboarding success. The point he makes is that it’s very hard to predict if someone will be very good as an employee in a particular role. So what they have done at eShares (who make it possible to convert paper shares into electronic ones) is accept that they are average or maybe just slightly better than average at recruitment, and really invest in being exceptional at onboarding and increasing the chances that an employee will be successful once they are in.

This is something very relevant to me at Reward Gateway at the moment as we’ve just started looking more at our whole recruitment and onboarding process, so I’ve been thinking a lot about it. We’ve made a lot of improvements in onboarding and induction in the last year or so but I know there is much more we can do and it seems like a no-brainer place to invest.

It’s a great 36-minute podcast, and Henry goes on to talk about how he manages engineering, using time boxing as a prioritization technique. Let me know what you think.

 

Kipp:
A culture, a business. It isn’t accidental, it’s purposeful. It often starts with understanding your own weaknesses and the weaknesses of the company. That’s exactly where it started for Henry Ward, CEO of eShares. We talk with him today about management, about feedback, about how you actually structure and run a company, and so many other things, his prolific Medium blogging. Lots of fun stuff on tap today.

Let’s dive into our conversation with Henry. I’m Kipp Bodnar, and this is the Growth Show.

Henry, you’re one of probably my most read Medium authors, because you have a ton of depth to your content on Medium. I figured we’d start with some of the stuff you’ve been writing about on Medium, because there’s a bunch of interesting things there. I thought we’d start off a little bit with something I disagree with you about.

Henry:
Great.

Kipp:
One of the things that … Which is great, because I didn’t leave a comment in this post, but now I just get to have a real conversation with you about it, which is even a little bit nicer, which is, you talk about, you’re willing to basically hire somebody who maybe great, but might also totally burn out and fail, and not be a good fit, versus miss out on the opportunity to maybe have a great person.

I don’t know, from my perspective, I always worry in that case that those people who are the burnout people are going to come in and cause a lot of culture erosion. They’re going to alienate people on the team, they’re going to cause folks to lose respect in the hiring manager because they’re like, “Man, this person, this hiring manager thought this person was good? Man, do they even know what they’re doing?” That’s what I worry about in that situation, how do you guys prevent that, or do you just disagree with that?

Henry:
I totally agree, it’s a real risk, and I think it’s really hard for a lot of companies and people to do. I think one of the reasons … I would say we’re not immune to it, this could become a problem for us in the future. So far, it has not been, but certainly we’re cognizant of it. I think the reason it hasn’t been that way is for two reasons for us, or what we’ve done to prevent this having become a problem for us.

One is, we’re very open about our mistakes. This isn’t a just, apply to people. We do a show and tell for the entire company and people will show stuff that they’re working on, stuff that worked, that didn’t work. I’ll talk personally about mistakes that I mad this week, things also that I was successful. It’s not necessarily a focus on mistakes, but I think we’re just a culture of openness around … It’s not about the results, it’s about the journey or the progress, and progress is inherently mistake prone. Not everybody that gets on the soccer field is going to do everything perfect every time they get the ball.

I think when you go into hiring with that model that … It’s a very imperfect science, that in fact, it’s very hard to predict whether people are going to be successful, and that you expect people to not be successful when it happens. It’s not as surprising. It’s not one of these, what’s wrong with my manager that they made this mistake. It’s, hey, we make mistakes, this happens, a part of the process, and I think part of our progress.

I think the second thing too is that we believe very strongly that it is very hard to predict if someone’s going to be good at eShares, and that we are at best slightly better than average of most companies in predicting it. We actually don’t think that the core competency or competitive advantage that we have in the talent battle is picking. We’re not necessarily stock picking or people picking, we’re not great at that. What we are great at is taking people, pulling people into eShares and allowing them to be the best person they can be at our company.

To us, we really focus less on the picking part and really focus on when we do pick somebody, how do we ensure their success and make them super successful. If you look at the statistics of our recidivism rate and how many people we have to let go after hiring them, it’s quite low by most standards. I think it’s not because we’re actually great pickers, but I think it’s because we’re really good at helping people become successful here quickly.

Kipp:
How do you do that? I think everybody listening is like, “That sounds great, I’d love to do that.” What do you put in place to actually make that happen?

Henry:
I do this in my class. I do a class for all new employees. It’s a one day class, it’s called eShares 101. I cover a lot of stuff. We actually open the meeting with me doing my series B pitch. Every employee can see me how I present the company to investors, is an example. We go through a lot of things. One of those things that we talk about is being helpful, and I tell all the employees this, I say, there’s very little, I think eShares is a very open culture, we do a lot of different things, we are fine with mistakes, we encourage employees to try new things, all those things.

There’s very little that you could do and get fired for at eShares, outside of misconduct. There’s very little at eShares that would get you fired, except for one thing, and that’s not being helpful. We’re a helpful company. It is our core fundamental principle. If anybody asks you for help, be helpful. If you’re not, we’ll let you go.

Just that tenant creates this culture where when somebody comes in, everybody, we encourage them to ask for help, and they’re rewarded for it because everybody is super helpful in helping them. The biggest risk that new employees have at any company is that they don’t get enough help until they get to cruising speed, and be successful. The most common time somebody gets fired at a job is within the first six months.

The more you can do to rally around that person and help them be successful, your retention rate goes up considerably through that. I think we’ve just really adopted this, and it’s very reinforcing. The first employees before we got into this helpfulness thing were like, especially engineering, just give them the code and they’ll sink or swim, and they’ll figure it out.

We had to really focus hard on no, that’s not how we operate here. This is not a see if they make the cut company. We can actually influence the success rate of people where, where I think most companies, they don’t feel that way. It’s like, if you pick the right person, they would be successful. We actually say, we don’t know if we’ve picked the right person, but we can play a big role in making people here successful.

Once you start that process, it becomes very reinforcing because the employees that are new that got a lot of help and really appreciated how people rallied around them to help them be successful, when they’re now a tenured employee at eShares, having been here a year or more, and the new employees come in, they remember that and they do the same thing to the new employees. It becomes a very self reinforcing model.

Kipp:
Yeah. I want to dive into that a little bit. I’m very fortunate that the marketing team here at HubSpot that I work with, very helpful group of folks, incredibly helpful, incredibly welcoming. One of the, I think, the risks we see associated with that is it makes focus a little harder, because it’s easy to get distracted, it’s easy to get pulled away from this thing that is very important, that you need to work on because you need to help somebody else. How do you balance those things? That’s something that keeps me up here. How do you reconcile that?

Henry:
One of the things that a lot of employees, I do a one on one with every new employee that starts at eShares after about 30 days or do, 30 to 45 days, and I basically ask them, how’s it going, are you getting the help you need, all of those things. One of the questions I always ask them is, “What surprised you about eShares? What did you learn about being here that you didn’t expect?”

Kipp:
I do the same thing.

Henry:
One of the common … Yeah, it’s a great … I learn so much from it. It’s such a wonderful question. One of the common observations that I get, or answers, is, I thought you were a very execution focused company, but boy, you guys have a lot of meetings. We do. They’re not wrong. We have a lot of meetings. I thought about that after I started hearing it, and I said, it’s true, I wonder why that is. I very quickly know why that is, and I came back and I talked about this to the employees, and I said, “It’s actually by design.”

The reason is, that the biggest risk, most companies think about efficiency and making sure employee works their full eight hours and gets stuff done on time and all of those things. To us, the biggest risk is not that our employees don’t do their work. The biggest risk for us is that employees do the wrong work.

Kipp:
Exactly. I was about to jump in there, because it’s like, all of this comes down to prioritization and what people are working on.

Henry:
For sure. I would much rather spend … I’m being somewhat hyperbolic, but to illustrate the point, I’d rather spend six hours in meetings making sure as a company, we’re doing the right thing and then actually execute for the remaining two hours of the day, then spend seven hours of productive “execution,” but they’re all doing the wrong stuff.

When I look at this question about helpfulness versus I got stuff to do, it’s a really easy one for me. Help people. I happily will trade that off. Be helpful to people. The long term success of our organization is based on individuals being successful, not the short term let’s accomplish this task. The biggest problem for employees is, “You say that Henry, but then when I don’t get it done by Friday, you’re going to come yell at me.”

The way that I’m able to say that and not be hypocritical is, we’re an unusual company. We never have due dates. It’s actually outlawed. We don’t have this idea of, you have to get this done by Friday. We are a time boxing company. We say we’re going to work on this for a week, and it is what it is. If it’s not good enough at the end of the week, that’s okay, we’ll just say we’re going to spend two more days on it. As long as I am true to that course, people feel very empowered to say, “Look, I was time boxing a week on this, but this new time boxing problem of helping has come up, and I’m going to change my time boxing priorities.”

Kipp:
Time box is a very, kind of, I think, started in the engineering side of the world, I think is where I’ve become familiar with it. What’s interesting is, you make a very interesting point in that, what teams an organization needs is some type of forcing function around work and deadline isn’t the only forcing function. I think there’re people out there being like, “Man, a time box? How do I know how to even estimate what I should spend on this time? What’s the right way to even just figure out what that should be?” Do you just get better at it over time, or how’s it actually work in practice?

Henry:
What I tell all the employees here is, don’t confuse time boxing with estimating.

Kipp:
That’s a good line.

Henry:
When you say I’m going to work … Yeah, when I’m going to work on those for two hours, it’s not that you think it’s going to take two hours to finish, it’s like, out of my eight hour day, I have six things to do and this one scores a two hours of my time to work on it priority. Time boxing’s not an estimate, it’s a priority mechanism. I use myself as an example, I’m never done with sales. I don’t have this task, make sales.

I have in my calendar, depending on where I think sales fits in the priority list of stuff that I need to do, I’ll say, I am going to block off four hours a week to work on sales. Whatever that makes. Maybe it’s working with the sales team, maybe it’s calling customers and getting referrals. Tactical or strategic, but I spend four hours a week working on this, and then when I think sales needs more, I’ll spend eight hours, and if I think, “Oh, sales is now in the lower priority list, I’ll move it down to two.”

Once you start thinking of it that way, it becomes much easier to just go, “Look, I just think this is a two hour priority.”

Kipp:
What’s interesting about that is that you often don’t connect deadlines and prioritization as tightly as you just explained, time boxing and prioritization, which is really cool. It’s very interesting. I don’t think a lot of organizations think or operate that way. Do you then look at the different teams and how they’re spending time and make sure that that time is aligned with the priorities, or how do you check in on that stuff?

Henry:
For example, in engineering, we have a one week spread cycle, and basically the time boxing, and our teams are very small, so we deliberately break up product teams into very small groups, and their time boxes are a week, and the question is, how much can you get done in a week? That’s what gets released. You can learn a lot about what a team thinks is important, and how well they execute, by seeing what they put into that one week box, and what comes out of it. I do the inverse. Instead of saying, “Show me the amount of time allocated to each of these priorities,” I go, “Here’s one week, what do you allocate into that one week box,” and then I start looking at what they allocate and what they complete.

It is somewhat after action. That’s the trade off as a manager, and why a lot of executives don’t like this, is I learn after the fact. I’m not going in ahead of time and going, “Here’s your priorities, go do this.” I learn a month later or a week later, two weeks later, three weeks later, this is the trend of what they think is important, because this is what they’re doing within their … They only have one week to do it. If I want to make changes, I have to be on top of it and make them very quickly.

Kipp:
Yeah. It seems like really, if you’re out there and we have a lot of startups and entrepreneurs out there, if you’re listening and you’re thinking about doing time boxing, you really have to have a good operating model for prioritization and the focus of the company, so that you’re okay with getting that information on a more lagging basis than you are now. Is that how you would think about it?

Henry:
Totally.

Kipp:
Okay.

Henry:
Yeah, absolutely. I think a lot of people that executives are the tip of the spear of the organization. For us, it’s actually the inverse. It’s the employees on the front lines of building stuff, working with customers, selling to customers, that are the [efficient frontier 00:16:00] of the company, and I’m in the back trying to digest all the signals they’re sending.

Kipp:
Totally. We often say here, it’s like, man, if the success of this business was dedicated to the ideas of this handful of us on the management team, we’d be in real big trouble, because we sure don’t have all the answers.

Henry:
Totally.

Kipp:
You have to depend on the people who have all the data points and the experience and the inputs to actually figure that out.

One thing we’ve talked about here on the show a lot is the idea of feedback and feedback to employees and feedback to teams. I think we’re unfortunately have to keep talking about it because so many people are bad at it. You’ve got a Medium post called A Manager’s FAQ. One of the things you dive into that is feedback, and give a very specific point of view.

I’d like you to share that with everybody listening and then we’ll talk a little bit about it from there.

Henry:
Sure. In the manager’s FAQ, I talk about two things. One is, I’m not a fan of employee ranking or grading systems. I think it’s a vestige of school and it’s an easy way for teachers to group students and decide who goes to college, all that kind of stuff. It’s great for the institution. It works well-

Kipp:
It’s great for ranking teachers, right?

Henry:
Yeah, totally. It’s a very institution construct. The world has convinced people that they should want that. I actually don’t think it’s good for the individual. That’s point one. Point two is, I think there is this view that feedback is designed … Good feedback corrects behavior, as opposed to reinforced behavior. It’s just such a weird thing about … Nobody ever, when I was in school, no teacher ever came to me and was like, “Hey man,” if I got a C or B or C, nobody was like, “Hey, you nailed 80% of those questions. High five.” They’re like, “Hey, you got 20% wrong.”

There’s just very much this feedback, it’s anonymous with correcting behavior. I think the ROI on correcting behavior is much lower than people think it is. I think the ROI in reinforcing positive behavior is quite high. I think most people don’t realize that.

Kipp:
Then, how do you actually reinforce positive behavior better? If you’ve got most managers out there focusing on the negative, I’m with you, I don’t care if you’re bad at this thing if this thing isn’t that important or isn’t material or you’re really good at this other thing that can make a big, big impact. How do you actually do it?

Henry:
Just to give you a really recent  example, we did a company offsite over the weekend, and we have an office manager and she’s fantastic. She ran the whole thing. It was almost perfectly executed. I said to her after the offsite, I said, “First of all, thank you for organizing, but two, the precision and execution that you had in organizing everything from Friday, Saturday, Sunday that everybody knew exactly what to do and when to do it, was exceptional. You clearly put a tremendous amount of effort in thinking about how to organize this and communicate the agenda to everybody. It was awesome. Thanks for doing that.”

I’m quite confident every offsite she ever plans for the rest of her career, she will plan out every piece of the agenda and schedule in detail beforehand. I’ve locked that behavior in.

Kipp:
Yeah, and because you were very specific in that feedback. I think when we talk about feedback on this show, specificity both negative and positive is critical. That soundbite you share, I think for everybody listening is a really important one. You gave very specific, what you liked about it and what she did exceptionally well, and it wasn’t just, “Oh, the event went great,” or, “Thank you for everything.” It was very, very specific.

Henry:
Totally.

Kipp:
In reinforcing those things.

Henry:
The part that isn’t set is, there were a couple of organizational things that were still totally minor. Minor mistake kind of thing. If I focused on those mistakes, first of all she feels bad because 99% of what she did was awesome. Focus on the 1%. The thing is, is it is very likely that she will make that mistake again. I know a lot of listeners may go, “No, because you told her not to,” but the reality of human nature is very likely she will make that mistake again.

But, if you tell her how great it was that she did these things, if she does those again more consciously, I am quite confident that that 1% will go to zero.

Kipp:
Yeah, because she feels more confident in those things.

Henry:
Because you’ve given her the recipe … Totally, you’ve given her the instruction book on how to get 99% to 100%.

Kipp:
I think about it a lot, of the things any human are really great at, the thing that they can apply to muscle memory, and once you’ve applied something to muscle memory, then you don’t have to focus on it as much. You can go do something new and work on something new. I think that’s what you’re giving her in this example, is, “You nailed this,” and she’ll feel confidence to go and expand it the next time she does something, and address some of the stuff maybe she personally wasn’t happy with.

Henry:
You said it better than I did. That’s exactly right.

Kipp:
Okay. That’s a little bit about feedback. You also talk about delegation in that same post, which I thought was interesting. One part of management that actually doesn’t get talked about that much anymore, I think used to get talked about lot but now it gets ignored. You and I have a similar kind of viewpoint, so I don’t know that we’re going to argue too much here, but it’s like, basically I think we agree that if you are a leader, you should keep all the bad and shitty work for yourself and try to delegate as much good work as possible. I think this is especially true in development team, good engineers and tech leads and so forth, do this kind of stuff.

In practice, it’s actually hard. How do you keep yourself in check for making sure that you’re delegating the good work out to folks?

Henry:
It’s really hard. I often will ask in management teams, when we’ve got a bunch of stuff, of things to do, so we’re just triaging a bunch of things that we need to get done, I will almost always ask, “Okay, here’s task one, who wants to do this one? Who wants to do that one? Who wants to do the third one?” We’ll just go through it that way, and then what’s left is I’ll take it.

Kipp:
That’s good. Basically, you let them choose what the good stuff is instead of making that judgment yourself.

Henry:
As much as I can.

Kipp:
Yeah, it’s hard.

Henry:
Sometimes, I will just say, yeah, “Look, I need you to do this.” I’ll tell them, I’ll be up front, especially with our lawyer, there’s a lot of miserable work to do there. “Look, I don’t want to do this, I know you don’t want to do it, I’m going to play the CEO card. I need you to do this one. Sorry.” I try to do that. At least when I do do it, I try to be as conscious about it as I can and upfront.

Kipp:
I also imagine that a lot of the time, if not all the time when you do that, you’re doing that because you have some other piece of crap work that you have to do that you’re probably better suited to do than the lawyer in this example. Sometimes, you can provide that context too, and that’s like, “Oh, all right, I don’t feel bad doing this thing that I’m not psyched about doing because I know he’s over there doing something very similar.”

Henry:
Totally. Once you start establishing … It’s one of these things that if you establish a reputation for being that kind of manager, there’s a lot of crappy work, a lot of shit work to do, but they trust you, “Hey, this is the manager that tries to not …” Is that type of manager, even when you do delegate the shitty work, just because you have to, people give you credit. They assume that there’s a reason for it.

Kipp:
Yeah. I have found that to be true as well.

I want to shift gears a little bit and talk about company structure. You’ve got the company set up in what I think is a pretty interesting way. Could you explain how the company’s run, how it’s organized? I’ve got some things I want to talk about around there.

Henry:
We operate in these partnerships of three. Then each of the business unit trifectas roll into the executive trifecta, which is me, Josh and the engineering head. It’s modeled after Dave McClure’s hacker hustler designer model, which is, you just really need three people with three skillsets to start a company. The business person, the product person, the engineering person. We actually don’t call it hacker hustler designer, we call it the business lead, the business trifecta head, the product trifecta head and the engineering trifecta head. Those three individuals make up a trifecta, and they’re jointly responsible for their business unit’s P&L and the growth of their business unit, and then those three report into me as the business lead, Josh as the product lead for the whole company, and then we’re currently looking for a head of engineering at the executive level.

The three of us are a partnership at the top. There is no one person at the top.

Kipp:
What happens when, because you don’t have one core decision maker, what happens when those three people of one of those businesses disagree with each other? How does that get worked out?

Henry:
Yeah. If they disagree at the trifecta level, it can get escalated to us. If there’s a disagreement between me, Josh and the head of engineering at the executive level, presumably we can take that to the board. It’s never been an issue at that level for us. So far, at least, we’ve been able to … We’re pretty well aligned. It’s one of these forcing functions that when we aren’t aligned and there is really a strong disagreement amongst the three of us, that’s usually a sign of something bad’s happening. We really got to take a break or stop, and look at what’s going on that we strongly disagree about something.

Kipp:
This is an interesting model. I guess one of the questions I have, around any model, you have things you give up. Because you’re structured this way, there is some weaknesses to this organization structure. What do you think are the weaknesses you guys are working against in being set up this way? What’s hard about it?

Henry:
Yeah. I think what’s hard … That’s a great way to phrase it. I think what’s hard and what we wrestle with on this is, not so much the decision making, but the coordination between the business units. Me and Josh at the executive trifecta level, we lose a lot of control. It’s by design. We are giving more autonomy to the business unit. That makes it much harder for us to say, “Hey, we just want to go do X and just tell the VP of product, the VP of business sales, the VP of operations, here, go do this.” We have to convince these trifecta leads, it’s in their interests to do this.

That’s part one. Part two is the coordination between the teams, again, becomes much less command and control and much more bottoms up based. One of the things that we often wrestle with is, one business unit is going west, this other business unit is going east, and each of them are both acting rationally for their business unit, but it actually doesn’t work well across the whole organization.

Bringing those guys together and trying to get something to work together in a way that we think’s better for the whole, that’s been a challenge.

Kipp:
You’re essentially trying to run a [repetual 28:24] startup, basically, in a lot of ways, which is awesome.

Henry:
Yep.

Kipp:
Okay. A couple quick questions before we go. One is, to come up with those realizations, to come up with this is how the company should be structured because these are our shortcoming as leaders, how’d you do that? How’d you come to grips with those, how’d you become aware of those? Doesn’t seem like an easy thing to do.

Henry:
This sounds like a humble brag, and I really don’t mean it this way.

Kipp:
This is going to be great.

Henry:
I think I was just lucky because I was always very aware of my weaknesses. I guess it’s just been something that I’ve always been aware of my entire life. I’m sure there’s a psychological element to how I was raised or something, maybe it has also to do with my aversion to correcting people as a way to give them feedback. I’ve always just been super cognizant of what I’m not good at, and to me, my life’s journey has been trying to figure out what I am good at. I think Josh and a lot of the leaders or the organization are quite similar, they’re very open about what they’re good at, what they’re not good at, they enjoy doing what they’re good at, all of those things.

I think it’s just a culture that’s spread very early on. We make a lot of jokes about stuff that we’re not good at. I can tell you, one of the things that we’re not good at right now is keeping our server performance, our application is slower than it should be.

Kipp:
Oh, that’s always a tricky one early on.

Henry:
Yeah. We make a lot of jokes about how bad we are at building fast websites. It’s funny, but it’s also true, which is what makes it funny. I think we’re just really open about that. When you can talk about those things and enjoy the weaknesses, but also enjoy that we get better at it because we’re aware of the weaknesses, I think it’s a very self perpetuating culture.

Kipp:
Interesting. Makes total sense. Two last questions here about writing. You’re CEO, you’re running a hundred person company, you write a lot. You publish a lot of what you’re thinking bout, what you’re doing at the company, some of that’s obviously to help recruit and do some different things there to promote the company. Why do you do it? Why is writing about all this stuff valuable to you?

Henry:
It really started for me, it was really about writing for my employees. A lot of the stuff that I write about was stuff that I talked to employees about, I shared with employees, I also shared with prospects that were thinking about becoming employees. What I realized, especially as we were growing so quickly, the biggest risk that we had was, I would say something when we were 40 people and everybody up to 40 was like, “Yeah, totally, I’m on board with that.” Now we’re 80, and I haven’t said that to them.

The biggest risk that we had was that our culture and how we do things and why we do things that way would start to blur. The most important that I could do was to write those things down so that not only everybody at eShares would know what we do and why we do it, but also people that were coming into eShares would know what we do and why we do it. Also, in part, it would actually, it’s partly a recruiting tool, but it’s also a, those who wouldn’t like working at a company like that don’t even apply, because they already know, “I’m not on board with it,” kind of stuff.

It’s a very reinforcing function to preserve and to grow the culture where employees all read everything I write and go, “Okay, I understand now why he’s doing it,” but also we allow people to self select to come into the company that would also reinforce the stuff that we’ve written. The only reason … We publish it for candidates, but it also just seemed to be something that when I talk to CEOs at breakfasts and things like that, I’m not wrestling with anything new. This is stuff every entrepreneur deals with. Might as well put it out there and hopefully it helps others.

Kipp:
Yeah, absolutely. Generates some good conversation for you on and offline, I imagine, as well. What’s interesting to me about this, as to close, that if you read anything you’ve written, it’s very clear and strong point of views in what you’re talking about, what you’re presenting to your employees and to the rest of the world. You seem very decisive. I don’t know if that’s true or not, and that’s who you are, but it seems like you’re very decisive. How did you get to being so decisive? How do you think about making decisions and thinking through stuff like this?

Henry:
Yeah. I think the big thing for me, and I hope and feel like we’ve adopted this as a culture is that we feel very comfortable as an organization and as people or as a person with who we are. We’re totally okay that a lot of people won’t like that or disagree with that. I’ll give you the classic example. In my eShares 101, there was a lot of ideas in there, and the only thing that really generated any controversy was the 8:30 AM start time, because we require employees to start at 8:30 for their morning meetings.

I use this analogy with sports. The New England Patriots wouldn’t tell everyone show up for practice whenever you want. They show up and they practice together. I got all this negative commentary about that rule and how we’re missing out on the best talent because of that, and it’s discriminatory towards people with families, which I always thought weird because only in Silicon Valley can that be discriminatory. Forget all the school teachers and nurses and construction workers that have to show up at work.

We were really okay with that, and we were also okay knowing that there’re a lot of people that wouldn’t come to eShares because of it. What was really surprising for us was how many people did come because of it and actually like it. If you ask employees here, they don’t go, “Oh man, I love eShares but this 8:30 AM thing, I just tolerate it.” The employees that come and stay here are like, “The 8:30 AM thing is one of the best things about working here.”

Kipp:
That’s fascinating.

Henry:
We get very, we are comfortable with who we are, which allows us to just be who we are, and it attracts more people that like who we are, and then it also repels the people that don’t, which reinforces our comfort, being comfortable with who we are.

Kipp:
Another good lesson in culture and defining who you are, and sometimes defining who you are is also excluding those folks who you’re not. I love that you stuck to it and didn’t succumb to any of that feedback. That’s awesome.

Henry, I really appreciate you taking time out of what I know is a crazy schedule as a CEO to come and chat all things entrepreneurship and business building with us today. Thanks. I’ll let you get back to actually running a company, but it was awesome to talk with you today.

Henry:
I had a lot of fun. Thank you very much.

Kipp:
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Glenn's first book, the international HR bestseller, Build it : A Rebel Playbook for Employee Engagement is available on Kindle, iBooks and from any major bookseller worldwide.

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© 2018 Glenn Elliott.

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