A while back the Super Bowl finale was on – Patriots vs. Falcons.
Patriots came from behind and won the final match 34-28.
Personally, I didn’t stay up to watch Super Bowl because it was in the middle of the night for me. But, when I woke up the next morning, I learned that the whole game had been turned inside out based on one person’s performance. That person is Tom Brady.
As little as I could’ve learned about Tom Brady, there was one information that stood out wherever you would read about him: he is an A-Player.
This got me thinking about my business and my team members.
For quite some time in our business, we have struggled with the idea of hiring and affording an A Player, not realizing the benefits that it could deliver.
We have struggled between paying a C Player $10 an hour or an A Player $25 an hour.
At first glance, $10 an hour seems much less than $25 per hour. Even more so considering we are paying for some of our development projects that may or may not succeed.
Think about the actual cost of the project
What I am about to share are numbers are based on a real development project we undertook.
We spent over $10,000, and it took us eight months to complete the project with one developer.
He took a lot of breaks. Sometimes he wasn’t available. Often he would miss the sprint deadlines – even if by a few tasks. Simply put – he was a C Player.
He wasn’t exactly what we should have used to create an excellent software in the first place.
On the other hand, a year later, we picked an A Player to do a similar project.
Without showing any of the work that had been done before, this A Player:
- delivered a much better software product,
- produced it much faster – within four months, meaning within half the time of what it took C-player to finish his project,
- was only $5,000 more expensive.
Even if he were $10-20,000 more expensive, it would have been better for us.
A-Players Reduce Opportunity Cost
With any business, there’s an original opportunity cost associated with not being able to get to the market fast enough. Because with the first developer, we were holding onto the software for so long – it took us eight months to get the product completed.
With the A Player, it took us four months to finish a project.
This means we didn’t release the software for those additional four months that the C-player needed to finish the project.
And there’s a significant opportunity cost associated with it.
When we did release the software, we made $10,000 per month with it. This meant that we lost $40,000 by not releasing it four months earlier. Hence, there is a big opportunity cost when you’re working with C level players.
If you go with an A level player, to begin with, you know that they’ll deliver results and on time. They’ll perform the work early, and you’ll be able to start selling the product or service immediately.
If you want to play the long game, you can’t be pinching pennies
Now, I know that a lot of people struggle with the idea of paying someone twice or more than what they’re comfortable paying.
However, it’s important to note one thing. If this discomfort keeps you from hiring top-notch employees, you’ll end up spending all of your time managing these people and doing quality checks on their work.
You will be held responsible for the work that your team does.
You need to turn that around. You need to make sure that your team works for you and not the other way around.
Five steps that you can use to hire and keep A Players – in an affordable way
Step #1 – Hiring on budget and training them as you want
When you go out there and find someone who you think has a lot of potentials, instead of just refuting them, because they’re priced low, you can hire them and slowly train them up. Work with them to improve their quality.
Case in point – our designer. He started working when he was asking for only $3 an hour. His designs were okay, but they weren’t that exciting.
Over the course of the next three months, I worked with him every single week to make sure that he was improving his work.
Fortunately, he was the kind of person who would pay attention and improve his quality as he went along.
After two years his quality of work is much better even though he’s getting paid only 50% more than what we hired him at. It is better than what I have seen from someone whom you can find for $20 an hour.
Step #2 – Exhaustive testing and interview process
Our motto is that hiring too fast is never a good idea.
What we quite often do is we find a lot of applicants. I mean between 10 to 50 of them.
We take those applicants, and we run them through a lot of hoops and testing.
We don’t get them to do test tasks, but that’s a good way to go about it, as well.
Typically, we just give them some IQ tests or similar, just to see if they’re committed to filling in this position.
What happens, in that case, is that after interviewing or testing 20 or more candidates, we usually are left with two or three which are excellent.
Then we let them compete one last time. We give the candidates a probationary job within our company for two to four weeks, and we keep the best one at the end of it.
Step #3 – Building your systems to facilitate the entire process
The worst thing you can do with a new person is hiring them and not making them aware as to exactly what you want and how you want it.
What you should do is build out your systems so that you can hand them over to someone on your team and they can carry out the process by themselves. Not only will you get the best value for the money that you spend on this employee, but at the end, your new hire will be ready to go.
So, get on constructing your business right away.
If there’s something that you do, again and again, write it down. If you want to give a set of instructions to someone, write it down.
If you’re the kind of person like me, who likes to do a phone call instead, do a phone call. Then, get the recording transcribed and pass the transcripted recording back to them, as well.
Step #4 – Holding your employees responsible (in a good way).
It’s important that you’re not just delegating the work.
The mistake a lot of people make is they go out there and hire a virtual assistant and then still don’t trust this VA to do all the work on their behalf.
Every single day these people come back from their day job and sit behind their computer, making sure that everybody had done a good job that day (micromanaging everything).
You don’t need to do that.
What you can do is simply trust your employees that they are going to do a good job.
Again, you probably won’t be able to do that with C Players, and that’s a, sure enough, sign that you got C Players in your team.
If you have A-Players, you can let them be responsible for the work that they’re supposed to do. They will do a great job with their tasks.
Step #5 – Rewarding your A Players
A Players (especially the remote ones!) stick around longer because they wish to be rewarded.
Whatever you do, tell your A Players that they’re doing a good job and that you value what they’re doing within the company.
This, however, shouldn’t mean that you should take them out of their scope of work and get the message across that they need a salary increase. It’s important to communicate the impact of their work on your business – that they are helping build something big for the future.
Remember, a lot of A Players mostly work so that they can do something exciting, something they want to do.
C Players usually just work so that they can work 40 hours a week and make X amount of dollars. Then, they finish work and buy whatever it is they want to buy.
A Players care about what they do.
This is why you should reward your A Players when you have them on your team. Not just with money, but also with some morale and ego boost, letting them know that they’re doing a good job.
The best thing about A-Players?
Having an A Player will dramatically increase your profits.
It will also give you time and motivation to do other things. The most important of them – grow your business.
I hope this has been helpful. If you do embark on our five-step plan to acquiring an A-Player on your team, make sure to keep us updated about your results!
Remember – you can always use JobRack to find A-players – over 300 companies have already done so!
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