People are a company’s most expensive asset. It costs a lot to recruit, train, manage, communicate with, and retain employees. I’m a fan of quality over quantity with everything I do, but I find that with people it’s especially important.
Scaling a company the right way is challenging. I have scaled five businesses from zero, including my current company, the Rubicon Project, which has grown to more than 200 employees in seven offices and five countries around the world in less than five years. One rule that has served me well is to focus on hiring the absolutely best people I can find, rather than many average ones.
It sounds simple, but it does come at a cost. Great people are generally more costly. If you pick wrong, it could hurt severely. If you pick right, it’s an investment that I assure you will save you money in the long run.
1. Great people attract great people
Overall, your talent people will increase exponentially, while your recruiting costs will decrease.
2. They’ll increase your team productivity
Add fresh, new A+ talent to the team, and you’ll get everyone to step up their game, and increase productivity across the board.
3. They’ll magnify your horsepower
I’ve witnessed time and time again that one ultra-talented individual can produce the work of a team of 10.
4. Don’t overlook communication overhead
Every new hire dilutes the signal of your core communication. It simply costs a lot more to communicate with and manage a larger group of people: more meetings, more meetings, and more meetings about meetings; management, middle management, senior management, and so on. Time equals money. You get the picture? Hire fewer, sharper people.
5. Hard incremental costs
There are direct costs—per employee—for health care, benefits, taxes, phones, computers, networks, software licenses, subscriptions, chairs, desks, office space, recruiting, interviewing, training, payroll processing. The list goes on and on.
So go out on a limb and take the risk. Hire the best person you can find. Hire the person you think you can’t afford. If you’re growing your business, everything is an investment and every investment has risk. Take the biggest risks with your most valuable assets—your people. When you get it right, they’ll yield the greatest rewards.
Frank Addante is founder and CEO of the Rubicon Project, the world’s leading real-time trading platform for online ads. A five-time entrepreneur, he sold two companies and took a third public. He is author of FounderBlog.com.