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Human Resources

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 9 months ago

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Table of Contents:



Related pages from KookyPlan:



Human Resources 


1. How to attract and retain the best talent?

2. How to organize your firm to get the most production out of the limited HR resources available?  Should you have a "command and control" heirarchy?  or, flat equal structure?  Which methods you choose will likely depend upon the industry which you are in, as well as your personal and cultural preferences. 



Why HR is important?


Many companies spend most of their money on HR




Human Resources for startups


One of the most difficult things to do when starting a business is attracting talent to join your team (when you still dont have the money to pay them). One thing you can do is issuing shares or giving up an equity stake in your idea in order to attract talent.   See further discussion below on stock options and other techniques...


Stealing talent from Competitors



Finding Talent

Startup Job Site Gets Backing From Y Combinator, Relauches As Startuply:  New Y Combinator startup Startuply launches today. It’s a free job listing service aimed squarely at small startups, which have a lot of trouble getting the attention of new engineering graduates over the noise of the brand recognition and recruiting efforts of larger companies like Google and Microsoft.



Non-compete clauses:  


How can you hire employees that already work for a cometitor, but signed a non compete clause? 

interesting discussion here: The Noncompete Ruling Won’t Change Anything, Anywhere







Growth Issues & HR


How will google keep its edge in Innovation as it grows?  How important is Human Resources to the strategy of the firm?


Google facing employee overload — Google may be overstocking itself with new employees. Jordan Rohan, an RBC Capital Markets analyst, told News.com, “Half the company has been hired in the last 12 months. That’s chaotic. The new employees find it difficult to figure out how to get things done.” Facing an employee glut, Google may not have the corporate expertise to structure the next for their new worker bees.

Simultaneously, Google is undergoing a talent drain, with some of its best and brightest striking out on their own. (The most recent: Salman Ullah.) Even John Doerr, an original Google investor and board member, is worried that the company’s culture may not survive the changes. Larger, more lumbering and less talented by the day: Is Google finally ready to become a regular corporation?



Motivating Employees with $


Getting the interests of employees and owners aligned is key to getting the most out of your organization.  The key here is to get your employees to have a vested interest in the success of the company.  This can be achieved if they have their interest aligned with the companies. 


Stock options:

One way to achieve this is to use stock options, whereby the employees are going to get richer if the stock price of the company goes up.  That way, they benefit if the company benefits.  Studies, however, have shown that stock options are not necessarily the best way to motivate employees, and to ensure employee satisfaction.  Be thoughtful and careful about how you use stock options as a motivation technique. 


Other "soft techniques" such as recognition, work sharing, and flexible hours are sometimes better for motivation and keeping employees happy.  But to get to executives to have the shareholders interests in mind in decision making, it is clear that pay grades that are some-how tied to stock performance do have a positive correlation.


Other $$ ways to motivate employees:





Family Business issues:


In a family business, this is especially essential to achieve because of the dual nature of the home / work environment.  Also, because promotions are often based on family hierarchy, you may find less-than-qualified family members with roles of responsibility.  Making sure their interests long term are in fact tied to the best interests of the company are especially challenging (which might involve a situation where the father doesnt hire his son to run the company after he is gone).  see our discussion on Family business for more....





Employment Issues


Acronyms of Employment Laws

1. ADA - Americans with Disabilities Acts – If someone has disability then you must make reasonable accommodations for them to be hired or continue working for your company. Lots of litigation from this act. Alcoholism is a disability. Applicable when company size greater than 50.

2. ADEA - Age Discrimination in Employment Act – Can not discriminate against older workers.

3. ERISA/COBRA – Employee Retirement Income and Securities Act. Has to do with 401(k) and retirement benefits

4. FLSA - Fair Labor Standards Act – Contains minimum wages legislation. Overtime for bottom-of-the-chain workers after 40 hours/week.

5. FMLA – Family Medical and Leave Act. Applicable when company size greater than 50.

6. Title VII - Cannot discriminate based on race. Applicable when company size greater than 15.

7. Workers’ Compensation. Applicable when company size greater than 3 (in North Carolina).


Employer Mistakes


1. Use of Consultants (be sure use is considered by IRS as consulting based on 20 point test)

2. Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees (overtime payment for non-exempt, lower level employees)

3. Sexual Harassment

4. Performance Assessment and Management


Independent Contractors


1. IRS Cares Due to Tax Issues (not withholding anything, IRS wants to make sure they get the proper payments)

2. Company Cares Due to Benefit Issues

3. 20 Point Test published by IRS to determine if they are independent contractor

4. What Is A True Independent Contractor?


Exempt vs. Non Exempt


1. Culture of Start Ups


3. Management vs. Admin v. Professional

4. Discretion and Independent Authority

5. Avoid with Job Classification Audits

6. Damages



Sexual Harassment


1. Again, start up culture is an issue (less bureaucratic)

2. What are employer obligations?

3. How do you emphasize as a priority?

4. Consequences


Performance Mgt.



1. Hiring Phase – Checking references hard since it is not good for persons to say anything for liability reason (Is s/he eligible for re-hiring).

2. Early in Employment-Trial or 90-day Probation Period?

3. Pulling the Trigger… Do what you have to. Things do not often turn around.

4. Managing Terminations (Should never be a surprise. Meet with person up front, identify deficiencies, get signed document, have review period.)

5. Pitfalls - Wrongful Termination, Slander (why people don’t do good job references, people afraid of giving references as people have been sued and accused of saying untrue things about employee). Keep good records. Be honest on all reviews.


Common Problem-Tardy Non-Compete / Assignment of Invention


1. Your Client Company Hires A Biochemist for Drug Discovery

2. Due to Usual First Day Shuffle the Agreements Are Not Signed By the New Employee

3. The Oversight Is Discovered Six Months Later When the Employee Leaves for a Better Offer

4. The Biochemist Has Played A Key Role in the Drug Development Process


Problem: Biochemist can go make same drug for another company.


5. Are Your Non-Compete and Invention Assignment Enforceable?

6. Who Owns the Intellectual Property?

7. Is the Affected Person Easy to Deal With?


Never let person start work without signing documents.


1. Get An Assignment and Non-Compete from the Employee

2. Provide Employee With Additional Consideration

3. Hard and Fast Rule regarding Beginning Work

4. Process Checklist Required Complete Before Work Can Begin

5. Send to Employee Before They Arrive on Premises so they can walk in ready to sign




Common IP/Employment Problem-“The Perfect Hire”


New hire may have encompassing non-disclosure agreement with prior employer in same industry. Check on this.


1. Your Client - Start-Up Company in Photonics Space

2. Client Has Achieved Coup - Hires IBM’s Photonics Guru-He’s Ready to Be More Entrepreneurial

3. The Guru’s Most Recent Work Is On IBM Product Similar to Your Central Idea

4. Therefore, Key Technical Person Has A Leg Up, Allowing Client to Move to the Technical Forefront


Issues Presented-“The Perfect Hire”


1. Great Qualifications with Great Liabilities

2. What Sort of Agreements Does the Guru Have with IBM?

3. Even If There Is a Logical Argument That Your Product/Design Is Different?

4. How Will Former Employer Behave?

5. What If You Complete Your Product Before You Realize You Have IP Issues?


Counseling Client -“The Perfect Hire”


1. Specific -How Close Are the Technologies In Question?

2. Specific - What Did He Sign with Former Employer?

3. General-Educate Managers to Know Source of IP

4. General-Interview and Hiring Process

5. General - Presentation of Agreements At Correct Stage


A “Consultant” Helped-Issues Presented


1. Does Client Have Clear Title to IP in Software?

2. If Not, Who Else Has a Claim to the IP?

3. Investment Discussions Are At A Standstill

4. Leverage in Resolution Discussions

5. Lack of Payment For Expert’s Services- Exculpatory?


Problem- A “Consultant” Helped-Who Owns IP?


1. Client Company Has Developed Revolutionary Software Solution

2. At Investor Presentation Technical Founder Lauds Software Architecture Help From NCSU Prof.

3. Beta Version of the Solution Has Just Been Completed

4. Completed Version Clearly Reflects NCSU Prof’s Architecture Ideas

5. Technical Founder Says Not to Worry Because the Prof. Was Not Paid for His Contribution


A “Consultant” Helped-Counseling Your Client


1. Specific -Does the Software Architecture Have to Remain the Same?

2. Specific-Will Prof. @ NCSU Assign Rights? How Much?

3. Specific- Do You Need to Approach NCSU?

4. General - Educate Technical Staff About Slippery Slope

5. General - What Is the Creation of IP?

6. Employee Leaves Company On Good Terms

7. Six Months Later Your Client Sees Her at Trade Show

8. Her New Company Is Offering a Product Strikingly Similar to Yours

9. She Worked On Your Main Development Team Prior to Departure

10. Your Client Observed the Former Employee Make Multiple Sales at the Trade Show







External Links for more info:



(a) http://www.startupstaffing.com/index.html An excellent staffing service aimed specifically aimed at startups in Austin.

(b) http://www.startupzone.com/index.asp Startup Zone is a website offering an array of services for startups in technology industry. Investors, other startups, job seekers and product/service vendors use the company’s flagship service, List Zone. This provides hooks to a range of challenges like financing, hiring, partnerships etc.



(a) http://hr.smartpros.com/x18214.xml





These sites contain a excellent series of articles about issues faced by HR professionals in a startup business. A must read. 


This site is an article on finding the right people to grow a business. 


Is an article on scaling up an organization. 


An article about outsourcing the staffing activities in a startup. 


Article on staffing startups in a strong economy. 


An ex-MBA student, now an entrepreneur. His view of staffing. 


Get-to-the-point website offering straight answers to the entrepreneurs and inventors. A very practical guide. 

source: www.mbainaday.com










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