Home Startup Employee Metrics: Looking Beyond Work Hours

Startup Employee Metrics: Looking Beyond Work Hours

Montreal-based entrepreneur and blogger Ben Yoskovitz knows a thing or two about hiring employees at startups. Yoskovitz formerly founded his own company, Standout Jobs – a tool designed to improve hiring and recruiting techniques for small businesses on the Web. Needless to say, the hiring and performance tracking of employees at the SMB level is a topic of interest for Yoskovitz. One of the items he recently wrote about is whether startups should hire workaholics expected to work 80+ hours each week, and some interesting arguments against this doctrine emerged.

“You have to hire people who are passionate about the business. If they’re not passionate, they’ll fail you. If they are passionate but lazy they’ll fail you.”
– Ben Yoskovitz

The startup ecosystem has long accepted the “all day, every day” methodology toward building a company, especially at the early stages. When you think you have a great idea you don’t want to stop working on it, and young entrepreneurs will work during every spare moment to hasten the progress of their idea. That’s great, and many successful entrepreneurs have done just that, but should that translate to your employees once you begin expanding?

Yoskovitz argues that a startup shouldn’t be hiring and measuring their employees based on the number of hours they work. The only thing “hours worked” is a good indicator of is just that – how much time they put into whatever it is they were doing, he says.

“I’m not even sure it’s a great measurement of passion (which is an essential quality you need to look for in startup employees.) It could just be that the guy is slow, so he works more hours,” writes Yoskovitz. “We need to think about other measurable indicators of an employee’s quality and value.

In a post about hiring workaholics at startups, Yoskovitz reiterates this point, stating that passion and work ethic are far more valuable than simply the number of hours the person is willing to commit.

“You have to hire people who are passionate about the business. If they’re not passionate, they’ll fail you. If they are passionate but lazy they’ll fail you,” he says. “They need to have a strong work ethic, a sense of responsibility (to you, their peers & the business) and they need to be passionate.”

Startups are a unique beast. They are not normal jobs. Anyone applying to work at a startup knows that they will not clock-in and out at the same time each day. That said, it would also behoove startups to look beyond a person’s time commitment when evaluating potential and current employees. Just remember that 5 hours of concentrated hard work always trumps 20 hours of lazy work devoid of passion.

How many hours a day do you think employees should be working at a startup? Or do you agree in Yoskovitz’s “hours, schmours” argument? What are the best new ways to gauge your employees work performance? Let us know in the comments below!

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