The HBS Blog offers insight on Delaware corporations and LLCs as well as information about entrepreneurship, start-ups and general business topics.
I know what happens. You post a new job and you get about a hundred resumes in response. They all start looking the same, they pile up in your email folders or a Google Doc, and you don’t respond to the majority of them. You probably miss the few excellent ones. It can all be very time consuming. If you are ‘fortunate’ you might have several job openings up at the same time. Which, unfortunately, just multiples all these burdens.
It’s time to join the big leagues. I’m talking about an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which will gather and organize all applicants, track where they are in the process and follow up with them! It’s easy to implement, easy to use and can even be free. I’m the first to admit this topic can instantly cause your eyes to glaze, but I’ve recently set one up it’s been an instant game changer!
I’m in no way an expert, nor even know of all the systems out there. I’ve heard great things about Resumator and Jobvite but I chose Jobscore (www.jobscore.com), mostly because it has the same core features and is free. They primarily make money with the candidates you leave unclaimed, releasing them into a huge pool of applicants that other employers can pay to access. They also have great customer support - thanks Lisa!
So, here we are. You’ve admitted you have a problem and are willing to get some help. You don’t need to hire an HR staff, get extensive training or migrate and integrate your data. Just take an hour or so to familiarize yourself and start plugging away!
I’m really just touching the surface here, but I hope you get the point. If you don’t already use something like this it can be quite powerful. Immediately. It can help with periodic hiring, but is also highly scalable - if you grow, this is something you will put in place. Get your HR foundation in place. It’s also fun!
Often, clients ask Harvard Business Services, Inc. to form and file their company with Delaware after already reserving the company name with the Delaware Division of Corporations. They paid $75 on the state's website and received a receipt stating the name had been reserved. This step is often not needed. At Harvard Business Services, Inc., we strive to provide clients with the most value for their money. As soon as clients initiate the order with us to form a company, we file that company with the state, thereby accomplishing the same thing. So why pay $75? They paid $75 to reserve the name from the moment they paid to the moment we file the company, which doesn't make much sense since the time frame is often a day or less. In most cases, if that name was available on Monday, it will typically be available on Tuesday.
Often the name reservation service is helpful to clients who aren’t ready to form the company their company just yet. They may need a couple of weeks before moving forward with the formation, but want to make sure the name they have chosen is available when they are ready. The name reservation is typically good for 120 days before the name becomes available again to the public.
Ultimately, it is your decision whether you think the name reservation service is needed. In a lot of cases, we see clients who reserve the name before they contact us because they think they have to, but this is not the case.
If you do need to reserve a company name with the State of Delaware, don’t forget to print your receipt. We will need this receipt from you when you are ready to form the company. If you do not have this receipt, there will be an additional charge by the state to release the name.
As a successful entrepreneur, if you run a stable company with a decent profit, you should consider going out of your way right now to pamper your employees in some meaningful way. You need to be considering things like Aeron™ Chairs, their choice of great computers, snacks, fruit, meals, fitness programs, game rooms, lounge areas, beer, and even the encouragement of watching funny videos. Most likely you now spend some effort trying to curb these activities. However, you’d be well advised to pick a few, and strategically implement them. In these perks lurks a significant long-term competitive edge.
These perks make employees happy and studies show that “Happy Companies” achieve higher sales and profits. In fact, according to one report, companies that enhance employee satisfaction by 20% can improve financial performance by as much as 42%. Fortune’s ‘100 Best Companies To Work For’ outperform the S&P considerably and consistently. Conversely, companies with disinterested employees (40% or less engagement) had a total shareholder return that was 44 percent lower than average.
A recent Wall Street Journal article suggests that watching humorous videos, drinking beer and relaxing increases creativity. These activities cause a spike in the superior anterior temporal gyrus (aSTG), the part of the brain responsible for drawing together distantly related information. It enhances creativity, engagement and innovation - precisely what's needed when working on a brilliant solution to a hard problem.
The first thought most entrepreneurs have is that activities like ping pong and taking a nap, or a budget item like providing meals have immediate and visible costs and reduce performance due to the down-time.
With certain controls, however, these items can actually be a sound investment.
Let’s say providing a hot catered lunch to employees costs $25 per employee. Try it. It produces many positive unintended consequences such as increased appreciation for the entrepreneur in charge, increased camaraderie and better attendance on the day you provide the lunch. It’s a benefit employees can enjoy if it’s really delicious, so go first class!
Maybe it will become one of the reasons a key person stays with the company. Maybe it will attract the best new hires. For sure, your employees are now talking with others, most likely about work, and most likely about the wonderful meals you provide.
Encouraging a nap at work is still a very hard leap for employers. However, keep in mind sleep deprivation cost US businesses as much as $150 billion annually in absenteeism and lost productivity. A short nap makes employees more alert, reduces stress and improves cognitive functioning. The Better Sleep Council says poor sleep affects accuracy and attitude on the job. From Nike to AOL to Huffington Post to Ben & Jerry’s, more companies are recognizing this as area to focus on.
There is very compelling and similar evidence for programs like child care, health and wellness programs and education courses, exists. What could seem a distraction or an expense, can offer increased energy, productivity and reduce turnover. PERKS like these also attract great new talent as well as justifying lower starting salaries. If you use recruiters ($10k ~ $20,000 per hire) then reducing these costs alone can justify these efforts.
As a forward thinking and advanced leader you need to create positive leading indicators. This is an expense that can drive increased productivity and lower costs. Lean on frequent communication, clear expectations and accountability to counter possible pitfalls of these PERKS, then sit back and let your people enjoy work even more and all it offers!
Where have you invested in your people and culture and what returns have you seen?
Check out these recent articles regarding Delaware business happenings...
Read about this case being held in Delaware, a family finds and old stock certificate, says Coke owes them $130 million!
Check out this article about six states where taxes are soaring, Delaware is among them.
NPR is doing a series on the history of Silicon Valley and it is really interesting. Check out this timeline, it showcases the key moments that shaped Silicon Valley. Then be sure to listen to this piece that explains the rare mix that created Silicon Valley's startup culture. Next listen to this piece on America's magnet for innovation and investments and learn why over 35% of the nation's venture capital has gone to Silicon Valley Startups. Finally, listen to the last installment, featuring two legends from Intel.