Why do people want to work for you?

Why do people want to join your company?

In the current market it’s easy enough for companies to answer the question, “Why would someone want to join your company?” with the answer “Because we’re hiring”

But that’s a terrible answer.

Whether the market is good or bad, you want people to join your business for the right reasons, and to stay.

Sadly, a lot of the time people join companies for all the wrong reasons. Either because their decision making is unwise or because the company is selling it wrongly. And they inevitably end up leaving or being deeply unhappy. Neither is a good outcome for either side.

So I thought I’d list three bad and then three good reasons why someone might join your company:

Bad reasons to join

1. Money – now of course you want to pay your staff well. But if they join you just because you’ve blown another offer out of the water with more money, one of two things is going to happen. Either they’ll get more money from another company and leave, or they’ll get more money from another company and hold you hostage. Paying people fairly is the right thing to do, but it’s not the way to secure or retain them. They need a better motivation.

2. Your company is full of people like them – you need diversity in your team. If you only hire one type of person you’ll get all the good characteristics of that person amplified – but also all the bad characteristics. Hiring 25 variations on the same person really isn’t going to build a good team, and hiring the person that just wants to work with people like them is not wise in the long term. Again, it doesn’t mean you can never hire someone who’s from a similar background as someone else in the team: but it shouldn’t be the reason for hiring them, or their reason for joining

3. Location – because location is nearly irrelevant now anyway, no? But just hiring someone because they live round the corner doesn’t really suggest you’ve gone out of your way to find the best person in the market. Of course if the best person in the market lives round the corner……it’s a win!

Good reasons to join 

1. Mission – someone who is excited about what you’re trying to achieve, buys into your goals and sees how working on your projects will grow their skills and develop their career is joining for all the right reasons. They’ll stay in the long term, they’ll commit their efforts to doing the work you need done, and they’ll be an advocate for the business.

2. Autonomy/responsibility – hiring people who you trust to work in their own way and take accountability for their own work and performance means that your management overhead is reduced. And that you’re hiring people who will add value to the business over and above their day to day contribution. If you allow people to take responsibility then you’ll be giving them a strong incentive to stay for the long term, because they’ll have skin in the game.

3. Influence – again, hiring people and allowing them to influence the work and people around them (and of course be influenced in term) gives a strong sense of ownership and allows people to feel that they are contributing in the broader sense to a business rather than simply doing tasks for cash. Those people in turn stay longer, become an advocate for the business, and contribute more.

In short (and I can’t think how many time I’ve typed this) – hire adults and treat them as adults. As far as you possibly can, let them take ownership, let them innovate, let them do what they do. They’ll thrive, and they’ll stay, and both of those things are good for your business.

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