Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

What Business Leaders Can Learn About Hiring From Zach Nelson

You may have no idea who Zach Nelson is, and perhaps you’ve never heard of NetSuite either. However, there is much hiring managers can learn from the way he is dealing with his company’s expansion. Since his company went public in 2007, it has nearly doubled in size. That seems like a dream to most business leaders, but it wasn’t experienced without any difficulty. As NetSuite- a company that specializes in customer-management and logistics software- started to grow, Nelson and his chief people officer Marty Réaume realized they were having an issue with retaining employees. It’s an issue many companies are having these days, especially as the job market begins to pick up.

Rather than continue to hire and train the way they were used to, Nelson and Réaume decided to make a few strong changes.

For starters, Nelson, the CEO and Réaume started working together to improve their hiring. Rather than have others doing the hiring for him, Nelson was directly involved in the process. They broke down the numbers and realized that out of the 450 people they had hired at the time, 100 had left before completing their first year. On top of that, the same 10 people were pulling in the most sales. So what did they do that other companies can take note of?

Create an Assessment of Successful Employees
Before moving on and hiring more people that probably wouldn’t work out, Réaume created an assessment that she sent out to the top producers in the company. With that information she could create a list of traits top candidates should possess before being offered a position. This is something any company having hiring issues can do- and it doesn’t have to come at any cost. This is certainly something that Spark Hire has touched on countless times before when discussing the success of a hiring process. Before hiring, employers should fully understand the role and what is needed from the person that is expected to fill it. What skills are most valuable? What kind of personality or character should this person have? Must they be aggressive, independent, and driven? Or more of a team player that brings creativity to the table? Understanding what works best for this position is the first step in making a good hire.

Réaume took this assessment and started using it in the hiring and recruiting process. As a result, NetSuite only lost five salespeople within a year of their start date last year. The assessment was a success, and can be for your company as well.

Get CEOs Involved in Some Way
When a company is a startup, it’s much easier for the CEO or founder of the company to be heavily involved in most or all decisions of the company. As a company begins to grow though (which is the desired outcome of all startups) it becomes increasingly difficult for the CEO to have his hand in all of the cookie jars. Hiring, however, is one of the most important aspects of a company and one that Nelson took very seriously. When the company decided to start making changes, he decided to review every job offer that was made to a candidate. He may not have been able to directly meet each person, but making sure he sees the resume of the candidate in question made a big difference.

If you know who your employees are recruiting and signing on, then you have a general idea of who is working for your company. Plus, Nelson believes that when his employees know that he must approve or look at candidates before they are accepted, they work harder to find the best candidate. This may not work for every company, but having a CEO or a boss that is engaged with his or her employees is an important factor and paves the road for strong employee retention.

Lastly, making sure you have a sound training process is key in retaining employees. You can have the best hiring process in the world, but if employees walk into your company and are met with a shoddy or terrible training period it can negatively affect their entire employment. Companies need to be sure they are hands-on with their training and not presenting their new hires with a confusing or fuzzy layout of the position or company.

Furthermore, making sure you instill your company values or company culture right from the start is important in fostering long-term employees. Ensure that your new hire(s) know what is expected of them from the start and that those goals are clear. Be sure they understand what is most important to your company and what kind of culture your company exhibits.

Making sure you stay on top of things as your company grows is definitely important in its success. Take a note, or two, from Nelson and NetSuite and be sure your hiring process is the best it can be.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Dita Margarita

Nicole Nicholson

Nicole is the Content Editor for Spark Hire and mainly writes for and edits the work for the Spark News blog. She graduated in 2010 with a BA in Journalism from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She has a passion for writing, editing, and pretty much anything to do with content. In her free time she frequents the Chicago music scene and writes reviews on shows for her own personal blog. Connect with Nicole and Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter

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