Why Employees Quit, Why They Stay

Why Employees Quit, Why They Stay

Employees are the company’s lifeblood that keeps it circulating, moving, alive. But why do some companies find it hard to keep its people? Why do employees quit?

Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson know the ins and outs of building a startup. Having created startup companies before, these brilliant founders of Full Scale are well-acquainted with all the challenges of being a startup leader. One of these challenges is the high turnover rate.

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For episode 89 of Startup Hustle, Watson and DeCoursey talked over the reasons why employees quit and why they choose to stay. The podcast hosts conferred some of their personal experience as employees and as startup leaders. If you are on your way to building a startup or currently managing a startup company, listen to the podcast to gather ideas and advice that might save your growing business.

Why do employees quit?

For this episode, Matts discussed important points as to why good employees quit their jobs. Here are its highlights:

  • Job and tasks become routines. Doing the same thing over and over again bores an employee. A routine task turns into a habitual activity which makes the job simple, and plain boring.
  • Bad boss-employee relationship. Good leaders are supported by good followers. A bad boss and employee relationship can be a reason why employees quit.
  • Indefinite career advancement. A company without a clear career path for employees can hinder its people and demotivate employees to work longer in the company
  • Lack of opportunity to use skills and capabilities.
  • Hiring or promoting the wrong people. Hard work should result in proper praise and opportunity. If a company aimlessly hire and promote people, bypassing employees who have proven themselves, your people may look for a job that will better reward them according to their effort.
  • Job security. Lack of sales, recent layoffs, reducing work hours, freezing pay increase, and bad press about the organization.
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Why do employees stay?

If employees have their reason for quitting, they should also have a reason why they choose to stay on a job. The podcast content states these reasons. Most of these are practiced in by Decoursey and Watson in their businesses while some are observations from other businesses. Here are the highlights of the discussion:

  • A good work culture. Comfortable working environment and good relationships with co-workers can make an employee stay.
  • People stay when they are with the things they are passionate about.
  • Appreciating your employees, treat them with respect, benefits, perks, compensation.
  • Transparency of communication among your employees. Be transparent by reporting them if everything is going well with the company.

How can a startup hire great people?

A startup may find hard to attract great employees. But with proper management, it can surely gather loyal people.

  • Employees stay with a startup company once they see that the startup has a clear ability to grow.
  • Don’t water down your ability to compensate people financially.
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Listen to Episode 89 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – Why Employees Quit

Here is the transcript from Episode 89 of the Startup Hustle Podcast – Why Employees Quit

Matt DeCoursey:And we’re back. Another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson. Hi Matt. 
Matt Watson:What’s going on? 
Matt DeCoursey:Man, I’m just still in awe of episode 88, where we had a live studio audience. That was a lot of fun, wasn’t it? 
Matt Watson:It was, and we’re back at it today, and we’ve got 95,000 people in the arena today. 
Matt DeCoursey:No. 
Matt Watson:Woo. Did you hear them? 
Matt DeCoursey:I heard one of them. 
Matt Watson:Oh man. That was really awesome, though. 
Matt DeCoursey:That was fun, man. Thanks to everybody who showed up- 
Matt Watson:We have to do that again- 
Matt DeCoursey:I didn’t actually do a real headcount. There was somewhere between, I don’t know, 80 to 100 people there, which is still crazy. 
Matt Watson:It was pretty cool. 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s actually officially the biggest draw we’ve ever had live. We broke- 
Matt Watson:And the worst. It was the best and the worst. 
Matt DeCoursey:Hey, come on, come on, we’re going to look at this a good way. Well, today’s topic is kind of interesting, I think it’s going to be kind of fun as well, and maybe depressing, but also good information. I’m going to talk about the reasons that employees quit. 
Matt Watson:And are they more or less likely to quit at a startup? 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s a good question. That’s a really good question. What do you think? 
Matt Watson:That’s part of it. I mean, we do talk about startups, I think we ought to talk about that part of it, too. 
Matt DeCoursey:Whether or not they quit at startups, or … as a startup I think it’s harder to attract employees. 
Matt Watson:It is. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:Yes and no. 
Matt DeCoursey:Depends on the person. Some people like that, some people don’t. 
Matt Watson:Yeah, you get some people that, maybe out of college they work at some big company, and they eventually realize that nothing they do really matters, and that they are a cog in the wheel, and they’re looking to do work somewhere they can make a difference. Right? 
Matt DeCoursey:Sometimes it’s the opposite, though. Sometimes it’s someone my age that doesn’t want to take the leap and the jump, that they have a wife, they have a couple kids, maybe they’ve made a couple bucks along the way, and they’re not interested in rolling the dice there. 
Matt Watson:Yeah. So that’s why they wouldn’t want to do it. Or I said, I think, why they would want to do it. 
Matt DeCoursey:Either way, they’re probably going to have to quit a job to take a new one. 
Matt Watson:Job security is a big one. So that’s part of the issue with recruiting people at startups. And when people quit at a startup, it hurts a lot more. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:When you got- 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s like 5% of your staff, if you have 20 people. If you have three people, you just lost 33% of your team. 
Matt Watson:Everybody’s critical in the role that they play. Where at a bigger corporation, you do have just a bunch of cogs in the wheel, and you’re like, Johnny left, whatever. 
Matt DeCoursey:Are you saying that- 
Matt Watson:HR will replace him in two weeks. 
Matt DeCoursey:I’m going to just take what you just said as nothing but kind words about my necessity, not only here at the podcast, but also at Full Scale, and the other things that I do. 
Matt Watson:I probably shouldn’t have said Johnny. Johnny, if you’re listening, we like you. 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s a good point. We can’t really use Johnny as a … Johnny, do not quit. All right, well, we got a list of things here. I think the first one’s a good one. How about the relationship they have with their boss? 
Matt Watson:Well, it says right here, bad boss is the number one reason why employees quit their job. And I definitely think that’s the truth. People quit because of the manager. If they don’t like their manager, that’s a big part of it. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, there’s a number of different reasons why people won’t like their manager, and I’ve said this before, sometimes when you are the manager, or the leader, or whatever, sometimes when you’re doing the best job possible, not everyone’s going to like you. 
Matt Watson:Which is true. Which is fine. I mean- 
Matt DeCoursey:I go through that- 
Matt Watson:… sometimes you got to whip people into shape a little bit to be good at their job. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, sometimes it’s also you have to make tough decisions, though, that aren’t always popular, but they have to be made, and the greater good of the company. Or sometimes as the manager or leader you’re privy to certain details, or stuff that you don’t necessarily feel like letting everyone live the day-to-day soap opera with, and then sometimes it’s easy for people to come in, and they’re like, “Well, why is this this way, or that way, or that way,” and you’re like, “Fuck, I’m just trying to keep the tires on the car.” 
Matt Watson:Well in some companies, especially bigger companies, fail because nobody’s willing to make those hard decisions. 
Matt DeCoursey:Or nobody’s actually managing the department. Yeah. 
Matt Watson:I mean, that’s why startups are successful, right, is you got to make those hard decisions quickly. You get the big corporations, and nobody wants to make a hard decision. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, or they have to go through nine tranches of decision makers, or boards, or different things like that. And that’s actually the upside of the startup in general, is that agile, nimble ability to do what you just said, make quick decisions. So that can be good, too, sometimes in a good way. 
Matt Watson:Well- 
Matt DeCoursey:Sometimes a bad way. 
Matt Watson:One of my relatives that works at a company I may or may not have been affiliated with, one of his frustrations now that it’s a big corporation, is it’s hard for him to voice his feedback and opinion about how the company could do better at various things. And it just comes on deaf ears. Nobody cares anymore. And that’s frustrating as an employee. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, let’s keep moving here. I think this next one is something I see so much with our own hiring at Full Scale. We hire a lot of people from big companies like Accenture, and I mean, I’m not going to go down the list. But there’s a lot of them, and the lot of them, they feel bored or unchallenged by the work. 
Matt Watson:I think that’s a big part of it, is people need to be challenged. I just hired a DBA to work for us over in Cebu at Full Scale. 
Matt DeCoursey:And for those that aren’t familiar, DBA stands for … 
Matt Watson:Database Administrator. 
Matt DeCoursey:Right. 
Matt Watson:And that was his whole thing of wanting to come work for us. He’s like, the place he was at, he was kind of bored, there were two or three people on his team, there wasn’t a lot of work to do, he was ready for a challenge. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, and I think the people that we’ve hired, and I love seeing this, they want to not only challenge themselves, but they want to become better at what they do. So I think some of the … as we list some of these problems, we can also talk about some solutions, and I think that if you have people doing things that … I don’t really love the term pay grade, but for maybe lack of a better term right now, if you have people that have 15 years of experience continually doing things that someone with one year of experience should be doing, that’s going to … that can wear on you. I think that tedious and repetitive things, any ability you have to automate or reduce redundancy, that’s why automation exists. Because no one wants to sit there and do the same thing 10 million times a day, right? 
Matt Watson:Well, and hopefully all your employees have some form of career advancement, right, to that point. They should be moving on to do bigger, better things as they advance through their career. And this is all especially true in tech jobs. Because if you’re developing Windows desktop applications or something for three years in a row, you get good at it, but you get bored at it, and your skills may become stagnant. It’s like, well, now all that stuff is really going to be more HTML-based, or some different set of technology. It’s not Windows forms anymore, WPF or these different technologies. It’s like, they need to keep learning new stuff, or their skill set becomes very stagnant. Because there’s always new stuff in technology. And so for anybody who works in technology as a job, it’s important that you’re always learning some new technology, so you stay up with the times. 
Matt DeCoursey:I think you could almost add bored, unchallenged, and unimpressed with the work. 
Matt Watson:Unimpressed. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, I say just unimpressed, it’s like … all right, so Stackify is considered one of the marquee teams to be on at the Full Scale office. That’s because it’s interesting, it’s engaging, it does something that the people that are on the team see a need and a use for. Because they’re all experienced senior guys that are like, “Wow, if I’d had this at these nine other jobs, I’ve been at over 20 years, or whatever, that would have been really great.” And so I think the … I ran into that a lot when I worked in the music industry. So, working for Roland, that’s world’s largest manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, it’s a big company. It’s like $5 billion a year in revenue. There were so many people that were there that were just happy to work for Roland. They’re like, “I get to be around all this cool, cutting-edge stuff. I’m trying these products.” They were music nerds. And they got … they were literally right there in the mecca of electronic stuff. And it was really cool. And now the company didn’t take advantage of that, and pay people less, but they probably could have. But it was a testament towards being around the things you’re passionate about. 
 Okay, this next reason is the one that is going to lead to me quitting the podcast. 
Matt Watson:Oh, shit. 
Matt DeCoursey:Relationships with coworkers. Actually, I’m not going to … I can’t quit you, Matt. 
Matt Watson:I think it’s one of the key reasons why people stay at a job, too, right? 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:Maybe their manager’s so-so, but they just love the team they work with. 
Matt DeCoursey:We run into that at our Full Scale office, too. There we have a nearly non-existent turnover. 
Matt Watson:But then we all know- 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s because they like each other. 
Matt Watson:Then we all know somebody that works at a restaurant, and there’s all sorts of drama amongst all the coworkers, and nobody wants to work there. Right? You get into that part of it, too. 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s also why I’m quitting the podcast. The drama, the on-air drama, is getting to be at an all-time high. 
Matt Watson:That’s why I don’t work in restaurants. 
Matt DeCoursey:Is that the real reason? 
Matt Watson:Yeah, yeah. 
Matt DeCoursey:You don’t even like cooking for your kids. How would you do it for hundreds of- 
Matt Watson:That’s true. 
Matt DeCoursey:… people every day? 
Matt Watson:That’s true. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, how about a lack of opportunity to use their skills and ability? I mean, that’s kind of related to being bored and unchallenged, but if you want to do one particular thing … say you want to be a XYZ programmer, but you’re never going to get that opportunity, I mean if that’s what you really want to do and what you really want to pursue, and the opportunity’s not right in front of you, well, might be time to yell “Next” and go somewhere else. 
Matt Watson:It’s like sometimes we hire people at Full Scale and they’re like, “I really want to be a java developer,” right, so they got to figure out how to get in that path. 
Matt DeCoursey:And that said, if you happen to need a Java developer, we may have a couple available. 
Matt Watson:We might. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, do you think that a solution for this is … so, what do you do when you’ve got 10 people that want to do a job, and you only need five of them to do it? I mean, do you just pick the five best and let the other five be disappointed? Do you … that’s a tough decision. 
Matt Watson:Well, do the other five have other work to do, or are we laying them off? 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, they’re going to maybe do something different. 
Matt Watson:I mean if they can do something different, then maybe you can- 
Matt DeCoursey:If you’re laying them off, you don’t have the problem worrying they’re going to quit. 
Matt Watson:Then you can rotate people around, maybe. 
Matt DeCoursey:Sure. But that wouldn’t work as a programmer. That would be really inefficient, because then you’d sacrifice a large portion of your domain knowledge. I think certain things too, like at Full Scale we’ve started offering … so recently we just offered … we have a very … it’s pretty low-impact stuff, but on React JavaScript. 
Matt Watson:Doing some training. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, just some little training, and trying to bring people up to speed on some stuff, and that as simple as getting some people that had some extra bandwidth in our office, and experience, to create a little two part seminar. 
Matt Watson:Yeah. 
Matt DeCoursey:And it didn’t even take a huge amount of time. Some of the things we’re going to start doing is like … and so attending that, and then passing the test afterward, may earn you a badge on your employee profile. 
Matt Watson:Ooh. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, you didn’t even know about that. 
Matt Watson:Do I have any badges on my employee profile? 
Matt DeCoursey:You do. 
Matt Watson:I do. 
Matt DeCoursey:Do you want to … I can’t say what they are. Well we’ve marked this explicit, so actually yeah, all of our podcasts have that little E on it. 
Matt Watson:So I have gold stars. 
Matt DeCoursey:No, those would be good, too. Yeah, but that’s helpful, because those are some of the things, too, that we want to … well, we want our folks to feel like they’re moving forward and still learning new stuff. And then also we just really thought it would be helpful for our clients to know. And we are launching two different types of certifications. We have the ones that … well, I don’t want to say two different types, we have our own official certifications, like “Hey, I’ve passed this assessment.” And then there’s also self-assessments that are saying, “Hey, even though you don’t offer a online live, living, breathing test for me to take, I do have a lot of experience with this other stuff.” So. 
Matt Watson:I think the key point here is career development is really big to, I don’t want to say every employee, but some of them- 
Matt DeCoursey:Those are the people you should want to hire, though- 
Matt Watson:Definitely some of them- 
Matt DeCoursey:You want to hire people that want to get better, not someone that just wants to sit there and maintain status quo. 
Matt Watson:Right, or they want to progress to be a manager, or different kinds of other jobs or responsibilities. 
Matt DeCoursey:There’s a simple question you can ask your employees or your candidates, what are you passionate about? What do you really want to do? So what do you do? And what do you really want to do? 
Matt Watson:Puppies. 
Matt DeCoursey:You want to raise puppies? 
Matt Watson:Yeah, I’m passionate about puppies. 
Matt DeCoursey:Actually, you’re not. 
Matt Watson:About not having them. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, I was going to say. I was going to say, that’s so true. It’s not … there’s … okay. 
Matt Watson:But at Stackify we hire people in support, and the goal is to train them, learn more about what we do, learn about our product, and then advance their career into being a software engineer or QA or other positions, and that’s what we do. So that’s the career path. 
Matt DeCoursey:And that’s … if you’re listening and you’re an employee somewhere, I mean, sometimes you got to climb the ladder a little bit, too. I mean, that’s just the way it goes. 
 Okay. How about they don’t like their contribution of their work, or the organization’s business goals? 
Matt Watson:Well, I think it’s kind of one of the things we touched on earlier, is feeling like they’re contributing. Does the work that I do really matter? Do people get to use it, do they like it, am I helping the company? All those sort of things. Or am I just digging a hole and nobody cares? 
Matt DeCoursey:Like, “Hey, you have nothing better to do, go dig a hole?” 
Matt Watson:Yeah. 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s what I did most of the weekend. 
Matt Watson:And put Easter eggs in the hole? 
Matt DeCoursey:No. 
Matt Watson:No? 
Matt DeCoursey:No, no. I did … it actually was yard work. I did a whole bunch of it. And then I got halfway through it, and I said, “Oh shit, I got to do the other half of this now.” And then I became a little depressed about that, and then I finally did it. 
Matt Watson:You tried to recruit me to come help do this, didn’t you? 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:I’m glad I dodged that. 
Matt DeCoursey:Lack of help from coworkers. 
Matt Watson:Yeah, I’m glad I dodged that. 
Matt DeCoursey:New reason for quitting … I did quit my job. 
Matt Watson:I was working on other skills and career development. 
Matt DeCoursey:I quit that job last night, so at about 8:30 last night, I quit my job as a yard worker. 
Matt Watson:Good. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. I think the business’s goals, at the same time, are … it’s tough to always keep in alignment with those that you work with. And what is your business’s goals? Are your goals, as a founder, completely different than the business? And they might be. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s not always good. Am I right? 
Matt Watson:I think everybody wants to know at the end of the day if we’re winning or losing. That’s part of it, right, and how do I help. 
Matt DeCoursey:I mean, every founder wants to cash a big check with a bunch of commas on it at the end- 
Matt Watson:Three commas. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, that’s not exactly the goal of every employee, because they’re not going to necessarily share in that, or as a way to fix that, doing something that would allow them to share in some of that success. I’m a big fan and proponent of employees and people in an organization having a vested interest in the success of the business, especially financially. 
Matt Watson:Sure. 
Matt DeCoursey:So I mean, that could be something … I like to say money makes a soft pillow. You just sleep a lot better at night when you have a bed … if your head is resting on that bag of money that you just brought in to the bedroom, or whatever. So it’s like, the point is, if everyone shares in the same financial goals, and they’re rewarded for that success, they can use that money to do a lot of the other things that they may be lacking, and that’s where you get that sleeping a little better at night. 
 Well, you talked about everyone wants to know if we’re winning or losing. Here we go, knowledge about your organization’s financial stability. 
Matt Watson:Everybody wants a stable job. 
Matt DeCoursey:Can I borrow a couple bucks, while we’re at it, since we’re being open? 
Matt Watson:Yeah, I’ve got a whole stack of money in my office. 
Matt DeCoursey:Do you? 
Matt Watson:Yeah. 
Matt DeCoursey:Did you use it as a soft pillow last night? 
Matt Watson:Well, they’re Filipino pesos. Was that count? 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:I also have Taiwan and Singapore money. 
Matt DeCoursey:I’m not sure where I would spend it. 
Matt Watson:I don’t have any U.S. dollars. Sorry. 
Matt DeCoursey:Damn it. 
Matt Watson:I’m a world traveler. 
Matt DeCoursey:So, financial instability, a lack of sales, recent layoffs, or reducing work hours, maybe freezing pay increases, bad press about your organization. 
Matt Watson:Everybody wants a stable job. 
Matt DeCoursey:Lots of employee turnover. How about merging or being acquired by another company? 
Matt Watson:That creates some weirdness, people quit. 
Matt DeCoursey:I went through that when I used to manage a chain of retail stores that sold musical instruments. And we merged with a larger company. So, and I started on that first day, and I went to a meeting and they’re like, “Okay, we probably need to fire 30% of the company.” And it’s because they had three people, in three different chains, that were all doing the same job. The anxiety around all those stores, some people just quit. They just said, “Fuck it, I’ll make it easy on you, I quit.” And that was that. And then later, a few years later, that same business was under a lot of financial pressure because it lost like a $20 million lawsuit, and they started closing stores. And weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to. They would have a guy show up that would say, “Okay, so I’m here to let you know that we’re shutting down this branch. And your jobs are not going to exist in four months.” And I said, “Well, who’s our regional manager?” “Regional manager’s a forward-thinking term, there is no future here.” It was just the weirdest thing. 
Matt Watson:Weird. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, and people literally got up and left in some of those meetings. They were like, once again, they’re like, “Fuck it, I don’t need this. I’m out.” So yeah, I mean you got to be careful when you make some of your decisions, that you’re not going to send shock waves. And I mean, employees that are worried about stuff, like I just said, they’re going to get up and bail. 
Matt Watson:Well, this goes right into the next topic on our list here, is having a good culture. And if the sentiment around the office is very negative or toxic, and potentially because some of the reasons we just talked about, because of financial things, or the merger, or whatever, that all leads to it, but in general, just the culture. At Stackify, we’ve had a couple people before that were just negative. And they were just toxic to have around the office, and they rub off on everybody else, which is … 
Matt DeCoursey:I think people also, with the work culture too, especially if you’re producing things. We’re around software, and different stuff like that a lot, which often has deadlines. Well, got to pick and choose your five alarm fire triggers. And you can’t constantly redline your staff, because that too is negative. We’re not making this deadline. That’s negative, that’s not a positive comment. And then also you just … literally episode 88, talking about startup burnout. Well, you’re going to burn people out. So you got to pick and choose, I like to really be very, very picky about what exactly I’m going to ask for favors on. Like even down to just asking someone or a couple people to stay for 30 minutes after 5:00. Or whatever. 
Matt Watson:Yeah, don’t want to burn them out. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, just pick and choose those situations, so … and by the way, the fewer of those you ask for, the easier it is to get them at the times that you need. So … 
Matt Watson:But I think overall having a good company culture is sometimes kind of a hard thing to put your finger on exactly what that means. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. It doesn’t always mean more ping-pong tables- 
Matt Watson:No- 
Matt DeCoursey:… and champagne mimosa Saturdays. 
Matt Watson:It says here appreciating your employees, treating them with respect, compensation, benefits, perks, all those things. I mean, I think there’s a few employees at Stackify that would say it’s one of the best places they’ve ever worked. But sometimes it’s hard to describe why, exactly. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, everything you mentioned is recognition of employee performance. I mean pay is a form of recognition, benefits, also sometimes … like for example, after last Thursday, a lot of work went into the live studio podcast. And we’d never done that before. And I made sure, I wanted … right there at the venue, telling everyone afterward, “Great job, thank you.” 
Matt Watson:Absolutely. 
Matt DeCoursey:Because we had little bumps or whatever, things happen, especially when you do live sound. 
Matt Watson:Thanks Johnny, we love you- 
Matt DeCoursey:It was Johnny- 
Matt Watson:… sorry about the joke earlier. 
Matt DeCoursey:and [Breelan] too. She was down there helping with all that. And you know, you run into goofy little things, like getting down there and realizing, “Oh wow, there’s a 15 foot spread in either way that we don’t have long enough headphone cables for.” And that, it’s a little goofy thing like that can throw off your whole thing. And being able to have someone that … they didn’t call us and go, “We need headphone cables,” they’re just go and fix the problem. And there’s just little things you got to recognize. 
Matt Watson:So we’ve been talking about the importance of the financial stability and all these things, and one of the most important things, I think, is just communication in general. I mean that was one of the feedback we got at one time at Stackify, from some of our employees, is there just wasn’t a lot of communication from the executive team. People didn’t know, are we winning or losing, are we financially stable, because we didn’t tell them, right? And so that’s when we started to have monthly employee meetings. So now we have monthly employee meetings, and that’s part of the goal, is to continue to reiterate over and over and over, how is the company doing, what are our goals, are we achieving our goals, what are recent successes we’ve had, et cetera, et cetera. That communication, everybody wants that communication. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, even at Full Scale we’ve been trying to do a better job with that. We had a meeting last week, and you don’t want to fill up your whole entire week with meetings, and you know Darrell, what really drives Darrell crazy is meetings to schedule meetings. 
Matt Watson:God, that’s horrible. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:It’s like they should just use GigaBook or something. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, oh wait, you can do that stuff online? 
Matt Watson:Yeah, you can schedule meetings online. 
Matt DeCoursey:Oh wow. So much, we talking about recognition, well it’s one of the lack of things … just shit benefits. And that’s hard, as a startup, it’s hard to hire. 
Matt Watson:Not having good benefits. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, we’re here in Kansas City, where one of the … is Cerner the world’s largest medical software company now? They got to be close, if they’re not. 
Matt Watson:I don’t know. 
Matt DeCoursey:They just have, what, $85 billion in revenue, or something insane like that. But my point is, you’re talking about being at a startup, as opposed to being at megacorp, well megacorp has good benefits. They do. 
Matt Watson:It’s tough to compete. Especially people like Microsoft, they’ll give out like $40,000 a year in stock options to every employee, and stuff, right? That’s hard to compete with. 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s hard to compete with, especially when you don’t even have fucking stock. 
Matt Watson:Yeah. At Stackify, we have some really good benefits, though. Hard work, low pay, and long hours. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. That’s … sign me up. 
Matt Watson:Really good benefits. 
Matt DeCoursey:Where do I sign up? The … none of that is true. But the thing is, as well, is I think … don’t water down your ability to compensate people financially with a bunch of benefits that they didn’t give a shit about. Guess what, if you pay someone more, they can afford a gym membership. 
Matt Watson:Well, and that’s the problem you have … there’s such a lack of IT talent here in Kansas City, and everywhere, that it’s sort of an auction. So your- 
Matt DeCoursey:Arms race. 
Matt Watson:Yeah, your employees are getting offers all the time to go work for somewhere else. And you’ve got to have a good company culture and other benefits and stuff like that, so they’re not always lured away by that extra couple thousand dollars a month, or a year, or whatever. 
Matt DeCoursey:You know one thing that will really tick a lot of people off, and make some head to the door, is hiring or promoting the wrong people. 
Matt Watson:I know. 
Matt DeCoursey:Here’s the thing. There’s one position that can … one person can be promoted, or someone will be hired. So you have a couple things there. A, if you’re going to promote someone, you’re probably going to tick a couple people off, it’s not the worst communication to sit down and let someone know why they didn’t get the promotion. It doesn’t have to be like … you don’t have to necessarily blast them. Let them know what they could have done better, and then sometimes someone else was just better suited for the position. Now don’t expect everyone that you tell that stuff to, to just grin and nod their head, “It’s okay, maybe next time.” They’re going to be a little ticked off about it, but … and then also if you’re going to hire someone for a position that others are going … you’re passing over everyone that’s already been there, that could be promoted for that, when you hire people like new managers, directors, people like that. You just have to be prepared. And you got to communicate with your team about that. Say, “Hey, look, you guys have done an amazing job up to this point, but nobody, including me, has 15 years of experience like this guy or girl that I’m about to bring in.” Am I wrong, am I right? 
Matt Watson:No you’re right, and it’s all about communication. 
Matt DeCoursey:I mean- 
Matt Watson:You got to give people a chance, too, right? 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s like when you’re trying to hire another podcast host. And you’re worried that when you do that, the one that you’ve been hosting with is going to potentially quit. 
Matt Watson:It’s okay. 
Matt DeCoursey:The benefits are so stingy at the Startup Hustle podcast, the pay is … we actually spend money to work here. 
Matt Watson:I did get free food the other night. When we did the live one, I got free food. 
Matt DeCoursey:You really didn’t, though, because Full Scale’s a platinum sponsor- 
Matt Watson:We paid for that? 
Matt DeCoursey:… of the startup foundation, so in a way we did pay for it. So yeah. But as we round out this episode, and does your company have the ability … do you have growth? 
Matt Watson:Absolutely. Stackify is growing like crazy. 
Matt DeCoursey:Right, so is Full Scale. We actually just had a guy that took a job, he had been at a major company in Cebu for a decade, and wanted to come work with us, because he could see how fast we were growing and knew that there was a lot of opportunities. I mean, that’s just the way it goes sometimes in some things. You can’t create opportunity where it doesn’t exist. Now at the same time, I’ve created my own growth opportunities in the past. I mentioned earlier that I worked for a musical instrument retailer. I saw a need for a specific type of leadership across 15 stores, I created a presentation, I finally, after … it took me even a couple months to get in front of the right people. And I said, “Look, this is what I can do, this is duplicated … this is what I’ve done at this location, I can do it at 14 others, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Couple weeks later I was in a newly-formed position. And I did well with it. And sometimes you can … you have to look a little past, “Hey, this job is open.” Okay, well here’s a suggestion, if you can explain to the people that you work with, how you’re going to make them more money, or save them more money, or maybe even do both, they’re probably going to listen. Am I right? 
Matt Watson:Yeah, I think you’re right. 
Matt DeCoursey:Would you take that meeting right now if an employee was like, “Hey Matt, I can help our sales increase, I can lower our expenses, you got a minute?” 
Matt Watson:I think we’re having a meeting about that tomorrow. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, we are. We are. We are. 
Matt Watson:Well, so in regards to growth opportunities, I think, as maybe one of our final thoughts, this is the exclamation point on why you can recruit people to come work at a startup, too. And it’s about the growth opportunity. Because if you go take a job at some big corporation, odds are they’re plugging you in somewhere and you’re following a bunch of policies and procedures that already exist, they’re going to tell you exactly how to do your job, and you go do it. 
Matt DeCoursey:And things are really regimented too- 
Matt Watson:And you don’t ask any questions- 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. 
Matt Watson:And don’t ask any questions, just go do your damn job. 
Matt DeCoursey:And your best opportunity for growth might be to spend one year going from blah, blah, blah two to blah, blah, blah one. 
Matt Watson:Where at a startup or a growth company, now all the sudden you’re the person who’s helping figure out those policies and procedures, figuring out how to do things, forging new ground. And that’s way more fun and exciting. 
Matt DeCoursey:You started with four people and now you’re at 40, and you’re the guy that people are coming and ask questions to. 
Matt Watson:Yeah, you’re the guru that figured it all out. 
Matt DeCoursey:Or didn’t. 
Matt Watson:That’s right. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well … that’s another thing too, though. I think it’s important to … just because someone’s been there for longer, does not mean that they’re automatically the best person. 
Matt Watson:No. Yeah, the first programmer you hire does not mean he’s the CTO. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah, and- 
Matt Watson:Doesn’t mean he knows how to do all sorts of leadership and management things. 
Matt DeCoursey:Right, right. 
Matt Watson:It means he might know how to write code. And maybe not even very good at that. He just might have been the random person you hired. 
Matt DeCoursey:Even though this isn’t on our list, and we’ll use this to round this out, I think one of the big things, too, is understanding the personalities of the people that you work with and around. And the personality types. 
Matt Watson:Yes. 
Matt DeCoursey:There are specific personality types that are just inherently not going to succeed. For me, I would not be a good accountant. I can do accounting, but I have to force myself to want to do it. Because the … it’s just not my thing. I like to sell and promote things, and be a leader and stuff like that, and if I got pushed into that role, I would end up quitting, because it’s just not a good fit for my personality style. 
Matt Watson:We recently hired somebody at Stackify that, immediately, the first week we kind of figured that out. They were just the wrong personality for the job. Where this is just not going to work. 
Matt DeCoursey:But discussing what kind of personality and having an understanding of what kind of personality. It’d be like if someone super introverted and not talkative, having them in a job of outgoing phone calls is probably not a good idea. And they’re probably not going to like it. They’re not going to want to do it. You’re going to end up with someone quitting. And it’s not a mystery. I mean, you can Google personality styles and jobs. Type that into Google and you will get a whole lot of articles. And a lot of them just have lists, like Type A people are better at things … that they feel better suited for things related to sales, promotion, presentation, phone calls, stuff like that, and they’re typically not super detail-oriented. 
Matt Watson:Well, and I always say that about the shortage of people in IT. People think like, “Oh, we’re just going to retrain everybody to be software developers.” I’m like, “They don’t have the personality, or maybe the intellect to do this.” 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah. Well, someone said to me over the weekend, it was actually yesterday at Easter, and we’re talking about STEM and all these things, and all these people, they’re like, “Yeah” … it was my cousins … “I know a guy, he’s 35 and he’s just decided he’s going to learn how to be a programmer.” I said, “Cool, in two years he will be on par with a seven-year-old.” It’s a good point, I mean now, does that mean he shouldn’t try to do it? No, not necessarily. Because I’d like to think he is more … that he’s smarter and more experienced and understands the practical applications of things, but when it comes to writing code or doing different things, I mean kids are doing that at five, six, seven. And … 
Matt Watson:I do think though that … so there are certain people that do the career changing like that, which is good. One of our best examples, Megan that works for us, she used to be a mortician. And she changed careers and she’s awesome. 
Matt DeCoursey:That’s a job I’d quit. 
Matt Watson:So people can do it, but I think, to the point, is before they try and do it, there should be some sort of personality profiling or logic testing. 
Matt DeCoursey:There is- 
Matt Watson:Things like that. Figure out, are you the right kind of person to- 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s all over the Internet, man- 
Matt Watson:… do this. 
Matt DeCoursey:It’s all over the Internet. I mean, if I take a personality profile or evaluation, it will invariably say that I should be a promoter. Or just something … 
Matt Watson:Like you should have a podcast? 
Matt DeCoursey:Sales, promotion, they come up with those things. Different types of … I don’t feel uncomfortable speaking in front of groups of people. While we were talking, I had to host a show which … and for those of you listening, don’t fool yourselves. The preparation that goes into these episodes is minimal. It’s intended to be that way. That’s the dynamic. We like to not overthink it. This isn’t about having a presentation, it’s more about having a conversation. But trying to do that and keep that moving in front of 100 people, there’s a million different things that can go wrong. Like microphones squealing with a little feedback in your ear. And does that put you off track? And some people with the wrong personality style, it just clips a little panic button in, and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know what to do.” People that are really introverted or whatever, they are a different person when you put them in front of a room full of 100 people. 
Matt Watson:It’s like I said the other day, I’m the right personality to work in an emergency room. But there are certain other personalities that are not. 
Matt DeCoursey:Well, right. Right. But that’s important to understand. Well anyway, man, I think we got through a lot of different stuff here, I think that … I think these are all really valid points. Which one was your favorite? 
Matt Watson:I think communication. So much of it- 
Matt DeCoursey:Like having it? 
Matt Watson:… with your employees is good communication, in regards to their career development, to how the company’s doing, to everything. 
Matt DeCoursey:I’m going to pick two. I’m going to go with the relationship with the boss. I think you got to believe in the people that are … you got to believe in your leaders, and if you happen to just be around someone that’s particularly dynamic, or someone that … I don’t know, sometimes just a person that says, “Hey, everything all right?” And then also I think bored and unchallenged by the work. I think if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, then it’s just, you’re on a countdown. So … 
Matt Watson:Well, it’s a good episode. I’m glad we had our live audience today. 
Matt DeCoursey:Yeah- 
Matt Watson:Woo. 
Matt DeCoursey:I think that I’m going to have to figure out how to edit in a real live audience. We’ve done no editing up to this point. But now we will. So, all right. See you next time. 
Speaker 1:Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Startup Hustle, with Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson. For more great content, and to stay up to date, visit startuphustle.xyz. And if you enjoyed today’s episode, please rate and subscribe. And we’ll catch you next time on Startup Hustle.

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