How Do You Recruit “Outliers” to Your Small Business?

Over the past day, three completely different articles passed my radar that all seem tied by one coherent theme… Companies are doing some really interesting things to attract exceptional employees.

  • How to Manage Your Smartest, Strangest Employee (Harvard Business Review). Thought this was a fascinating piece by our CEO where he examines the importance of embracing the internal entrepreneurs while balancing the competing interests of creativity and collaboration in your organization.   In thinking through our corporate culture, this particular statement definitely rings true: ” The most significant factor is disruption to the team. I have a fairly high tolerance for quirky work styles, but little tolerance for someone who is overly disruptive or lowers the morale of a team.”
  • Marissa Mayer Is Pregnant? And She Still Gets To Be CEO? (Slate).  The idea that Yahoo hired a CEO who is due to deliver a baby boy in 3 months speaks volumes to a changing workplace environment and how companies are going about attracting the right kind of game-changers.  Marissa Mayer is clearly living one of Sheryl Sandberg’s guiding principles: “…when you’re pregnant is not a time to be apologetic and freaked out and unsure of yourself; it’s a time to be your most ambitious.”
  • In Praise of Misfits (The Economist).  Another fascinating look at how people who might be social outcasts in other situations are not only welcome, but thriving within the tech industry: “Those square pegs may not have an easy time in school. They may be mocked by jocks and ignored at parties. But these days no serious organisation can prosper without them.”

The combination of these three articles raise some fascinating questions around workplace environments and lend themselves to some great questions small business owners looking for explosive growth should be asking themselves:

  • How much tolerance should you have for unusual work styles?  
  • As a business owner, what are you doing to attract Outlier employees to your small businesses?  
  • Are you willing to look outside your comfort zone to attract the right kind of talent?

From a personal experience, I can whole-heartedly confirm that being in an environment that’s very accepting of unusual situations, so long as they’re not disruptive, has been very appreciated.  Just this morning my 6-year-old son was not feeling well and didn’t feel like going to his summer day camp.   I could have forced him to go anyway or tried to find a last-minute babysitter option, but I knew from past experience that it would be just fine to bring him into our offices for the day so he could have a quiet day to recover.  Granted, after a little bit of resting, he felt good enough to spend most of the day playing in our recreation room, so I think it’s safe to say my son appreciated his day “off” at the office.

And finally, if you’re looking for a company with a fairly high tolerance for quirky work styles, we’re on the lookout for outlier employees all over the country (and developers in Malibu in particular!) who are looking to make a massive impact within the business world.

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