It is no great revelation that hiring the right people is critical for business success. This is even more important for mission-driven enterprises, which frequently face a more complex business model. I’d like to share a few hiring suggestions based on interviews with over 40 business leaders:
1. Be careful to clearly understand the appropriate mix of mission and profit orientation for the specific role. A balanced approach to mission and profit can be hard to find, and is not equally important in all roles.
2. Passion for the mission is important for management and client facing roles, but not necessarily in supporting roles where technical expertise or experience may trump passion. These employees may find their passion in some other aspect of their job, and that’s okay.
3. It is critical to have a top manager (Partner/COO/CFO) whose primary expertise and focus is financial, yet with a passion for the mission. Mission-driven enterprises can over-focus on mission to the detriment of profit; leading to limited growth, weak social impact, and even going out of business.
4. Do not allow a candidate’s passion for your mission to override good hiring sense. Passion does not trump competence.
5. Pay the going rate for the position, regardless of your profitability goals. Underpaid staff will leave for greener pastures, and you’ll spend an inordinate amount of time and money on hiring and training.
Mission-driven enterprises may have access to many strong candidates excited about the organization’s mission. Take full advantage and select the best people for the long term success of the organization.