The right employees matter – a lot

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Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, used to ask the company’s first interviewees if they would still work at Airbnb knowing they only had one year to live.

He did this because he only wanted people working for the company that loved it, that bought totally into the mission.

He did it because he knew that employees matter – a lot.

As a result, the top 40 or so employees all felt that they were part of the founding team. And when the company faced a crisis, they came together and lived in the office until the storm passed.

Next to the products and services you offer, employees are the most important aspect of your business.

They are the culture. And they are the most critical touchpoints because their conversations with a customer are more likely to be remembered than an intuitive, fresh website.

Nothing can beat rude customer service, or worse, wasting a customer’s time by talking about a party they were at the night before. (This actually happened to me when I called T-Mobile once.)

So strive to get the best.

Check references. And when you do, don’t just ask if the candidate was good to work with, see if they ranked in the top 5%.

While you’re at it, ask yourself if you’re an outstanding performer, too.

It’s never too late to shape up.

HT to Sam Altman.