Employeeless No More

We just hired our first employee.  Well, technically that’s not true.  Back when we were doing SEO and web design work we had a few contracted employees.  But for Pure Adapt in it’s current e-commerce centric state, he is our first employee.

Who?

His name is John. He’s our accountant’s son. He just graduated from High School and will be attending college locally at Siena. Both he and his father are into detailing. His father actually came in on Christmas Eve last year and did some last second shopping for John for the holiday.

Side note: it’s a pretty good endorsement when your accountant wants his son to work for you. I mean, he gets to see our numbers. More than anyone, he knows how good of a company we are and has a pretty good idea of the company we’ll become.

Anyway, I think working for us is a pretty good gig.  I would have loved his job when I was 18.  It pays more than a job like Target, you have flexible hours, you can wear mesh shorts and a t-shirt to work, you can listen to your iPod while you work, and the labor isn’t all that intensive since the majority of our products are small and light.

Why?

The most obvious answer is because we can.  We’ve had a great year, which has afforded us the luxury of hiring someone without worrying that a few bad weeks could cause us to miss a payroll.

Plus, it was time.  We’re a few years into this now and we need to start learning about employees:

  • How good are we at managing them?
  • How much productivity can we realistically expect from them?
  • How long does it take for them to pick up on things?
  • How can we improve at training them?
  • How much time do they really save us?
  • How do they fit into our company culture, which is very strong and somewhat unique (being that we’ve all known each other almost our entire lives)?

We’ve talked about all of those things at length and discussed so many scenarios that it makes my head spin.  At the end of the day, the only way to know is to try.

Benefits

Greg has been training him this week.  He’ll be the primary person that John reports to.  I was there on Monday and Tuesday, and both days I personally already benefited from having John there. His main tasks are to help pack orders, stock shelves, make boxes for orders, and break down boxes from deliveries. Those tasks can be time consuming, tiring, and unpredictable on top of an already busy day.  There’s nothing worse than getting in “the zone” only to have a delivery show up that takes an hour to unbox. Now we can just leave it for John and get back to work.  That’s so valuable.

Greg is probably the only one who hasn’t seen the benefit because he’s shadowing him and teaching him. It’ll probably take a few weeks of that for John to be totally up to speed, which is obviously to be expected.  But Greg is the perfect person to be doing this. He’s done quite a bit of soccer coaching (he played D1 soccer in college) and in general has a personality that lends himself towards being a good teacher. He explains things well, he’s got a very positive attitude all the time, and he’s very patient (something I don’t think you can say about the rest of us).

What’s Next?

Right now he’s working 3 days/week from 9:30 AM to 2 PM (his choice), giving us 13.5 hours per week. That 13.5 hours will help us a lot and cost us very little. Assuming this goes well, I think we’ll try to shoot for having 1-2 workers from the hours of 9 AM – 3 PM every day. With that, we could probably quadruple our size before having to reassess things.

The problem is how you fill those hours. Is it a combination of part time employees? Or is it one full time employee? Both have pros and cons. I think for the time being we’re content to just see how this plays out over the summer and then move from there.

Fun and exciting stuff though.  It’s new territory for us, with a new opportunity to learn about and improve upon our business.

3 comments on Employeeless No More

  1. Brad says:

    Congratulations! What a huge step for the company.

  2. […] first two weeks with our first employee have been a fascinating experience for us.  John has picked up the job much faster than we […]

  3. […] I spent my day training Charlie, our second part time warehouse employee.  Like John, he picked everything up very quickly and by the end of the day was able to do 90% of the work […]

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