Over the years we’ve had numerous part-time workers, both in the warehouse and contracted workers doing various web stuff, but today was the first day that we had a full-time, salaried employee. The position is warehouse manager, and the guy is Charlie, who has been with us on a part-time basis for just about year now. Through his consistent hard work he’s proven beyond a doubt to us that he’s the right person for the job. No one else was even considered.
Given that we each only come in two days per week (everyone on Monday, one person each of the other four days), there was a big need for someone to “own” the growing warehouse responsibilities on a consistent day to day basis. We envision him being the person who trains and manages all of the other part-time (and maybe full-time) warehouse employees as we grow.
We’re super excited to have him on full-time.
Internally, what we had to get done to make the hire happen was very interesting. We had to bulk up our company policies documentation. We had to define his role. We had to decide on a benefits package – we’re covering the full cost of health insurance, something we plan to do for all of our employees. We had to get him a key to the building. We had to set up a laptop for him. We had to set him up on Google Apps and give him the appropriate access levels to various features. And that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. It’s been an ongoing process for several months, one that will hopefully set us up to hire full-time employees for years to come.
We’ll begin to reap the benefits of having him around right away. Already today he was responsible for opening the warehouse before we got there, and shutting it down after we left. For now, we’ll be keeping our schedules, but long term this opens up the possibility for us to get together during business hours – say for a meeting, collaborative work, or even a meeting with our lawyer (something that we previously have had trouble scheduling) – while still knowing that the warehouse is being taken care of by someone we trust.
The other immediate benefit of having Charlie around will be to “cut the cord” on some of the communication between Greg and the rest of us. Greg handles customer service and inventory ordering, both of which require him to be in constant contact with the warehouse. Sometimes it can get tricky when he needs to talk to me on Tuesday, George on Wednesday, and Mike on Thursday. Now he can communicate directly with Charlie all of the time. This should really help simplify things and eliminate some communication mishaps.
In the big picture, it just feels good to create a job, hopefully a good job that can provide a good life to Charlie for a long time. And given that we bootstrapped our way to profitability, this isn’t a job where we’re spending our angel investment to hire a bunch of people in hopes that we’ll eventually make enough money to be able to justify keeping them on. It’s a real live job that isn’t going anywhere. It’s one of the most important roles that small business owners play in helping the local region that they do business in, and the economy as a whole.