CEOs want the best people to work for their companies. But ideally, you want people who not only are good at what they do but also are fans of the business. Is it possible to have employees who are true fans?

Being a sports fan means more than just liking the team. Being a fan at work means more than just liking your job. "Sports starts becoming your identity. And being a sports fan begins becoming part of who you are," says Kash Razzaghi, CEO of Fancred. Its mission is to become the world's largest sports fan network. But Razzaghi seeks to turn its employees into fans of Fancred.

Believe in your company's mission. If you don't demonstrate and constantly reinforce the company's mission, you can't fake it to get people on board, Razzaghi says. "You have to get in the trenches to show your commitment to the company. Your passion and dedication will trickle down and inspire your staff to work for the cause and not the paycheck."

Be transparent. Razzaghi says he may be too open, but he maintains transparency is the best strategy. He believes everyone should know what's going on and how his or her role impacts the business. When people see their positive impact on the company, their commitment will get stronger.

Make all staff members feel like the company is their own. "My ultimate goals as a CEO are to get all employees to feel like Fancred is their own company and to understand that I trust them and have their backs," Razzaghi says. "This sense of security provides the courage to take risks and try new things without fear of failure, knowing I will always support them."

Give a trial period. Fancred hires in a unique way. Instead of going through a series of interviews and then offering a job, the company begins by contracting a candidate for three months to ensure the person is the right fit. Since most people aren't anxious to leave a regular job for a contract, this process may cause problems in the future, but Razzaghi says it hasn't so far. "The employees that we've hired," he says, "have come to us with ideas of how their skills can add value to the team. Maybe that's why."

Focus on one great thing. Instead of looking for Jack-of-all-trades to come in and do everything a startup needs, Fancred seeks candidates with one great skill. Employees have to wear multiple hats, of course, but each is hired on the basis of that one great thing.

Remove any blockers. Since Fancred hires people who are great at one thing, Razzaghi says it's his job as CEO to remove any obstacles to those jobs. No micromanagement, he says, just getting out of the way and letting the staff do their work. "You'll be surprised what happens when you focus on the one thing," he says. "I just feel like we have that at Fancred. Our employees want their peers to succeed because we all succeed."

Published on: May 21, 2015
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