"I got a job at one of the fastest-growing companies. It's the e-cigarette company, Juul. They have a valuation of more than $15 billion!"
"No way! I got a job at the technology, real estate company, WeWork! We do shared office spaces where the walls are really windows, and people get free beer and spa water!"
Juul announced layoffs. WeWork announced layoffs. When a company goes from a $47 billion valuation to a $8 billion valuation in a couple of weeks when nothing has changed about their business or the economy, something is screwy.
When you're 22 years old and fresh out of college, you should be wide-eyed and excited. New companies. New ideas. Startups. If not now, when?
However, there is a difference between being one of the first 10, 20, 50, or even 100 or 200 people at a company, and being one of the thousands hired. Joining WeWork as employee No. 3,705 isn't being part of a startup. It's being an employee at a big company, and when you find out it's not profitable, that should scare you. The average employee duration at a company is less than 4 years, so odds are you won't be there when it turns a profit and/or if the stock is no longer under water (if you had any stock and or it wasn't diluted).
So, if you run a company or are a manager at a company that is "boring," embrace it! Talk about the great things at your company when recruiting talent, like:
- Not having done any layoffs
- Internal promotions/career tracks
- Size (small, medium and large all have positives)
Think about the pro-employee things a small, boring company can provide that a Juul, WeWork and Uber can't. Your employees are more than a number. Show them. Embrace human resources (resources for your humans!) Have proactive conversations by conducting retention interviews with your people. Conduct cross training. Do teambuilding activities and have committees that are cross-functional. Organize good old-fashioned happy hours and softball teams for the whole company.
The best thing a boring company can do is invest in its people by providing training and development. If you don't think you can afford a full-time trainer, then allocate a certain dollar amount annually to each employee for external training and learning, whether it's $500 or $1,000. What you are truly doing is giving your staff the gift of time to go learn and become better people and better professionals.
You may think of your company as boring. You may think you can't compete against the Silicon Valley titans, but you can. Not everyone wants to be driving a Ferrari. They go in the shop a lot and repairs are expensive.