Trivantis Corp. hires the best Featured

7:00pm EDT February 24, 2008

Timothy Loudermilk wants

a work environment

filled with self-motivated performers. So to create that

environment, the founder and

chief software architect at

Trivantis Corp. hires the best

people he can and then trusts

his employees to do their jobs.

“If you are in a company

where you need to manage

people tightly, then I think that

what you have is you have a

company of people that are

relatively unpersonally motivated,” says Loudermilk, who

managed the 85-employee

provider of publishing technologies and services company

to 2006 revenue of more than

$10 million.

Smart Business spoke with

Loudermilk about how to hire

the best people and how to get

the most out of them.

Q. What do you look for in

employees?

First of all, I look for people

with specialties that are better

than what I can do. I don’t

think you can be afraid of hiring people in their field that

are better than you.

For example, at this point, I

can assure you I am not the

best computer programmer in

the world because I’ve moved

away from it over the years. I

have a team that’s just the best

in the world that I can find.

But, I think you have to be

confident in the people you

hired, and you have to look for

people that have real expertise

in their field.

Q. How do you find the best

employees?

I think it’s really hard to pop an ad in the paper and hire

someone. Your best places to

look are really to your own

employees first.

Many of the people we’ve

added to the business have

been references from other people in the business that are very

happy and very excited about

the job that they have. They’re

your best possible recruiters.

Our development team in

Florida, for example, almost

everyone that is on the team

was recruited by word-of-mouth. It’s very popular, word-of-mouth, in a marketing

sense, to talk about products. I think in this generation, it’s just as important on employment.

Occasionally, we will

use some outside professional recruiters, and the

reason we do that is

some of the folks that we

work with have a keen

sense of what we are

looking for because I am

looking for the top 10 percent performers to hire.

And when you have a

company that’s 15,000 employees, you might be

able to afford to not have

the top 10 percent performers. But, when you

have a company that’s

85 people, everyone’s contribution really matters.

Q. How do you motivate your

employees?

I think there are certainly

ways to motivate. You probably

have to keep from demotivating them more than anything

because I think some work

environments that are highly

structured can be somewhat

demoralizing to professionals.

So, what I want to do is create an environment in which they absolutely love to work.

That means an environment of

trust, of personal responsibility, and they have an opportunity to contribute to the end

product. I think it’s really

important that they be able to

see and use the end product

that they are working on. And,

of course, that is coming from

a software standpoint. It’s really easy to look at the product

and realize your contribution

to it, whether it be in sales or

whether it be in development.

Q. How do you show

employees that you trust them?

First of all, you should never

give them deadlines. You

should actually get them to

buy in to deadlines.

Let’s say you have a particular project. You look at the

project, assess how long it’s

going to take, let them assess

it in their sense, agree to it,

and let them be accountable

for saying, ‘Here’s where I am

on this project.’ I think that

there’s too often a tendency in

business to set random dates

that mean nothing. I don’t

think that’s the way I choose

to manage this business.

We agree to dates that are

real, and then they own them

— they are accountable for

them.

Q. How has hiring the best

people and trusting them made

the company a success?

Everybody personally has an

investment in the end product.

When you have a successful

end product, everyone feels

the success of that. That’s the

critical component.

Whether it be in sales or

product development, having

a successful company takes a

lot of different skills across a

broad range, and when people see the success of the

company, they need to understand that, that is their personal success.

So, the reward system has

to be there in terms of financial, stock options. Profit-sharing is appropriate. Those

all have to be in line.

HOW TO REACH: Trivantis Corp., (513) 929-0188 or www.trivantis.com