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Chapter 4. Staffing Up - Pg. 86

86 Chapter 4. Staffing Up Staffing Up in Action Dusty and Alex's pitches to former Defunct employees, which had gone well to begin with, gotsignificantly more traction when they told their former staffers that they could be getting paidquite a bit sooner. Everyone wanted Double D up and running. Revenue from the port wouldenable them to put an office and a network together, lease a bunch of machines and the software they'd need, and have some leftover cushioning to pay people for work on the prototype.Defunct's office admin- istrator had found another job already, but she gave Dana lots of adviceon what it took to run the HR side of a game company, including the name of the lawyerDefunct had used for all of its HR work: Robin Canigget. Even though Robin was more expensive by the hour than Michael, Dana figured that the work would be done more quickly andwith greater expertise about the issues peculiar to a game company. Despite the excitement and the prospect of solvency without fundraising, Dana insisted that thefounders sit down to work out a budget and staffing plan before any further discussions withprospective employees. After they figured out what resources they'd need for the port andwhat would be needed to have a pitch build ready in four months, they came up with salaryallocations. At first, they'd wanted to bring everyone in as an independent contractor for theduration of the port, but Dana knew from her talk with Robin that most of their workers wouldprobably fail a legal test of whether they were independent contractors or employees. "ExceptQA, since they'll be short term. We can get QA in as contractors." She suggested that they hire everyone else as employees and adjust the salaries downward toreflect the additional expenses and taxes of employment. Given the precarious position of thecompany, they agreed that Double D couldn't afford benefits until they got a long-term contract. Again it was decided that Dana would handle the details: employment agreements, setting up ru- dimentary policies and an employee handbook, and making sure that every employee understood Double D's position and had an accurate understanding of the company's insecurity. As Dana put it: "I don't want anybody coming here who couldn't handle being unemployedin six months." Robin came up with a basic template for Double D's employment and independent contractoragree- ments (see end of this chapter). Introduction In a development house, your people are your core asset. They are also a primary source of legal difficulty. Hiring a staff is not just about buying computers and writing checks. There's payroll, ben- efits, insurance, state and federal laws, intellectual property, and confidentiality to worry about. This chapter will help you learn how to take care of your employees while protecting yourself against the volatilities inherent in all HR relationships, as well as providing a few pointers on avoiding common morale killers. In this chapter you will learn: