I have been the single developer of a 3 man start-up for about 1,5 years and have recently acquired two students, both are engineering students in their 1st and 2nd year of bachelor-studies. This is my first time leading a team of engineers and I want to make sure they have a good experience, I am hoping to employ later on. Some details about the company and students:
- Everyone at the company works for no pay, all the funding goes towards R&D, the company is split 40/40/20 between founders. I am one of the 40. We are currently not making any money in the business, but have received funding to keep us going for the next 18 months.
- The students are free to work on what they want as long as it is something they would have worked on in their free time.
- We pay for materials, supplies and sometimes lunch at the university (where we are daily).
- We do not have an office location, one founder and I are currently doing our engineering master thesis so we are at the same location as the students quite often.
The students seem happy to be working on projects and getting supplies and help from our network whenever they need it, I want to continue this process as it has been fruitful for everyone. I think I am doing a pretty good job. I have weekly meetings with one of the and meet the other one a couple of times a week since they have different schedules.
My question is the following
Question: I want the students to feel like a part of the team such that they will feel inclined to join as soon as we can pay them a wage, how can I convey this message in a convincing way? A contract?