Startups are more dependent on their early hires than most would like to admit. The people who get in on the ground floor will have a lot asked of them, but in return, they can help drive a company to incredible heights. If you want your startup to succeed, it is vital that you get top-tier talent. Even if you don't have a great payroll budget, you can still find ways to attract top talent and build the kind of employee base that will help your company scale and grow.
There are many ways in which startups can attract top talent. While many methods do require spending quite a bit of cash, there are others that leverage what makes your company special and what it can realistically offer its employees to attract the best minds in your field. You'll have to do some significant work to get all of the factors in place, but the steps you take now will ultimately translate into the creation of a company that's better able to find and retain the type of people who can really make a difference in your company's future.
1. Before you start to hire, define your company and the team you want to build
Hiring does not begin with the interview process. Of all the ways startups can attract top talent, perhaps the most important happens before you begin the process at all. You'll need to take a moment to define:
- What you're looking to build
- What kind of company you ultimately want to own
- What kind of people you need, to get you to your goals
Once you know that, you can start looking at the type of team you need to make your dreams a reality.
There's no such thing as an employee who is a perfect fit for every business. Instead of going after the type of person who your competitors consider to be a top talent, try to go after the people who will make the biggest impact on your business. When you know what you need from a team, you can make smarter hiring decisions and you'll ultimately be able to bring in the employees who are the best fit to work for your company.
2. Create a company culture around the talent you want to attract
If you want to attract the right people, you have to create a culture that will appeal to them. Now that you have decided upon the type of team you want to create, stop to consider what that type of person would want from you. Look at statistics on work-life balance, perks, and even office design to get an idea of what the people in your industry actually want. Try to find a way to mesh your company's values with the type of people who are crucial to your future goals. With the right work, you can create the type of environment that can persuade even the top tier of talent towards working for you.
3. Develop an online following and hire your fans
Social media can be a fantastic recruiting tool. Start by establishing a great online presence, and then start working to attract people in your industry. You can spend time making your company look attractive online, helping to develop a passionate fan base that will be more than eager to work with you. Try to establish a solid presence on the platforms not only most prevalently used in your field, but those used by students of your startup’s discipline--creating fans of your business is a long-term effort, so you want to start building the enthusiasm as soon as you can.
4. Hire raw talent that can be developed
It costs quite a bit to hire a rockstar employee. This makes sense, as you're looking at someone who is not only talented but who has put a high-level of effort and time into her or his training and education. It may not be possible for a startup to hire the kind of person who has had decades of experience in the field and who can change the company's future with his or her actions, but it's entirely possible for startups to hire the kind of person who has the potential to become a once-in-a-lifetime talent.
Smart startups are able to identify those individuals who have a great deal of potential and bring them into the fold while they are still developing. Your business gets the benefits of a person who has a tremendous amount of raw talent, while the new hire gets the benefit of the type of training that will maximize his or her success. Identifying and molding new and developing talents will allow you to hire the best employees before your competitors are even aware of their abilities.
5. Empower and reward your employees
One of the most important ways startups can attract top talent is to make its workers part of the company's success. It's important not just to create a culture where individuals have to own up to their mistakes, but one in which they can celebrate their victories. Employees who feel like they have a real stake in the company not only work harder, but they attract other employees who are likely to do the same. It's vital that you create a system in which employees are given a chance to feel like they're part of an organization that cares about them.
Make your employees feel invested in the company. Let them own their mistakes and celebrate their victories. Implement profit sharing programs, performance bonuses, family and friends discounts, provide leadership opportunities as ways for your employees to feel invested and rewarded for their efforts.
79 percent of people who quit their jobs cite ‘lack of appreciation’ as their reason for leaving, according to media reports.
There are many different perks that can make an employee feel special. It can be as simple as In-and-Out's policy of giving its employees free burgers during their shifts, or as big as REI's policy of giving employees time off to enjoy the outdoor activities that have fueled the company's growth. And, when it comes to trust and empowerment, it’s hard to beat Netflix. They offer their employees unlimited vacation time, whether it’s two weeks or two months.
When the benefits are connected to the culture of the company, it becomes more likely that workers will see the value of sticking around and bringing their best to the company that does so much for them. As a business owner and leader, you retain the ones that value this trust and commitment while you let go of the people who do not. Follow this simple rule and you’ll have a strong and capable team before you know it.