In a speech at Harvard University in 1943 Winston Churchill observed that “the empires of the future will be empires of the mind.” He might have added that the battles of the future will be battles for talent. To be sure, this battle is being fought not just amongst larger players but more importantly by smaller players since what we need are quality resources and each hire has to add value and proposition towards organizational growth & ROI.
No matter how big or small you are, talent acquisition is a challenge. As a startup with limited resources looking to be successful in the recruiting war, you have to pick the battles that you can win. Being positioned against IT giants, I’m constantly hearing about cool office spaces, interesting employee benefits, shocking salaries & lucrative bonuses. No one can deny that monetary incentives can play an important role in recruiting, but outspending your competitors or some of the tech giants is not the answer. One needs to take advantage of the unique characteristics of being a small or startup organization and really understand people’s motivations. As a startup you have to play the game differently to win.
Here are some thoughts that I implement while having conversations with our prospective hires and strategies we work on to retain good talent-
- Opportunity Vs Brand Value – talk about the kind of projects and interesting technologies one gets to work on once they are on-board. This not just builds resource’s technical profile but also gives individuals potential to look forward to in terms of learning, better monetary benefits, moving up the ladder etc. some of the tech giants today in the services domain may be great brands to be associated with but do not offer the same opportunity and exposure to projects that compact or startup Organizations can.
- Skill Vs Organizational fit – think about the cultural fit of the candidate with the existing team and not just the skill bit to prevent difficulties later. Great talent that is not a good cultural fit will still not work out for you! If the choice is between a skill & organizational fit, it’s a better proposition to hire the latter because you can build or improvise a skill faster than inducing culture/character in a resource.
- Continuous Recruitment is the Real deal– smaller companies should continuously be focused on building teams bottom up. Bringing fresh blood in the organization is one action plan and the other is to make recruitment 24/7 activity. If you are a start up, don’t miss out on good talent at any level at anytime.
- Invest in every conversation you have with Candidate and not just one’s you select – Every candidate you speak to can be a potential hire for tomorrow. Conveying the decision to not hire is as important as offers one makes. You never know when you get a project overnight and need resources to start immediately. Therefore it’s important to close things on a good note, communicate & keep candidates well informed in the process. Remember we are not just closing positions but also building a brand image of the organization. Do not shy away from communicating your decision of ‘not to hire’appropriately .
- Retain & Develop– do what you can to retain good & reliable talent. Help them develop new skills and continuously upgrade the existing ones. This can be a powerful incentive to people in your organization and Best Mantra to retain them.
Finally would like to end by quoting Jim Collins which says it all: “It is one thing above all others, the ability to get and keep enough of the right people”.This should our lookout to win this recruitment war.