Hiring the best people is essential to a startup’s growth. As an entrepreneur, you are not likely to be in a position to compete with the titans in your field in salary and traditional benefits. As you run a lean organization, focus your recruitment efforts on those things that often mean more than the size of a paycheck to today’s employees.
Offer equity compensation
For many top-tier employees, the next step in their professional progression is establishing an equity stake in a startup. These individuals have often climbed as far as they can as an employee at a competitor but now want a new adventure. Offering a mechanism whereby top talent can become a part-owner can be a difficult decision to make. Consider tying the deal to performance indicators that will provide company growth that you otherwise would not achieve. If they succeed, it’s a win-win.
Many perks can be more attractive than a big paycheck. Flexibility in the work environment is something that many employees value. The freedom to set their own hours, work from home, take extended vacations, or even bring their dog to work can offset a smaller salary.
Incentivize your current employees
Your current employees may be your best recruiting tool. They know people in your industry, previous co-workers or supervisors, for example. Offer your employees an opportunity to earn extra money by recruiting the top talent they have a relationship with. Not only will they know where to find the best people, but they can also be your best reference.
Put your people first
Word gets around, so make sure you treat your people right. A reputation as a lousy employer can cripple a startup. Just like your reputation with customers, how your industry sees you treat your employees will set the course for your hiring efforts.
Emphasize Why over What
Everyone wants to find purpose in their life – much of which is spent at work. Without a sense of purpose, work – and therefore life – can become drudgery. Every job description and every interview should focus on “why” specific tasks must be done, not just “what” the job entails. If an employee knows why it is crucial for the entire organization that a certain position, no matter how menial, be done well, it will allow a sense of accomplishment to accompany the job.
Feeling that they must put on their game face every day will drive some great employees to look elsewhere. As an employer, you can foster authenticity by being authentic. If your employees see the real you, day in and day out, they will feel free to show up as their genuine self too. If you can express your whole self genuinely, they will trust and respect you. Remember, the employees you work with today will be your best recruiters to find tomorrow’s top talent.