How to Hire and Retain Startup Talent

It’s estimated that up to 90 percent of startup businesses fail, and up to 10 percent of startups fail within the first year of operation. From capital concerns to poor partnerships, lack of market research to being in the wrong market, there are many reasons why most startups don’t make it in the long run. But one of the biggest reasons behind whether a startup fails or succeeds is the people who are working to build the operation.

Yes, it can be said that a business’s biggest competitive advantage is its people. But it goes without saying that there are hiring challenges that startups face in bringing in people that more established businesses do not. You could say that it’s a bit of a leap of faith to join a startup when you know the potential for failure is so high. Yet good people can be swayed by a cause they believe in and the opportunity to build something new and special from the ground up.

Employer brand and company culture can also play a role in employment decisions, as many workers these days are looking for more than just a paycheck and benefits – but a place where they can be happy while putting in their time each day. But building that brand and establishing a positive company culture is easier said than done, especially when you’re trying to attract top talent to move your business forward.

So how can you sway talent to join your startup when there may be equally – if not more – attractive opportunities out there? Start by putting yourself in their shoes. Think about what you’d be looking for in an ideal opportunity. What competitive advantages can you offer that a more established business cannot?

It’s also important not to deceive potential hires. You can’t spit-shine some of the ups and downs that startup businesses are bound to go through – especially in the early days. Transparency can go a long way and can tell potential employees a lot about the integrity of your firm.

So before you list a job posting, make sure you’re putting in the work to build your employer brand and company culture. When you have these two factors in place, you’re much more likely to attract – and hire – the talent needed to get your startup off on the right foot.

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