Right talent is the fuel that keeps start-ups burning

14th Jan 2019
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It is crucial to identify and hire the people who will not just drive your mission but will also be instrumental in taking it to the next level.

Every startup stands on two pillars that are the very premise of its existence – disruption and talent. Disruption not only in the sector they operate in but also in how they conduct their operations, of which hiring and managing talent is the most important aspect. Talent, or people, are the most important assets in any organisation – more so, for start-ups.

What is most important is to find the right talent for any startup, for the direction that a startup moves in depends entirely on the people driving it, and it is these people who are responsible for the other key factor – disruption.

The aspects of hiring and managing the right talent are quintessential for building a successful business and culture.

Hiring the right people

Hiring needs to be driven by the equilibrium between job role and the potential hire. If the person is not fit for a particular role or doesn't fit into the culture, sooner rather than later, he/she is going to leave. With startups, more often than not, the founder is ‘chief-chef-bottle-washer‘ and the function of HR is unaccounted for. In such a scenario, having a basic onboarding checklist for every new hire ensures minimal lapses. For a startup, the replacement cost of an employee can cause unimaginable losses, and this is exactly what makes hiring the right people even more crucial.

It isn’t necessary that the person who is being hired needs to be a know-it-all. What really seals the deal is if they’re willing to go that extra mile to learn, and find a culture-fit within the organisation. Team players are precious. Multi-taskers, an added bonus. Couple this with adaptability and agility, the constant hunger to grow and a keen sense of observation, and you’ve got yourself a startup material hire.

Creating a desirable workplace

The fact of the matter is, most great places to work are decided by the people who work there. Be it the tech giant that constantly innovates keeping its people at the centre of the innovation fulcrum, or the ad-tech startup that encourages entrepreneurship to an extent that they actually incubate and fund their employees‘ business ideas, most successful brands were once infant startups who did nothing different but hired the right people, and nurtured them to glory.

The thing to remember here is, your people will treat your brand exactly how you treat them. The more love and care they receive, the more they’re likely to give in return, and that is exactly what a startup needs in infancy – love and care. Developing a thriving culture is imperative.

Employing the new disruptors – the millennials

Millennials are the primary growth drivers for the Indian economy today. More than 46 percent of the workforce today constitutes of Generation Y. They’re dynamic, adaptive, entrepreneurial, fast-paced, social, interactive, have that ‘spark’ everyone keeps harping about, rarely feel satisfied without real growth and are an absolutely boisterous bunch. Startups are the new-age powerhouses, as are millennials. They don’t care much about brand names. Challenges and experiences drive them, just as they’re driving growth.

The Gen-Y loves a challenge, instead of that said ‘marketing manager‘ position with the world’s oldest technology company, and startups provide them exactly that – a growth challenge. The best part is – it is the millennials who are behind most successful startups today, and who understand their generation better than them?

However, with all the hullabaloo around how great millennials are for startups, there lies within a challenge that cannot be overlooked – attrition.

Retaining the millennials

There is always the risk of attrition with startups and millennials. However, not one that is difficult to solve. As they are always on the move, there is a risk of them being easily ‘bored‘. It behoves us to keep in mind to not only to hire great people but also to retain them. Especially without an established HR function in place, it is very easy to fall into the rut of hiring and firing, resulting in high attrition that is as good as poison for a startup. Therefore, talent once hired has to be nurtured with care and great responsibility, same as one would feel while working on, say, an important project for a startup.

Gone are the days when great talent would still have to keep looking for jobs. With intense competition in the industry, it is almost always the companies who approach potential candidates. No matter how meticulously the process is designed, the human element of the entire affair cannot and must not be overlooked.

In a nutshell, as an entrepreneur, hiring, nurturing and retaining talent is as important as building a business. Identifying and hiring the people who will not just drive your mission, but will also be instrumental in taking it to the next level. Who shall share the pain and glory of a startup, and stand by you no matter what? The real win at the end is the people who stay with you, through the thick and thin.

Something David Ogilvy once said that would strike a chord with all startup founders, “Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it. Look for people who will aim for the remarkable, who will not settle for the routine.”

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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