What startups need to keep in mind while hiring to win the war for talent

India has one of the largest tech talent pools globally, but recruiters can’t keep up with the demand for new-age tech skills that have multiplied in volume and value. What are startups and other firms doing to overcome the acute talent crunch?
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India’s startup ecosystem seems to be the place to be now. Courtesy the strong funding , expanding consumer demand, technology enablement, new delivery models, and out-of-the-box marketing campaigns. The growth-fueled environment predicts tailwinds all the way.

So, what’s the one thing that’s holding them back?

Talent.

As startups look to step up their game and grow from X to 5X, they need to add new muscle to their teams – particularly their tech teams. Over the last year, tech hiring has become increasingly cutthroat as MNCs, traditional IT firms, startups, and GICs are all looking to grab top technology talent, leading to an astronomical gap in talent demand and supply.

Recent rankings placed Bengaluru and Delhi among the top 30 startup ecosystems in the world, while Mumbai maintained its rank as the No. 1 emerging startup ecosystem, with Chennai, Pune, and Hyderabad following suit.

It seems natural that being in these cities means greater exposure and better chances of working in the top startups. However, talent isn’t restricted to geographical areas anymore; with borderless hiring becoming a reality, top engineers can work from anywhere around the country. 

Although India has one of the largest tech talent pools globally, recruiters can’t keep up with the demand for new-age tech skills that have multiplied in volume and value.

So, what are startups and other firms doing to overcome the acute talent crunch? Doling out big pay packages, joining bonuses, extravagant perks, goodies like international vacations, iPhones, and the works!

Many professionals are tempted by this and make the switch, but there are plenty who want more. They’re looking for a challenging role, long-term career progression, and greater job fulfillment. And big money cannot solve this problem statement.  

Firms need to think beyond the monetary magnetic pull and work towards an effective push strategy as well. My two cents? Follow the 4C approach; career, communication, celerity, and compensation.

But what do these terms translate to in the hiring agenda? How can they be leveraged? Read on to understand this multi-pronged plan of action.

Career

Firms with high retention rates have one thing in common – a clear vision. A common set of goals and values that bring the workforce together and help the organisation and its employees grow.

It’s not only the CHRO or HR team, having set up a well-defined career progression paths so that every employee can visualise a future with your company. It’s also how founders will be leading from the front. For talent today growth cannot just be visualised; it has to be seen in action and more importantly celebrated more often. .

Communication 

The role of communication in talent attraction and retention cannot be stressed enough. If you are a hiring manager, as the first point of contact, you must implement an engaging communication strategy to reach out to candidates and develop a connection with them.

Communicate what the role is, what the expectations are, what benefits they can look forward to, and how they can make an impact.

One easy check point if you are a hiring manager: listen more than talk more. Have you spent time with the candidate beyond work? You will be amazed at how candidates connect when you go a little deeper. “Tell me more about your project” should not be the only interview question

Celerity

As a startup, agility is ingrained in the company’s culture – and this celerity needs to translate to the hiring practice. Ensure your ‘time to hire’ is optimised and the journey from interview to onboarding is quick.

In an age when candidates are shopping during their notice periods and fielding offers from multiple firms, make sure you follow through to get their confirmation. Speed of documentation, speed of offer release etc all make an impact in the candidate’s mind.

Compensation

Tired of dealing with negotiations, candidate ghosting, candidate dropouts, and bidding wars? Offering BMWs and holidays in Dubai are not the solution! Granted, employability costs for worthy candidates are prohibitive, but it’s crucial not to jeopardise your cash flow. Progressive work culture, exciting career growth opportunities, and attractive employee stock programmes may prove to be a better bet.

In the startup ecosystem, the buzz around ESOPs is at its peak with companies using it to sweeten the deal while reducing their monthly burn. Some of these may sound impractical in today’s environment where the employee leads the interview but know your no regret offer before you start discussing.

As the situation stands, the demand for talent will continue to rise, and you need to implement a 360-degree talent attraction and retention strategy. At the end of the day remember that as an employer you are providing careers, not just jobs. Re-route your sourcing channels, re-think your communication strategy, and re-do your remuneration baseline. The war for talent is already here; go in guns blazing! 

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(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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