3 Ways to Keep Your Best Talent for the Long Haul

February 4, 2017

2:30 pm

When trying to get a startup off the ground, a lot time and effort goes into developing the product and reaching the customer. So much so that founders often forget about the most important part of the company: the team. And without a solid team behind you, you’re going to have trouble making waves in your industry.

It’s no secret that a strong and dedicated team is the key to growing a successful business, but building that team can be challenging. But if you follow some important lessons about hiring, you’ll be set up for success in no time.

Always Be Looking

When you’ve got a small team, the process of looking for an employee can take a lot of man-hours, which distracts you from working on the product itself. Eventually, you’ll start to view the hiring process as a distraction. Clearly, this isn’t the right mindset while seeking out the best talent, so you’ll need to come up with an alternative method. Instead of waiting until you have a need, create a pipeline of great candidates that you can stay in touch with.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll always searching for candidates, even when you don’t have a direct need at that moment. This way, you can build relationships and improve the odds of making the best hire. By building a prospect list, you’ll essentially eliminated the usual matrix that exists where you have to be actively hiring for a position and the candidate has to be in job-search mode. The pipeline allows you to explore future candidates that we might not need right away and who sometimes might not be in the job market yet.

Keep It In-House

Outsourcing might seem like a cheap and quick solution for bootstrapped startups, but it often comes at a price. Consultants and outsourced work often end up having a narrow scope. This may work for a few projects here and there, but when growing a company, it isn’t sustainable.

The man-hours alone spent finding the right person for a freelance job can quickly add up. Combine that with onboarding talent for the project and building rapport and trust, only to have do it all over again when the next project comes along takes up a ton of man hours. In the days of telecommuting and conference calls, it has become commonplace to outsource work, but it can also be hard to develop a team atmosphere from halfway around the world.

Promote From Within

In terms of hiring the right people, there is also something to be said about hiring for the right positions. I’ve talked to other founders who struggle to put together an executive team before actually hiring for the departments. While this might work for some, it’s better to holding off on hiring at upper levels when you can grow the necessary talent from within.

By hiring junior employees, you can groom them for future management roles. This isn’t just about saving money on salaries. It’s also about not getting too big for your britches. The six months you might spend searching for the perfect executive team member can be spent developing the product alongside a junior person who may, one day, become that executive. And who’s more likely to stay invested in the growth of your company: a new executive or a team member who already believes in the company and wants to see it succeed?

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