Recruitment - what works well
When it’s time to scale and grow your team, it can seem daunting to find the right fit and frame for your business. You want those who you share the same values and ethos, but you also need to balance that with the right skill set to support your business growth.
What matters most?
So, what really matters the most? Can you strike a balance with both? And how should you be presenting yourself and your business to connect with the right candidates? What other factors should you consider?
Speaking to Madeline Parra, CEO of Purple Dot, who offer a pre-sell waitlist platform for e-commerce businesses, "Team is the most important thing to get right, we invested a lot to get that balance right. I always think you should be deliberate with who you hire to ensure they align with your culture. I believe that everyone involved wants that right fit so always take your time. It needs to be mutually right in every way for the employer and the candidate, it isn’t just about skills."
Hiring and retaining developers
There’s currently strong competition for tech and SaaS businesses looking to fill dev roles which adds another layer of complexity to the process.
CEO Maciej Dziergwa of STXNext, Europe’s largest Python software house, says, "Finding ways to stand out to candidates is key, given there is an ongoing shortage of software developers in the marketplace. Among our many benefits, we offer a monthly party budget, reimbursed private medical care, annual training budget for conferences, books, online or offline courses, a relocation package should any developer want to use it to move to another city to be nearer to an STX office location. We also offer workations; team trips where our employees have a chance as a team not only to work together, but also integrate face to face.
We differentiate ourselves by our in-house culture and being transparent about our values and the policies that we operate by. We want to select the best in their discipline. Equally, we want to make our employees happy and successful. So, we offer a fully supportive environment with a lot of employee benefits so we can act quickly to offer when we meet a candidate that is a good fit."
Mustafa Shreet, Director of Talent Acquisition at Silicon Roundabout who specialise in tech and SaaS hiring and is a former developer, says that finding the right balance of company culture is important to attract the right candidates, but not all businesses are successful at it. 'In the start-up world, company culture can be tricky. Lots would like to think they have nailed it, but only a few manage that. It’s something that needs to be thought of and addressed.
Developers, for example, want freedom and flexibility around the start time.They want to work the hours that suit them as well as when they log in and off. In other words, as long as they make the company meetings, meet the realistic deadlines, they shouldn't be confided to set working hours or location. Equally, don’t require them to be in the office unless there's a real need - socialising and company culture isn't a need. And, don't take the office away either. Keep it there should they wish to go in but just don't make it so they have to go in regardless of the number of days. I think that is being reflected more and more in the business model of most companies – they are trying to adapt.'
There is also the constant change within the sector to consider as well. Mustafa went on to say about the tech and SaaS sector specifically, 'The overall structure is better than before the pandemic and is still good. There are not as many vacancies as we had last year, but that will change, it’s the nature of tech, not just the economic state of things. Start-ups should think about all these factors though when thinking about filling roles.'
Recruiting at scale-ups
Theo Margolius, co-founder of Otta, who specialise in recruitment for fast growth companies, offered this advice:
“We’ve focused on how recruitment can look for scale-ups when they have just raised a round of funding and need to grow their teams rapidly. It’s a mixture of our own learnings – we’ve tripled our headcount in the last 12 months – and from working with companies like Checkout.com, Codat and Multiverse, who have used Otta to quickly scale their teams after funding rounds. A lot of the success that fast-growth companies have seen on our platform has come from building a really strong pipeline of inbound applications. You want to attract great talent to apply for your roles, so that your hiring managers and people team don’t have to spend endless hours relying on just sourcing as the primary tool. Some of the biggest things that can help make a difference here:
Being transparent with your salary ranges on your jobs – the most discerning and talented candidates will be selective in the jobs they apply for. So, they need to know that applying to your job isn’t a waste of their time because the salary is totally misaligned with what they’re looking for.
Showcasing benefits which swing the decision in your direction – since COVID, employees care a lot more about flexibility. You don’t have to go to extremes of implementing a four-day working week though. Having a strong hybrid policy (we ask our people to be in the office two days a week, the rest is up to them) is a great way to demonstrate you care about flexibility. Good healthcare coverage and offering a wellness and personal development budget are also a cost-effective way of showing you’re there for your employees.
Investing in your brand as an employer – highlighting your mission, values, ways of working up front all helps candidates feel more informed and excited about what makes your company unique. For some B2B businesses, describing what you do and the impact it makes without using industry-specific jargon can be a defining difference.”
In a recent article, smallbusiness.co.uk pointed out the need to connect with people who 'get' your business and have buy-in to the company journey. 'You want to hire people who are "on the bus" – that is, people who believe in your business, and are there for the ride despite potential challenges. Consistent communication of your message works to establish a team where everyone is pulling together towards a common purpose, while ensuring the overarching goals of the business are being met. Get this right, and you are more likely to attract those who truly want to be a part of what you’re creating, while turning employees into advocates for your business.' ('Hire slow, fire fast – building the right team', smallbusiness.co.uk, Nov 2021)
The bottom line is, each business has the opportunity to determine their own value by the strength of their team. Without their talent and dedication, the engine of the business will not function properly.
Knowing what skills will help your business achieve its potential is essential and understanding the values necessary in your team to blend with your company culture is critical.
Do you know what team assets are non-negotiable for your company to reach its full potential?