David vs Goliath: how start-ups battle it out for talent acquisition and retention

talent acquisition, leadership practices, barriers

One of the most talked-about topics in business has been around staff acquisition and retention over the past two years. From the great reshuffling to the great resignation, it has left many businesses (big and small) in a predicament. How do start-ups and small businesses compete with what seems to be a bouquet of benefits that larger companies with a small team dedicated to people and culture can offer?

The answer might just be simpler than what you think.

In a post-pandemic world, businesses being “kinder” is no longer about a tokenistic gesture that’s good for optics; it is an imperative. “Profit with purpose” is the credo that business is increasingly subscribing to and expected to demonstrate as the kind of business employees want to be working for.  Connection and kindness have been two of the qualities the world craved most while isolated from each other, and people have reassessed their purpose, how they relate to one another at home and especially in the workplace.

Small businesses offer large scale flex

Smaller businesses and start-ups have the benefit of adopting new and bold ideas quickly, listening intently and acting on the feedback of staff and the hiring landscape.

Ping Pong tables and Friday beers are no longer what draws great talent to business, nor does it keep them there. Meeting individual needs, whether that is flexible hours, location, leave days, travel time, job share or even encouraging side hustles, could make all the difference when you are acquiring and keeping the best in the business.

How to develop and retain a strong team

Employees crave to know that they are a part of a bigger socio-economic or environmental (or both) solution, how their role ladders up to making a difference in the greater scheme of things. Authenticity, impact, kindness and flexibility are some of the values that you should try to demonstrate to attract and keep your most valuable employees.

Speaking at our recent Bambuddha Corporate Kindness Awards in Sydney, John Carroll, a highly-regarded leadership, people, and brand coach and well as being a CEO and advertising company start-up, spoke about how in seven years not one person resigned from his start-up and he puts this down to implementing the five principles of a high-functioning team:

  1. A team that knows its purpose.
  2. A team that is self-managed.
  3. A team that understands and respects each other’s strengths.
  4. A team that shows two-way trust between leader and team member.
  5. A team that shows kindness and caring for each other.

Without a clear value and purpose-driven proposition, businesses will end up with an even greater number employees who feel dissatisfied and disconnected and will ultimately lose the acquisition and retention battle.

Leading with kindness to help talent thrive

Often kindness is regarded as a soft skill, however, there is a world out there that has no idea how to incorporate this important skill with authenticity. Business leaders need tools to identify and embed kindness into leadership repertoires, leaving them inspired, resilient and knowledgeable about how to lead with kindness and social responsibility.

At the end of the day, the people who are working with you want to know that the skills and time they bring to the business will help shape the future of humanity in a kind way, and beyond the bottom line.