Why start-ups can fight for top talent and win

talent acquisition, recruitment

What benefits do you use to attract talent to your organisation? Salary is the obvious one. Perks and freebies attract some people too. Even though salary is the first thing we establish when creating a role – and often the first thing potential candidates look at when applying – other aspects of work can affect how satisfied they are in a job far more directly.

It’s critical to think about these other aspects, particularly in a tough market where tech companies struggle to find the talent they need. It’s even more crucial to start-ups, as they usually don’t have the deep pockets big companies have to entice workers.

Technology start-ups and scale-ups have many advantages compared to big corporations, and they should emphasise this as much as possible to attract talent. These companies have unique opportunities for employees that allow them to fight for the best talent and win. Here is why:

Not a cog

One of the most obvious but seldom discussed selling points is that start-ups allow employees to be very involved in building the company and products. Unlike big companies, no one is a cog in a massive machine.

This means a better view of your work’s impact on the start-up itself and the clients. You know what is happening with your work and that it makes a difference.

Closer to passion

Start-ups are born to solve people’s needs, and they only survive if they have a true passion for what they are doing. Usually, founders and leaders in these companies are highly connected with their work areas and offer a chance to transform them.

In successful start-ups, the opportunity to impact a sector you love is real. Of course, people will need to be interested in the particular issue the start-up is solving (not all companies are the same), but there is no better place to make a difference if you love your area than a start-up.

Move fast

One of the biggest advantages of working at a start-up is that you’re not smothered by bureaucracy. Customers are usually nimble and make quick decisions. Markets move fast, and what you believed was the best solution last month might not be now. This means you have to be prepared to abandon or change what you are doing or how you are doing it just as fast.

It lets you avoid what many of your peers have to deal with – office politics, navigating conflicting directives from multiple departments and managers and managing egos and petty jealousies.

As the pace of change is much higher, you concentrate on doing the work instead of managing the workload (or managing a bloated company structure).

Development of you

We all know the can-do, hierarchy-free profile at a start-up, it’s a million miles from many big corporations’ “it’s-not-my-job” culture. This work style makes everything you do a learning opportunity. Sometimes there isn’t much glamour in being a chief cook and bottle washer at the same time, but the sheer volume of experience is invaluable.

You’re going to learn, you’re going to learn quickly, and you’re going to learn at the coalface of doing it instead of pretending or studying.

You will have the opportunity to explore wide due to the agile structures, zoom in on the stuff that appeals most and dig deeper. With time, you’ll have more hard-won, high-quality professional development behind you than contemporaries in more established work structures.

That extends not just to what you do as a designer, software engineer or data scientist. The biggest feather in your cap will simply be that you built something, kept multiple plates spinning and shepherded a business to scale – a unique experience that teaches you lessons for life.