- Posted by alpina_admin
- On 9th May 2017
- 0 Comments
- Start-ups, War for talent
Recruiting talent with the right set of skills is essential for the growth and development of any business. Yet, when it comes to attracting that talent, smaller firms can sometimes feel outgunned by their larger rivals. Talking about a “war for talent” may be something of a cliché but, nevertheless, is not a concept that any business can afford to ignore.
All successful businesses have their strengths, and smaller firms are no exception. For those smaller businesses, it is sometimes all too easy to focus on the inevitable clout the big firms bring to the talent marketplace. Their comprehensive benefits packages; opportunities for overseas secondments; a full arsenal of administrative support; and the cachet attached to working for a “big name” firm, are just some of the advantages that many smaller firms fear they cannot match. For some, this will simply not be true: their benefits packages will stand alongside those of even their largest competitors; they will have secondment opportunities aplenty; the administrative support they provide will be excellent; and their name or place in the market will offer all the CV-enhancing cachet any employee could desire.
Other small businesses may have to think laterally when looking to hire new talent. This means remembering, and focusing on, the intrinsic advantages of being a smaller business. The sheer size of many large businesses can force them to adopt somewhat bureaucratic, and hierarchical, operational structures. These models can be very much “one size fits all”, permitting little room for doing anything outside of the norm, regardless of individual needs.
Smaller firms have the freedom to take a more holistic approach, placing far greater emphasis on treating employees as individuals. In addition to allowing for more tailored staff development plans, they can often provide for far greater flexibility when accommodating employees’ outside interests and commitments. Ambitious individuals, keen to progress their careers, may be attracted by an employer that places great importance on personalising every employee’s development plan. Meanwhile, potential recruits looking to juggle childcare, elder care, or even a favourite sport or hobby, with a fulfilling working life, inevitably will be attracted to an employer that promises to look seriously at flexible working requests.
A further advantage of a smaller firm, which bigger rivals rarely share, is the greater potential for the fluidity of roles within the organisation. An employee in a smaller business may be given chances to develop their own position, and perhaps also to work outside it, in ways that higher head counts and more rigid business structures cannot permit in larger organisations. Not only can this be excellent for a smaller firm’s own business development and revenue streams, it can also highlight opportunities for entrepreneurship and career progression that otherwise would not have occurred to the individual concerned.
And of course, privately-funded and VC-backed start-ups and scale-ups may offer the carrot of equity and a potential exit in 3-4 years as a powerful inducement for those prepared to look beyond their salary and bonus towards longer-term wealth creation opportunities.
Serious candidates put a great deal of time, effort and resources into researching firms of interest. It is crucial that smaller firms seeking to position themselves as offering something truly different from their larger rivals ensure that they achieve appropriate publicity.
How and where they go about this will depend, to some extent, on their target job-seekers. Well-crafted social media campaigns are crucial, supplemented by direct engagement with students at milk rounds and careers fairs and with experienced workers at trade fairs and industry networking events. Finally, judicious use of traditional media, including both the mainstream and trade or professional press, can be a game-changer. Information gleaned from these sources can result in “light bulb” moments, in which individuals have their existing preconceptions challenged, coming to realise that the smaller firms they may otherwise have discounted could be their perfect next step!
This article was written by Gary Reeman, Managing Director, AlpinaSearch. If you’d welcome advice on winning the war for talent at your technology start-up or scale-up, head over to http://alpinasearch.com/clients/