Managing The Human Element At Your Start-Up

Managing The Human Element At Your Start-Up

In this blog, we will learn about the term human element and the reasons why it is the most important resource in your startup business.

A startup is only as good as its people. The human element is the single most essential driving force for success at such ventures. Let's face the facts, here: startup managers need to hire good people. It's the only way the company can grow and set itself up for success. Ideally, you want to be prosperous at any stage of the startups development, so being meticulous when hiring employees is important. But it's also equally important to understand that you need to offer fair compensation and carefully cultivate your talent.

Remember that with a startup, you are already working at a disadvantage—even if startup growth is increasing considerably every single year. The company has yet to be developed and proved to be a viable, liquid entity. Therefore attracting and hiring talent is going to be a lot more challenging. But as a stalwart, enterprising entrepreneur you can easily rise to the challenge.

Hiring At Any Stage 

Getting a startup off the ground is a challenging endeavor on its own. Keeping it running successfully comes down to hiring (and retaining) the best possible talent you can find along every stage. Indeed, nothing is more vital to continued success than the human element. Hiring for your startup takes an educated approach and a bit of finesse. Startups are usually separated into three stages: the seed-stage (early), venture-funded (growth), and late. Hiring at each stage of the startup is critical to success.

This is especially true in the early stages, when things might not be well established. Employees who come in on the ground floor might require a different approach to hiring. As the company evolves, management will need to adapt to both hiring and interacting with employees to manage them effectively.

Take A Unique Approach To Interviewing

Take A Unique Approach To Interviewing

The golden rule of hiring should be "Never waste a potential candidate's time." They also shouldn't waste yours! When searching through your talent pool, be sure to select qualified candidates. Then, take a unique approach to interviewing. Startups have had some trouble in the past hiring sales managers, mis-timing the hiring process, and failing to hire a diverse pool of candidates. As a hiring manager, it's crucial to ensure you can find and hire talent. Do this by spending some time assessing and speaking with candidates.

Find ways to increase work-life balance, offer fair compensation, and explain in detail the parameters of the job. Only by rethinking your interviewing approach can you reasonably expect to find the best talent for your startup.

Compensate Fairly

Nothing is going to bring employee morale down faster than poor or unfair compensation. Offering proper compensation at a startup can be tricky. That's why it's critical to follow some general principles to help guide your decision making. First and foremost, employees should be fairly compensated for their work. Never deviate from this idea! Employees need to receive a salary that is commensurate with their skills and experience. These should be paid out or offered at the market rate for similar positions—especially if your goal is to retain your talent for a long time. It's vital to know what you can afford at the current startup stage, the range you can offer, and figure out the best path forward for your new hires.

Consider other forms of compensation as well. These might be stock options or equity wugrib the company. That can keep them invested over the long term and empower them to grow with the company. Compensation packages must be tailored to each individual employee's needs. That's just the reality of hiring. Something that works well for one candidate could be entirely inappropriate for another. Attracting and retaining top talent isn't easy or simple, but keeping these compensation tips in mind can be a fantastic blueprint for success.

Hire With Soft Skills In Mind

Soft Skills

There's an important question you should ask yourself throughout the recruiting process: are you hiring with soft skills in mind? Soft skills—skills focusing on communication, thinking, and cooperation—are always something to look for in potential candidates. Per The United States Department of Labor,  soft skills such as professionalism, strong communication (written and oral), critical thinking skills, and the ability to work as a team are some of the most important soft skills employers are looking for right now.

These skills are in high demand for a reason. They make collaboration and teamwork simpler, open up communication, and create an overarching feeling of cooperation for the entire team.

Manage Expectations and Be Transparent

The hallmark of good leadership is transparency and leading by example. Possessing the traits of a good leader are only a small part of retaining your talent pool. While it can be useful (and ideal for office culture and motivation) to cultivate these skills for yourself into your employees, it's equally as important to manage team expectations and be as transparent as possible. At any business, it's pertinent to provide clear direction and expectations, regardless of your industry.

Employees should be clued in on what their expectations are and how their work impacts the organization. Transparency is the key to all of that, providing opportunities to collaborate, innovate, produce, and grow. Being transparent during early stages of the startup and continuing as the company grows will only yield positive results from employees as time goes on. 

Utilize Employee Recognition

Employee Recognition

Creating a positive environment where employees feel appreciated, valued, and like they're contributing to the goals of the company should be a top priority. If you want to keep employees motivated and get them to put their best efforts into their work, employee recognition as an award can be a powerful tool at your disposal. Advancement opportunities and competitive salaries are only the tip of the iceberg. Keeping your employees engaged and happy truly is key to any company's success.

Consider implementing a recognition platform for employees and managers alike. Employee recognition can be a tremendous, powerful force for positive change at all levels of the organization. Do you want to improve morale and productivity? How about making your employees feel wanted, content, and valued? Of course, you do! The startup might fail otherwise. Disengaged employees can be a death knell for any startup—especially in its early stages. 

Recognition isn't merely limited to recognizing a job well done. It's about building a positive culture, recognizing milestones, highlighting achievements, and helping employees grow as individuals. 65% of workers surveyed in a recent study didn't receive any recognition from management at all. It doesn't take someone with an advanced degree to realize that's not a good thing! A major reason workers are leaving companies in droves is due to feeling undervalued and unappreciated.

Don't let your startup succumb to the same fate. Fight back by using a robust social recognition platform like the one offered by Workhuman. With artificial intelligence, an open communication/feedback platform, and the potential to reduce stress, a good social recognition platform can be a comprehensive human resources solution that will help turn your workplace into a happy, productive, and stress-free place for all.

Offer Opportunities To Grow With The Company

Offer Opportunities To Grow With The Company

Stagnating or stalling at a company does little to improve employee morale. Employees often don't want to remain stuck in the same roles forever with no possibility of upward mobility. It is the duty of an employer to offer their employees opportunities to grow with the company. According to Indeed.com, growth opportunities have much to offer employees.

They provide a sense of well-being, improve work performance, and ultimately lead to happier employees. Making this connection with your current and future employees can be as simple as mentoring them and helping them develop/hone their skills. Offer opportunities to learn more about the company or provide tuition for additional education that could have mutual benefits. Training, re-training, certifications, and additional responsibilities all help employees learn and grow with the organization.

Help Employees Achieve Work-life Balance

Work-life Balance

As of April 2021, 51% of respondents said work-life balance was the single most important attribute of any organization. The national survey—covering what factors contribute most to job satisfaction—tells us one crucial thing: employees desire balance. Stress and tension are bad for the employee's health, potentially leading to immunity problems, burnout, and poor engagement. Improving work-life balance comes down to taking steps to helping employees have a good balance between their professional and personal lives. Sometimes, a quick break can be helpful. At other points, employees need to be provided with manageable goals, some flexibility, and regular feedback.

Avoiding contacting them about work related matters when they aren't working is the first step to improving work-life balance. While they're at the office, consider offering parental perks (like free daycare), wellness programs, and opportunities for gaining additional paid time off (PTO).

Consider partnering with an auto insurance company to help them get a discount (if that's something your company can do). Allowing them to work remotely in some cases can be greatly beneficial as well. Helping your employees with their work-life balance will not only contribute to better health, it'll help your organization by providing you with happy, productive, and loyal personnel well into a successful future.

Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

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