Startup Hacks: where not to take shortcuts

More than half of new businesses do not survive past their fifth year. This is due to a variety of reasons, but having the right team and creating the right working environment is vital. We have outlined three areas that startups tend to overlook and why this could be detrimental to the business.

Recruitment

The cause of many HR headaches. Many employers rush this process, due to the amount of time it takes to find the right candidate for the business, or rely too much on recruiters who do not have the insight into the company culture.

Most founders do not have the experience of interviewing candidates and may not ask the right questions, or look into the candidate’s employment history in enough depth.

Although cutting corners on these aspects may seem time efficient to begin with, this may end up causing far greater struggles later on.

Within the recruitment process, there a few major points to consider:

Job Description – in order to attract the right candidate you need to convey the benefits and opportunities for working in the business, but also be careful to provide an honest and accurate description of responsibilities involved and the expectations that are required to be met. Otherwise both parties are going to be disappointed.

Employee Contracts – hiring a lawyer to help with this may seem like an unnecessary expense, but in the majority of cases, it is more costly not to.

On Boarding/ Training – this may also seem like a drain on time, but not making the effort to spend quality 1:1 time with employees will leave them feeling unprepared and out of their depth. This time should be used to empower new starters and give them the tools and knowledge they need to succeed.

Company Culture

In general terms, company culture is the ‘personality’ of a business, it essentially defines the values of the employees and the internal working environment in the office. It is proven that employees who fit in with the company culture will be happier and more productive.

It’s simple: The better the culture of a company, the better people perform.

This also fits in with the recruitment process. In a small business especially, there should be a strong focus on company culture when interviewing potential candidates. Ask questions that will determine their values, how they work and what is important to them. Try to visualise them working in the office with the rest of the team.

Like other aspects of the business, company culture needs to be a strategic objective to build and maintain.

How do you establish it?

Find people who complement your values – what are your strengths and weaknesses? Find a team who will fill in the gaps.
Communicate and work as a team
Have fun – half day Fridays in the summer?!
Everyone needs to ‘believe’ in the brand, “Chase the vision, not the money” (Tony Hsieh, Zappos)
Great working environment – it might be time to move office, give us a call!

Motivating Your Employees

Not spending a lot of money on employee benefits is going to save you money in the long-term, right? No.

When employees feel valued, they will feel more loyal to the business. This will not only impact their work ethic, and the amount of effort they put into their role, but also will mean that they will stay at the business for longer, therefore reducing recruitment/ re-training costs and so on. Not to mention, many employees admit that perks and benefits are amongst their top consideration before accepting a new job.

Ideas include:

Free food for employees while they are in the office

Personal development fund – offer employees an allowance to try a new sport or craft

Team trips

A generous holiday allowance

Gym membership

Profit sharing

Paid day off on your birthday