A few years ago, I met serial technology entrepreneur, Heidi Messer, at a CEO Summit hosted by Astia, where I serve as a board member. Astia is advancing women into high growth entrepreneurship. I asked Messer how her priorities have changed since her first start-up experience. Unlike most CEOs who focus solely on sales or product development as an early stage imperative talking point, Messer said that human resources and culture have evolved as top priorities from the get-go. We talked about what successful companies do to attract talent.
Culture and people determine success. I get it. But, now what? How does a CEO ensure that she hires the right people and cultivates the right culture from the get-go? I turned to Sue Stockdale, author of Motivating People, consultant, speaker, and contributor at PSDNetwork LLC, where I am co-founder, for some tips. This is what she shared:
1. Subscribe to social media platforms you think your potential employees follow.
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are only the beginning; look at Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr. Make sure your messaging on each platform is consistent with the story you want to tell about your business. Every touch point is a possible opportunity to engage prospects.
2. Use a behavioral assessment tool in your recruiting process.
Consider the skills, experience, behavior, and values that are important for your business and map them to the candidates you have coming through the door. You might find a candidate with the right skills and education, but not the right culture for the team you are building.
3. Be prepared to invest in your employees.
When you are running lean, like most start-ups, you rely on your staff to deliver fast results. But, your approach to their development needs to be long-term if you want to attract the right talent and keep them with you. "View your job as enabling your team to succeed," says Stockdale. You want to give people a reason to be led by you today and tomorrow. If you invest in hiring on and developing the right staff, they will invest in you.
4. Offer competitive compensation packages.
The war for talent for key positions is tough, even with economic uncertainty. "Candidates are looking for what's in it for me," says Stockdale. Competitive compensation packages that don't break the bank, opportunities to directly impact direction, and inspiring leadership styles all contribute to the attractiveness of candidate and employee engagement.
Over and over I hear from founding teams who learn that they chose the wrong staff or realized too late that they hadn’t created a structure and talent pool conducive to the type of corporate culture they desired. Don’t let this happen to you. Invest in the right people and you build the business you want to lead.