Gary Turner, managing director and co-founder at accounting software firm Xero, shares his top advice to help tech entrepreneurs hire and retain talent.
You’ve only got to look at some of the world’s tech giants such as Facebook or Google to see how a strong culture seemingly shines through. From the top down, it looks like every employee buys into the same values, ambitions and ethics.
To set a similar ethos yourself, you have work out which components make up the culture within your business:
- Why does your business exist?
- How are you helping consumers/businesses?
- What do you believe in?
It will then be clear what your culture is all about. This gives potential employees a better understanding of what’s involved in the role, the company ethos, and ultimately whether they are a good fit.
Find your purpose
Choosing to work at a company should be a life choice rather than just a job.
Thinking about how to engage your employees will get you so far.
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Thinking about how to inspire your employees will get you further still.
Look beyond the CV
A candidate’s CV will give you a good idea on whether someone has the right base skills to work within your business. But, that is all. You need to go beyond. One way to do this before you meet could be to take a look at their online social footprint, to see what they’re writing about and what they are sharing.
What’s even more important is the impression you get when you meet in an interview setting. Rather than going through their CV line by line, ask about their loves, hates and ambitions. And don’t be afraid to trust your instincts. There’s nothing more powerful than a hunch when it comes to deciding who you work with.
Don’t do it alone. It’s important that you involve others in the process to get their opinions too. Are you recruiting in the “mould” of yourself or how you want to be. Think about how diverse your customers are and, therefore, how diverse your employees need to be. From that diversity comes a richness of ideas and perspectives that you will never get if you’re all cut from the same cloth. Make sure you’re recruiting to add to your culture, not taking a cookie-cutter approach to cultural fit.
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What do your employees want?
Sometimes, business owners focus too much on realising their own ambitions, that they fail to make an effort to understand their employees’ wants and desires. If someone doesn’t feel that their ambitions have room to take shape and flourish, what’s to stop them jumping ship?
Work with each individual to establish the richest personal goals you can. That way, they’ll have a clear opportunity to understand the connection between what the company is trying to achieve and their role in that achievement.
No matter how large your business is, take the time to get to know everyone and enable an open dialogue. Google’s Larry Page, for example, is known to mingle with employees and eat at the tech giant’s cafeteria on a daily basis.
Change as a force for good
One of the main reasons people hand their notice in is because they get stuck in a rut. Offer up a flexible environment for employees in which they can try different roles and move within the business.
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Remember that your business is built on people and each person is wired slightly different and needs different things at different times from a career.
Be people-centric in your thinking and if you struggle with that make sure you hire managers who have that way of thinking in their DNA.
Look on the bright side
No matter how hard you work in creating a stellar working environment, it’s inevitable that people will still leave as they grow and develop. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s highly likely that they’ll become a strong advocate for your business in the years to come.
They may even send good people your way or even return in the future, bringing a whole heap of fresh skills with them.