Startups run into the talent wall

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es AdobeStock_232990414-k9EF-620x349@abc.jpg

For a startup, having the best talent is of the utmost importance. According to Stéphan L. Maisons, chief strategy officer at Fellow Funders, a company without talent has little chance of raising funding since it will not transmit investors a sense of success in realizing its growth expectations. “Without talent, neither Cabify nor Glovo would be where they are,” he says.

Recruiting highly qualified personnel is one of the primary challenges facing high-growth companies. Many of the best professionals work in multinationals, where they are guaranteed a good salary and job stability. Thus getting them to leave the security of a large company for a new professional adventure converts into a challenge for startups. However, they have several strategies to try to recruit these top professionals.

One is offering shares in the company through stock options. As the co-founder of Cabify, Vicente Pascual, states, “We offer a stock options plan to people who join the company with a certain level of seniority.” The incentive is based on the idea that if the company grows significantly, the price of the shares will multiply, allowing their owners to sell their shares and earn a significant return. “We also offer extraordinary stock option awards when employees reach significant milestones,” says Pascual.

For Maisons, stock options are an excellent tool for recruiting talented workers in certain key positions. At the salary level, startups cannot compete with large multinationals. However, with stock options, employees can get above their salary if rapid growth is achieved or if the startup becomes a ‘unicorn‘: an unlisted firm valued at more than $1 billion.

“You should not attempt to work for a current unicorn, but for one of the next unicorns,” recommends Joe Haslam, professor at IE University. To make the stock options system more attractive, the Spanish government’s draft startup law (approved this week by the Council of Ministers) aims to raise the tax exemption for stock options from 12,000 to 45,000 euros per year.

Recruiting strategies vary from one department to another. While stock options tend to be an exclusive option for the management team, members of other divisions, such as IT development, are often attracted to overcoming a technological challenge. “Developers’ motivations are not economic, but challenging,” says Maisons of Fellow Funders, a crowdfunding platform that allows startups to raise funding.

“If you want to attract a technical candidate, the strategy is always to say, ‘come with us, and you can work with the latest technology,'” says Haslam at IE University. Haslam believes it is much more interesting for computer scientists to work on decentralized finance projects or with the GPT-3 algorithm (an innovative artificial intelligence capable of creating texts as if they had been written by humans). “If you have a tech startup, you need to constantly give challenges to the IT team to keep them motivated,” says Maisons.

Attracting professionals for marketing or sales teams is also different. Here, employees tend to be more motivated by achieving goals related to the company’s goals, including individual professional challenges such as closing a contract with a particular client or deciding to join the startup because they want to overcome the challenge of positioning the brand as the leader in its sector.

A cross-cutting factor in attracting talent is the company’s wellness policies, which include different measures like teleworking days, office quality, organizational culture, or working only four days a week. “We believe work-life balance and flexibility are essential levers to promote well-being and retain talent,” says Pascual from Cabify, a company that offers a paid Friday off every month, among other initiatives.

Reassessing needs

At first, attracting talent represents a big challenge for startups, persisting as the company grows and its needs change. “The initial team selection is crucial. However, once the team grows, you have to evaluate whether the roles at the beginning are right for the next one,” says Vicente Pascual, co-founder of Cabify. When the company expands its operations abroad, hiring the best local talent to join the company to bring different ideas to the table is essential. “We have discovered things in Peru that we have then taken to the rest of the countries,” he comments.

Source: ABC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top