Access to Talent: 8 ways startups can improve their hiring and retention


Key takeaways on how to nurture the best talent during disrupted times.

Tips, hacks, do’s and don’ts from recent content created by Eagle Labs, with links to the source articles and videos if you want to learn more.

Recognise the link between freedom and happiness

Give your workforce the freedom to establish where and how they work, and they will reward you with their trust, loyalty and most productive hours. That’s the experience of globe-trotting founder, Danish Soomro.

Learn more about the rise of the global nomads and why hiring them can make your startup stronger.

Listen actively if you want to really connect with colleagues

If you’re only listening so that you find an opportunity to start speaking again, then you’re doing it wrong. Active listening means being fully attentive to what the other person saying, as well as observing their body language. If you can approach the conversation without preconceptions, then all the better.

Emma Jelley, leadership coach and former head of legal at Google UK, shows you how it is done with the aid of some Lego people.

Consider the worth of your company culture

Research by GlobalData found that open job vacancies among larger UK tech companies dropped by almost 20% in May. The knock-on effect for the startup world may include greater availability of talent and lower salary expectations, but founders are also reporting hiring freezes as budgets are cut. Cash-strapped startups looking to recruit should consider how to communicate the value of their culture and ways of working.

Read our overview of how Covid-19 is impacting hiring, including six tips for remote onboarding.

Go big on being small to attract ambitious graduates

Startups may not be able to match the salary or reward packages of big corporates, but what they can offer is responsibility and variety. Being thrown in at the deep end is a familiar part of the startup experience, where small workforces mean that staff often have to wear more than one hat. And flat management structures not only allow graduates to see how the business is run, but also have their voice heard much more easily than in the grad programme of a major corporation.

Discover more ways to attract the best graduates to your startup.

Press record to help new colleagues feel part of the team

Hiring remotely is a novel experience for most businesses and creates a range of challenges, including how to help employees settle in quickly. Having their new colleagues record and share brief personal introductions is one way to make the experience feel more human and allow the new hire to put names to faces.

Debby and Phillip Clement of HR management consultancy Peopley share more tips including how to use tech as part of the hiring process.

Look out for virtual experience

Covid-19 is limiting the practical experiences open to would-be employees. Normal internships, work experience and volunteering opportunities have become difficult and, in some instances, impossible. Many at the start of their career, including students sent home from university, are looking at alternative approaches and founders may need to change their mindset to give value to such virtual experiences. One startup that is helping meet the need is BrainCeek, which provides virtual work simulations but with real assignments from real companies, providing real feedback.

Founder Jason Fan explains more in a short video.

Improve your documentation

Virtual onboarding and remote working makes it hard to ask the dozens of questions that arise for anyone in a new role. Make life easier for new employees by developing more thorough documentation for each role and ensure they are constantly updated.

This advice comes from Yapily founder Stefano Vaccino in this highlight from a recorded panel discussion.

Don’t forget the needs of staff returning from furlough

These are unprecedented times and no one knows what issues may arise around staff returning from furlough. Some form of re-onboarding will be required and managers should check in regularly to make sure that those returning to work feel supported and included.

There’s more advice and information around furloughing here.

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