3 Benefits that you CAN offer (other than equity)
Congratulations! You did it. You escaped the boredom and sanity of a “regular” job and took the plunge to do something crazy, tried something that hasn’t been done and built your own company! After years, (or most certainly what feels like years) you’ve grown your little start-up to the place where you need help. This should be good news. But now what?
Where do you begin? You probably don’t have the money to offer competitive salaries yet, you don’t have enough people to offer the usual bells and whistles, or you may struggle to even offer the basics. You might be asking yourself if you will ever be able to recruit the best people to join you on this crazy journey.
Good News! Don’t be discouraged because there ARE other crazy people out there who are ready to jump into the deep water with you! How do you find them? What can you offer besides the money?
- Job Titles and Advancement Opportunity. Big corporations have many levels of leadership already established, pre-written job descriptions and clear expectations. Start-ups are often more ambiguous (and exciting, of course) and are pursuing rapid growth. Your start-up can be a springboard for future opportunities within your organization or even outside. Encourage your potential new hires to be part of the process in determining job title, responsibilities and advancement opportunities. Is there a process in which your Junior Associate can become a Manager and eventually a Director? Can that happen within a pre-established timeline and assuming they exceed their goals? If so, encourage your potential hires to consider their long-term potential and how quickly they can advance if they join your start-up.
- Flexibility. A common myth is that part-time schedule equates to part-time commitment. In fact, the exact opposite is true! Many candidates are not engaged in the corporate world due to the strenuous expectations regarding number of hours or required travel. Instead of considering a temporary or contract workers, consider hiring half-timers who can offer your start-up limited hours regularly. MomSource Network connects start-ups to educated professional moms who have experience and expertise but need reduced hours or the option to work remotely. Retired executives often have impressive specialities and a desire to share their learnings if they can work fewer hours. Graduate students will consider limited hour schedules if their employer is willing to work around their class schedule.
- Perks and Other Fun Stuff. Your start-up doesn’t have to be Google to be able to offer creative incentives. Sifted coordinates catered lunches for start-up employees, MomSource Network offers to pay for family vacations for top performing employees, Rustici provides a “jenefits program” that offers personal assistant services. The trick to offering the right perks for your team is to understand what non-cash currency they value. Conducting a survey or facilitating a focus group is a great way to think about what you can offer to both your existing and future teammates.
Every hire matters when you are a small team and every person’s contributions make a significant impact on the ultimate success of your start-up. Don’t wait until you can offer a all-or-nothing benefits package to grow your team but instead, do what you do best and innovate! Create the right culture, find creative ways to hire the best people and then give them the autonomy to help guarantee your start-up is as successful as they are!