How to retain talent at startups – Our Story

  • Vikas Chawla
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  • Published Date : 3 May , 2018
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  • Updated Date : 24 May , 2021
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    • 5 min read

Getting your business off the ground is a challenge faced by all startups. The key to a successful business largely depends on the kind of talent you hire which will eventually make or break your startup. But apart from finding good talent, the challenge for most startups is how to retain them, so they continue to contribute to the company’s journey. As a five-year-old company, we at Social Beat have a vibrant team of talented members from diverse backgrounds. This has helped us establish a handbook of basic hacks which helps us ensure we are retaining our top talent.

Know what you are looking for

As a company, the first step to hiring good talent is figuring out what your definition of talent is. You don’t necessarily need another ‘you’ onboard no matter how likeable that obviously makes a candidate. Instead, you want to look for complementary strengths which will help in driving your company forward.

Before interviewing, identify the challenges you need this talented individual to solve. This can be achieved by using role-wise assignments or tests for the candidate so you can understand their skill set. To assess the depth of their expertise, you can look into the day to day work they have completed in previous roles. You can also ask them a set of questions that will give you a good idea of where their strengths and interest lie. Some of these can include:

1. What decisions were you accountable for in your previous role?

2. At what point do you pass on your work for inputs and approval?

3. What assignments do you enjoy the most and which ones do you find difficult or boring?

Position your Brand

Not everyone will be comfortable with the ambiguity and the lack of structure that can exist in a growing company. This is why, we at Social Beat always insist on giving a brief about our company to help the candidate understand our company, its values, and the goals we stand for. We encourage an open discussion on how the structures in place at their previous organisation compare to our company.

Every conversation is a dialogue, where the candidate receives as much information as they are sharing with us. A candidate’s decision to join our company is just as important as yours to make an offer, and therefore they should be well-informed!

Culture is the key

We cannot stress enough on how important the culture of an organization is for a team member to decide their future with the company. Defining your culture, the values you stand for and how they are inculcated within the team should be your first task. An organisation’s culture goes beyond what the leadership says they want the culture to be. Culture is created, perceived and passed on by the team members of the organisation through their interactions with managers and other team members. Their experience with the processes and workflows the organisation has put in place also contributes to their perception of the company’s culture. At Social Beat, we ensure we take our new team members through a proper onboarding process with a well-designed induction process. A major focus of this session is on “Social Beat Values“, which is taken by the Founders. We also welcome them onboard with a customised welcome kit comprising of a few goodies and office essentials. This contributes to their understanding of our company’s culture.

One of the most important factors for attracting talent is cultivating an atmosphere that makes your team members happy to come to work. This can only be achieved when they believe in you and the values you stand for. This is why we are very stringent in our hiring process. A great candidate with the right skills but not the right culture fit will never be our final choice. We believe if we find the candidate with the right culture fit, we will be able to hone their skills further. For us, the values they stand for make or break a deal.

We recently made the below video to showcase our culture - to give prospective team members a quick glimpse into our lives.

Create an attractive work environment

Your top talent will choose to work with you only if they believe they will be offered a role where they can learn and grow. Social Beat prides itself on ensuring we maintain transparency with our team members regarding their roles and responsibilities. We also take our team members' satisfaction at work very seriously. This is why we provide flexi-hours, work-from-home options and a well-balanced leave policy (which includes perks such as a 6-day block leave) to ensure that our team members' welfare is at the centre of our policies. We also encourage more women in leadership roles to ensure that our work environment promotes equal representation.

Team Member engagement and development

The famous saying: All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy stands true to this day. Fun@Work is a must if you want to ensure your team doesn’t burn out from stress. This is why we have Game Nights planned very often along with Chit Chat sessions every alternate week where we share the latest trends in digital marketing and some of our success stories. Apart from this, regular team outings like our Diwali lunch, anniversary celebrations, birthday celebrations with personalised cards, etc. are things we conduct on a regular basis. We also ensure we enable the scaling-up of our team members by having training sessions on alternate Saturdays and inviting guest lectures/trainers to interact with our team. By demonstrating that you respect the development of your staff and are invested in nurturing their talent, your leadership style will naturally catch the interest of top performers.

 Build your employer brand

If you have a good employer brand, you might not even need to post job openings -top talent will come to you. What's involved in an ‘employer brand’? It's simple: having a reputation as a good place to work and providing value to your team members rather than only asking for value from them. Stop being a 'best-hidden secret' and get yourself noticed. Conducting seminars in colleges, publishing papers and books and participating in conferences arranged by top companies across the globe is something our leadership invests in heavily. Social Beat's participation in the NASSCOM Content Marketing Masterclass, at the I-CANN-ISOC Round Table on Security in India and our Social Beat's participation in the NASSCOM Content Marketing Masterclass, are some of the examples of how we actively participate in the digital marketing space. We also encourage our team members to actively take part in the same. Find small ways to stand apart from the rest and your brand will immediately gain recognition.

Team Member recognition, career growth and benefits

One of the most common reasons people give for leaving a company is that they feel unappreciated. That makes team member recognition measures one of the best ways to ensure your talent remains loyal to your startup.

As a startup, you’re in charge of a relatively small team of team members. This gives you a chance to connect with your team members on a personal level and get to know them better. Use the information you know about your team members to make sure the recognition you give them for their efforts is personal. We at Social Beat have always believed in providing a personal touch while recognising an achievement of an individual. Being a startup also allows us to maintain flexibility regarding enabling career growth and fast-tracking our top performers unlike the rigid timelines followed by the big companies. We ensure we are flexible with our policies and keep them in line with the values we stand for. Our flexi-policies around promoting talent and providing career growth to our top performers ensure that we give them the right opportunity, at the right time instead of making them wait for the fruit they have so rightly earned.

As quoted by Henry Ford - “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”


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