While perfecting products and services maybe at the top of the priority list for many growing startups, maintaining employee enthusiasm in the long-run and keeping the excitement going even when times are hard can have a tremendous impact on whether or not a startup succeeds. As startups grow, various aspects of talent strategy can easily be forgotten, so we’ve created a three-step process to keep talent management top of mind.

Support the staff you already have.

During periods of significant growth and constant hiring, one of the major things startups forget to focus on is their current employees. Headcount growth is great and very important for startups. However, investing in the right tools needed for employee success and strategizing professional development plans for existing employees looking to grow with the organization is equally as important. Just as you set goals for your company, your employees want to have goals they are working towards as well. Their success is your success.  One way to accomplish this is to conduct stay interviews that the managers conduct on a regular basis.  Asking questions such as “What can I or the company do to support your growth and success?  Or “What talent’s or skills do you have that are not being utilized?

Set goals and hire who you need to realize those goals. 

When seeking talent for a startup, it is important to first look in the right places. Do your research and take time to understand where to find the right people?  Have you identified the traits for the positions that you will be hiring.  For example,  working for a startup requires flexibility. The majority of startups have no idea what a certain role will look like six months or a year from now, so they need people who are smart and can quickly adapt with the business. Developing interview questions that gather information on a candidates adaptability and problem solving capabilities can help you vet your candidates successfully.  Lastly, diversity is key. Hiring people with a variety of different backgrounds who have experiences different than the founders will provide the company with an abundance of different skill sets and build a unique company culture. Once hired, promoting inclusion where management embraces new ideas and assimilation of these is also important.

Create a strong company culture. 

Given that startups are unlikely to have brand recognition or strong benefit offerings, company culture can be a strong differentiator for candidates and is going to draw people in. While the culture starts with the company’s leaders, it comes from the employees within the organization and changes over time. Establishing a culture of shared values and strong ethics will keep your company grounded even during change.  Hiring employees with the same values yet diverse can pose challenges.   Therefore, talent leaders should be seeking candidates who will support the company values yet adapt as it may transform over time.