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7 Talent Management Mistakes Startups Need To Stop Making

We often hear that effective talent management is one of the biggest challenges for a startup, but it doesn’t have to be. Establishing a streamlined and goal-oriented system from the start can save you time and money, and contribute to a happy workplace environment. Today, we’re sharing some common talent management mistakes that startups make, and how to avoid them. Want to learn more? Be sure to join us later this month forTalent Management for Startups with Mercerat Garage Academy, where we’ll be discussing actionable points for startup talent retention, trends in pay & HR planning, and insight into what Millennials are looking for in a job.


BRAND YOURSELF

The topic of 'employer branding' is often brought up when discussing talent management for startups. We're all too familiar with the 'cool' (often tech) companies everyone wants to work for, and the main reason for their success is strong employer branding, where potential hires understand the company’s mission statement and core values right off the bat. This is particularly important for Millenials, who have a tendency to base their decision-making on the basis of whether or not they’re able to make a contribution to something bigger than themselves. Understand what you’re company is about, pinpoint why it’s unique, and apply those findings all external communication.

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

It’s common for startups to be understaffed when they’re just starting out, which means that employees must take on a diverse range of responsibilities. While this is fine in the early stages of a company, it’s important to make clear distinctions as soon as possible because a jack-of-all-trades approach to management can be inefficient, and potentially lead to conflict. While ‘mavens’ and ‘guru’ titles are fun, it’s important for the actual scope to be clearly defined.

24/7 ACCESS

Having a dedicated team right from the start one determinant for startup success. While it’s great to encourage a strong work ethic within the team, many leaders go too far in expecting their employees to be accessible 24/7, of which technology does well to make this even easier. That being said, it’s important to stick to the parameters of a normal workday even for a startup in order to avoid burnout and dissatisfaction from the team. Furthermore, trusting your employees, rather than micromanaging them, is the only way for the individual to develop and help move the company forward.

HOP ON THE TRAINING TRAIN

Often times, startup leaders assume that if they spend resources to find intelligent and capable individuals, then good performance will follow. But this is not always the case; skimping on proper talent development and training means that even the brightest talent may not be able to perform to their full potential. Investing in the time to properly train staff directly lowers turnover rates and increases productivity in the long-run.

ANIMAL HOUSE

Google has ushered in an age where the workplace is more playground than office. While having video games and beanbag chairs does help to increase employee satisfaction, it’s important to know when to draw the line, and know that professionalism is not dead. Having a proper and disciplined operational structure is absolutely necessary for the long-term productivity of the company. You can cultivate culture without having animals running around the office – the key is to encourage openness and sharing when it comes to establishing traditions and bonding activities.

YOU DESERVE A GOLD STAR

Similarly, there’s a tendency to incentivize employees based on work perks like company socials or higher salaries or equity. While parties are great for team bonding, perks should only serve such a recreational purpose, as opposed to being used as part of a reward scheme. The reward for good performance should be the end result alone, and an effective management system is one that evokes these values, which also goes back to employer branding. Additionally, tracking performance goals and keeping employees accountable is the best way to encourage transparency, and is another important factor for employee satisfaction.

MIDDLE OF THE ROAD

It seems that everyone is a manager nowadays, even recent graduates. This is especially true for startups, who promote early employees to middle management even if they don’t have the needed experience. Management in itself requires training, and just because the individual has experience within the company, doesn’t mean that they’re capable of leading their own team. This may be true for CEOs and Founders as well. Implementing a proper management requires time and other resources, so it may be worthwhile to bring in consultants or other parties to help the company along in this process.


Talent management has long been a critical yet untouched domain in the startup ecosystem. Talent management issues such as retention and remuneration are all issues that have significant implications over the growth and development of a startup. In this session, Mercer consultants Alfred Sun and Vincent Choy will share with you strategic advices over the domains of talent retention and remuneration, which will enable you to make informed decisions in solving talent management problems. --- Tuesday, 28 April | 7 - 9 pm QRC Garage | 299 Queen's Road Central FREE! Register HERE

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