Making Your Business More Attractive To New Talent


Any CEO or business founder will know that your team constitutes the biggest line item on your balance sheet, but your team is also one of the most valuable parts of your organisation. So, when it comes to recruitment, you need to get it right. That means getting the best person for the job and the best person for your working environment.

In a world of skills shortages and competitive commercial environments, we discuss how to make your business more attractive to new talent.

Talent shortages around the world

According to Forbes, "54% of companies globally report talent shortages—the highest in over a decade". By 2030, Korn Ferry estimates that the global talent shortage could reach 85.2 million people, resulting in the loss of trillions of dollars in economic opportunity for companies.

The reasons for the talent shortage are varied and not entirely clear. However, it's estimated that the following are among the primary reasons:
Baby Boomers are moving out of the workforce and younger generations will not necessarily have the experience or training necessary to fill many of the jobs left behind.

A changing mindset amongst younger employees, many of whom are rethinking whether climbing the corporate ladder is worth it.

Changing needs and expectations - employees are more aware of their wants and needs post-pandemic. For example, the EY 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey found that 54% of employees surveyed globally would consider leaving their job post-pandemic if they are not provided with some form of flexibility in where and when they work.

As a result of this, and other factors such as the evolving mindset of Gen Z, the relationship between employer and employee has changed. Therefore, so must the approach to attracting and recruiting talent.

Recruiting in a start-up or scale-up

It's not just the employment landscape that's changed - the business landscape has shifted in the past 20 years. The biggest companies are no longer the ones changing the world.

There is all manner of start-ups and scale-ups disrupting industries with new products, services and processes, providing game-changing solutions across B2B and B2C sectors. The UK alone is home to 33,860 scale-ups, contributing £1 trillion to the UK economy annually and making up half of the SME economy, which accounts for over 99% of all businesses.

This presents an entirely new frontier for employees at all levels in which they can work, learn, and progress in their careers and lives. Once upon a time, a talented graduate emerging from university would inevitably look to join a blue-chip company graduate scheme, setting them on a path for life. Today, their excitement is in start-ups and scale-ups.

Some might look to join modern industry giants like Google or Amazon. Still, for all their ingenuity, many employees feel that those organisations are so large that they are just another cog in the wheel. Start-ups and scale-ups offer an opportunity to be in an exciting environment where they learn by doing and where they can see the tangible impact of their actions.

However, there are also downsides for top talent with one eye on the future when joining young companies. Those bluechip organisations did have their benefits, as do today's industry giants; they have the resource and capacity to provide experienced leadership and training.

Employee benefits of working for a start-up or scale-up

For new talent, there are lots of benefits to joining a start-up or scale-up. It's an exciting environment; CEOs are usually involved, teams are generally young and motivated, and many opportunities are available.
Benefits include:

  • CEOs are engaged and motivated
  • Young teams are brimming with ideas and enthusiasm
  • They onboard new people quickly
  • They move fast, offering a dynamic and agile working environment
  • You get to grow with the company
  • They make decisions quickly
  • You learn by doing and get to be hands-on in your role
  • It's an opportunity to get involved at the start of something and be part of its growth

Disadvantages of working for a start-up or scale-up

What you don't typically get in a scale-up, which is vital for someone in their first or second job out of university, is battle-worn best practice.

In addition to the broader challenges of scale-ups, which tend to be primarily short-term, (e.g. they tend to be more vulnerable in this acute growth phase), the disadvantages in terms of personal development include:

  • You don't learn best practices as a baseline for making your decisions
  • Leadership tends to be less experienced (which has pros and cons)
  • A lot is done by trial and error

How to offer best practices in a scale-up

With this in mind, many of the scale-up organisations we work with, providing marketing strategy and leadership support, also ask us to be part of the interview process. That might be for CMOs and marketing directors or more junior team members. We do this through our CEO Whisperer programme.

Our experienced CMOs have experience in those established blue-chip companies, start-ups and scale-ups, combined with years of leadership experience at organisations worldwide. Benefits of including them in the interview process as well as your strategic leadership include:

Benefits for new talent

The feedback is that new talent is attracted by the combination of excitement and opportunities that come from joining a start-up and the reassurance of having commercial driven leadership marketing experience delivered by our Fractional CMOs.

Benefits for senior talent

More senior employees, who can sometimes feel anxious about joining a younger team where they may feel they are not a demographic fit, appreciate talking to peers who understand their particular skillset.

Benefits for employers

For businesses themselves, the benefits include:

  • It helps you to understand the value of the person in the room when it comes to hiring senior talent
  • It enables you to attract new talent
  • It allows you to keep new talent
  • It adds value to you as an employer
  • In short, this is an opportunity for scale-ups to gain another advantageous edge, offering the best of both worlds to attract top talent and keep it.

At gigCMO, we have our proprietary methodology for assessing candidates, including a pre-interview survey that helps candidates tell us about their skills so that we can match them with the needs of the business from the perspective of marketing today.

Want to make your business more attractive to new talent? Contact us to find out more.

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