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Someone has very rightly said, “Great vision without great people is irrelevant“. But being a startup, hiring good people might prove to be a struggle, since you neither have the cash, nor a fancy office to get the attention of the kind of people you are looking for.

Bringing the right people on board a business can make all the difference, and it’s particularly important for start-ups to lure the best and brightest talent. Any mistake on this front would take a direct hit on their capability as a business and slow down their progress. Since resources (including talent) are scarce for any startup, it is important that they perform optimally. Here, every person’s contribution counts and a wrong hire will only ruin the equation.

Here’s how you can, not just attract, but also retain the best talent:

Build your company brand

A key factor in attracting and retaining the right talent is building the company’s image. The startup should be attractive to future prospects and people should want to a part of the business. Word of mouth also plays a big role. In fact, employees can be the best brand ambassadors for a business. If they share positive feedback with others about the company, it would attract more like-minded people. Employees can also be offered a monetary incentive for successful referrals to quickly find talented people for the organization.


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More and more startups are realizing the power of ESOPs to hire the best talent, particularly for positions, where the salaries are not easily affordable. It’s difficult to resist an offer where there are chances of turning into a millionaire overnight, should the company get funded or acquired or go for an IPO.

ESOP`s come with a lock-in period, so employees can exercise the options only after the vesting period is over, and hence they are likely to stick around longer to reap the gains. Employees also get a sense of ownership in the organization if they have a significant number of shares and that will automatically motivate them to create value for the company.

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Did you know, nearly one fourth of the ecommerce startup Flipkart’s 7000 full time employees own a stake in the company. Over 400 of its employees turned `millionaires` after the firm received $1 billion (Rs 6,000 crore) in funding.

Flexible timings and work-life balance

Do you realize what a huge talent pool is lying untapped in the form of freelancers or others who prefer to work part-time or work-from-home, owing to personal constraints. But that doesn’t make them any less worthy for the job, because they could be equally or even more driven than a regular employee to excel at what they do. Some of them include women, who now prefer to be work-from-home moms. It’s common to find many who ditched their high-flying corporate jobs to look after their families and can prove to be a huge boon for your startup. Moreover, since they are comfortable with the work-arrangement (owing to a better work-life balance), they are likely to stick around longer. You will save money not just on salaries, but also on office resources by hiring people who work remotely. It’s likely that such talent will be available at relatively lower salaries because they strive to work for personal satisfaction and not just for the big bucks.

Other Intangible benefits

A lot of freshers now prefer to join a startup, over a larger and more established company because of the immense and all-rounded learning prospects across functions and the opportunity to grow along with the company. There’s no denying that as a good performer it is easier to get noticed in a startup with only a limited number of employees as compared to a larger company where hundreds or thousands of people are employed. So the adventurous millenials often chuck those handsome job offers in pursuit of a risky, yet more satisfying startup job.


While the risks of joining a startup are high, the rewards, if the company is successful, can be much higher. Also, the money doesn’t lures everyone. Work-life balance and other intangible benefits (such as a good or ‘cool’ work environment) is equally important with today’s generation of professionals. So, cash in on these aspects and tap the right people who can help you turn your vision into a reality.

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