If you are following your entrepreneurial instincts and launching a start-up, there are lots of obstacles to overcome. First and foremost, once you have laid the groundwork for your business using the advice available on resources like Foundr, you need to get skilled, experienced people onboard to join you on your journey forwards.
These days it is not too tough to find talented employees to recruit; the real challenge is convincing these prospects that they should apply for the available positions in the first place. Indeed it could cost you more to hire people if your reputation is not squeaky clean.
So how do potential new hires work out whether your company is reputable, and what are the red flags that might put off those who could otherwise be an asset to your organisation if only you could get them onside?
When most people encounter a business or brand for the first time, the next step will be to check out the firm’s website. This is not solely a means of finding out more information; it also gives outsiders an opportunity to see how your organisation presents itself in a public sphere.
If your site is sluggish to load, difficult to use, ugly to look at or any combination of these issues, it will leave a bad taste in the mouth of casual visitors and prospective employees alike. A neglected site, or one which simply feels outdated, will reflect badly on your start-up.
Conversely, if you have a slick site powered by the best web host provider you can afford, complete with relevant details of your aims, ambitions, achievements and other info, you will be much more likely to tempt in anyone who might be casting a critical eye over your online presence.
To some people, social media is an immensely powerful tool that can be a brilliant option for budding brands looking to flourish in an increasingly digital-centric society. To others, it is a difficult and potentially problematic aspect of the modern world which creates just as many opportunities to fail as it does to succeed.
Whatever your opinion on the matter, there is no denying that even start-ups need to maximise their use of social media as soon as possible.
Just as it has been standard practice for all businesses to have a well-made and maintained website for decades now, it is becoming the norm for organisations of all sizes to manage a multi-platform social media presence in order to attract customers and employees alike.
It is not enough to simply create accounts on the relevant networking services where your business may be searched for; you also need to endeavour to keep these accounts active and engage with other users in whatever way seems appropriate.
That way, when a prospective employee searches Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn for your start-up, they will not come up with no results, but will instead be presented with the content you have published.
Effective social media use lets you control the narrative around your business, developing its reputation and demonstrating its value from day one, which has a boatload of benefits aside from encouraging job applications.
It is to be expected that brand new start-ups will have had little or no engagement with the media in their early stages of development, but for smaller firms that have been operating for longer or even larger organisations that are well established, a degree of press coverage is to be expected and even desired.
As with social media management, you can be proactive about how you engage with the press. Remember that even getting a story published in a local outlet will be beneficial, since it will give anyone who searches for your business a place to read about it without solely relying on your own website or social accounts.
Issuing press releases to coincide with product launches, achievements you have made and milestones you have hit can, of course, be helpful. Furthermore, you could endear your business to prospective hires by getting involved with charity events, community projects and other endeavours that portray it in a positive light to the casual observer.
There are good guidelines to follow if you want to make sure that your press coverage is managed effectively. Ultimately having a full-time PR person onboard will be helpful, although obviously for start-ups this will take a while to become viable.
When prospective employees start to do a little digging after seeing your job listing or being directly contacted by your business to request that they consider joining the staff, one thing that will make or break your fragile reputation is the way it treats its workers.
It might be difficult to demonstrate this effectively if you are a tiny team at the moment, but you can counteract this by publishing information about your employment policies, benefits and overarching cultural ethos as a way to reassure third parties.
Job perks can be many and varied, with joining bonuses being the least ambiguous of the bunch. However, you also need to present your start-up as one which cares about more than just the financial side of business-employee relationship. Accounting for the wellbeing of employees as part of your core business principles will show applicants that you are on their side.
There are other ways for your business’ reputation to be assessed by prospective employees, but these are the central areas on which you should focus your efforts.