People are the best competitive advantage and this holds equally true to startups. The challenge for startups is the same as large corporates viz. how to attract and retain good people?
In case of startups the challenge is even more difficult as they are at the early stage of evolution with no guarantee for ongoing success. The resources are limited. These factors make attraction and retention even more challenging.
Once the founder or co-founders build up their core team, they have to ensure the stability of this core team for their venture to be a success. They also have to mentally accept that a major portion of their time and effort should go towards engaging with their people. This may come as a shock to many founders as they would like to passionately focus on what they know best, for example, technology. However, this investment of time and efforts with people will pay for itself multiple times.
Most people join startups as they believe that the business model addresses their passion. Thus, at the recruiting stage itself the founders have to ensure that they are inducting only such people who passionately believes in the business model.
Also remember that people joining startups are shunning the “corporate” ways of day to day business, which means complex structures and processes. Thus, the work environment and culture of start-ups need to be different. While strong processes are important to success of any business including start-ups, they should be restricted to only critical areas of business.
A genuine interest in the well being of the employees, mutual respect, an opportunity for them to contribute positively to the success of the business, an open mind to their ideas – all these will go a long way in attraction and retention.