Person with an idea, entrepreneurial zeal, passion and perseverance can commence with a new venture, with or without some like-minded friends. This initial team will take the venture only a distance, beyond which a team at the CXO level is needed, complementing the skills of the founders. Most ventures, till they become celebrated ones, struggle to attract the top talent, creating a vicious circle of top talent makes the venture celebrated or vice-versa.
To understand how to attract top talent at CXO level, it is important to understand what turns them down. One of the largest studies undertaken ever, by the Gallup organization, surveying over a million employees and over 80000 managers, finds relationship with the boss being the primary reason for dissatisfaction and leaving. “People leave Managers not companies” is the key message by its authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. Other studies reveal reasons in that order, include unchallenged and boring work, financial opportunities elsewhere, not felt to be contributing to organization’s business goals, without autonomy and independence, without clear strategic direction, unfit in the organization culture with the level of politics, nepotism and policies.
This does not mean anyone fit for a big organization is fitter for a startup. Those with lack of risk taking ability will not join the startup. People without passion to create or help solve a problem will most likely stay away.
People, who are willing to join the startup, will primarily join if they distinctly see the career path in the organization in comparison to an established company. Risk may be higher and calculated, but it needs to show the prospects what it would do to their career if venture hits high. Offering equity on milestone achievement is the most resorted to. Ventures keep a fixed allocation of equity to be offered to employees partaking risks for growth.
Financial stake is not the most important factor. Career progression out of achievement of fulfilling venture’s goals, recognition in the start-up eco-system and naturally, increased market value of the person, all contributes to fan the individual’s inert feelings in making it happen. Such an environment can possibly happen only when it is transparent, plans are big and challenging, owned-up, and are given with freedom to execute. Failure is only a lesson for course correction and not for finger pointing.
To me, here are the top reasons why top talent will join a start-up
Communication of existence of such an environment to attract the right candidates is still a task, which “The best job in the world” campaign in a popular competition by Tourism Queensland, promoting Great Barrier Reef, attracted many able candidates inexpensively.