10 things you need to Hire the best

Hiring the best talent your money can find can be a daunting experience.  Coupled with the current business environment across Africa, your startup is running a tight ship to keep your burn rate low and your revenues growing till funding becomes more accessible.

Your reason to hire would vary from wanting to delegate the Marketing function; to taking advantage of the market opportunity; increasing your Company’s brand awareness; or generating demand for your product.  

For these reasons and much more as a founder operating out of Africa, you will have to be intentional about your new hire when it pertains to your marketing function.

Now before you begin there have to be some internal processes and foundations that will position you to attract and retain great talent.  Here are 5 things you need to do to retain great talent:

Hiring the best will requires strong corporate culture

Create a strong corporate culture

Although may just be starting out, as a founder you must have a structured corporate culture that will communicate the Spirit of your Company.  Although you may have limited Cash to offer sweeteners like company Merchandise; create a culture that prioritises Corporate Governance, strong ethics and fairness.  Having this in place will reduce the rate of staff turnover that costs you time and money.   It is also important that you encourage a culture of cooperation within your team to improve their productivity.

Offer growth opportunities

A job with few challenges, soon becomes routine and extremely challenging tasks can cause people to bail.   So as a founder in addition to creating a culture of collaboration and cooperation, you need to find a balance between stretching your staff to grow and providing adequate rest periods to keep your staff sharp and eager to get back towards the business goals.

Cast a vision of the start-up for the next year

As a founder, you are expected to cast the strategic goals of the business.  Like any goal-setting process, they should be SMART goals and clearly communicate with your team.  Ideally for a startup annual goals should be set and communicated to inspire your team.  By setting a North star, you are not just giving paid employment but giving your team something larger than themselves to work towards and keep inspiring action and problem-solving as the situations arise, which are a lot for start-ups in the first few years.

Speak to multiple candidates

During your hiring process, there is the temptation to zero in on a star candidate for the role.  Avoid this trap by setting a lower limit in terms of hard and soft skills and be open to having several options to fill the role of a Marketing team member.

Having several options allows you to negotiate to your advantage and be confident in your decision after they come on board, compared to zeroing in on a perspective and then wondering if you hired too fast with limited insights.

Create a work environment that allows for autonomy and creativity

As a founder, you cannot afford to micro-manage every Business function.  Not only does it waste your time and keep your head down, unable to see the bigger picture, but it is also generally unnerving for your team.  Micro-managing stifles creative insights and problem-solving, it also doesn’t inspire confidence in your team about the unique skills and competencies they bring to your company.

Now that you have begun working internally to keep and cultivate new talent, you need to find new talent. 

Interviewing a new hire

What to look out for in your hire

Here are 5 things as a founder you need to look out for

They are open to learning and changing course

Any new hire must be easy to teach and imbibe your company’s values.  Attitude is everything and is the secret sauce to a great team and a strong work ethic, and a strong work ethic is exactly what start-ups need.   Your new Marketing manager must be willing to learn, understand and willing to change as the need arises.  The willingness to change also comes with the necessity to adjust so as to accommodate the changes in the organisation and on their team.

Practical experience in a Marketing role

As a young start-up, you don’t have the luxury of training your new hire about the rudimentary marketing processes.  Depending on what sort of founder, you will need a professional that is a self-starter and experienced enough to start and see a project through to completion.  

Your new hire must be able to make sense of where the business is and align Marketing functions accordingly.

Experience working with startup and agile environments

Depending on your budget you may be able to poach experienced Marketing executives.  Be careful though, Professionals accustomed to working in a more structured and rigid corporation will be in for a culture shock.   Coming into your start-up with limited structure and overlapping responsibilities is a stark difference from the environment they are coming from.  For  Hires like this, an extra amount of guidance and encouragement to take the initiative and to start projects, test Hypotheses and pivot as they deem it fit.  Where this may not be the case, be willing to fire as soon as you are certain they aren’t the right fit.

Ready to change on short notice

Start-ups always have moving parts. Because your company is still young and finding its feet, it will undergo a lot of changes and growing pains.  To manage these changes effectively a new hire must be able to adapt swiftly and implement changes as they come.  These could be changes to brand positioning, the brand’s voice, digital touch points; the brand’s promise or its customer profile.

Can collaborate with team members effectively

Do you think working in an organization is possible without collaboration?  Imagine if a team member is a lone wolf, finding it difficult or refuses to collaborate with the larger team, which in your case is the whole organisation.  Collaborating and being able to effectively work in and with a team is important