Scaling People: How to Create a Flywheel for Talent
November 23, 2022
To date, we’ve spent a lot of time focusing on job-seeker content, democratising resources around breaking into different industries, role types and the like.
We thought it would be a fun piece to get insight from the other side of the job search journey, the folks hiring!
It won’t come as a surprise but people are the #1 asset to any company and thus investing in talent is no longer a “nice to have” but a crucial part of the success of any startup.
Here is a simple mental model to think about how to create a flywheel of talent
Create a culture where people have fun and are rewarded for success —> leads to easier sourcing of high quality talent & ultimately better hires —> repeat.
We’ve seen extrinsically what this looks like; wellness days, attractive remuneration packages, company retreats, flexible work hours/locations, employee awards nights, learning & development budgets, meaningful company values and the list goes on.
These sorts of extrinsic perks and bonuses contribute to building this talent flywheel and when in full flight, it can rapidly propel a fast-growing startup into unicorn land.
However, this doesn’t happen overnight. Behind the scenes of these high-growth sexy startups is months of strategy planning and execution on how to create an environment that attracts, retains and empowers the best talent.
In today’s competitive talent market (insert great resignation statistic), one can no simply just post a gig on LinkedIn and expect candidates to line up.
🥁 Introducing our guest speaker, Jamie Finnegan - Global Head of Talent at Finder to hear more about how Finder built their talent flywheel, his key motivations and learnings from spending time in HR and advice for job seekers looking for a new gig.
Why do you work in talent?
I think I’ve always been interested in people and human interaction. Over the last decade or so I’ve gotten more interested in technology and the business world as well so, for me, a talent role felt like the perfect marriage of the two.
Right now more than ever talent is such a poignant part of the workplace environment – it’s the intersection between people and business. So many businesses are putting their people first and realising that their people are the heart of what they do.
Working in talent means you’re in the space where you can create amazing results for the business but you can also help people create life changing results for themselves.
How do you build a workplace environment that attracts quality potential talent?
The first thing to consider is, as a business, what do you want to stand for?
When it comes to principles and values, typically a lot of that is defined by the early crew you bring on board. Take the behaviours you like in those hires and that you want to see more of and use that to inform what your business is going to stand for. That’s definitely an important first step.
Also think about what you want to be as a business and how you’re going to bring that to life through values. I think this is something we’ve done really well at Finder, our crew live and breathe our values because they’re baked into everything we do. This really helps to craft the culture you want to create too.
When it comes to quality, you’ve got to think about the stack of talent you’re bringing in – and these needs are different at every level of recruitment. Does a graduate see a business where they can grow and flourish? Do your leaders have the tools to nurture and grow their employees and the business? Are you bringing strong leaders into the business who can really bring your values to life?
Values are key to all of this – if you get these right you’ve got a good foundation and from that flows the culture. You want everyone who joins to be a culture add, not just a quality fit. It gives new joiners the freedom to make their mark by helping the business evolve over time.
What do you think primarily people are looking for these days?
In the current state of what’s been termed “The Great Resignation” people are looking at other opportunities – and these opportunities are more available than ever before. Decades ago, the goal might have been to get into a business and stay in that business for the long term. And while that’s still mostly the case, people also want adaptability in their career from their employer.
Finder has a history of career flexibility within the company. Recently we celebrated a 10 year “Finderversary” of someone who started in the PR team, moved into the publishing team and is now a product manager, which is pretty cool. We want our crew to have a sense of purpose behind what they do and feel empowered to have an impact in their career and for our customers.
I think it’s essential that your crew can see a pathway for themselves, whatever that might look like. We try to make sure those pathways are fitted to the individual as best as possible, rather than a “one size fits all” approach.
Environment is also really important right now. There’s a lot of talk about remote working, hybrid models and broadly just moving beyond the traditional 9-5 office model. The key here is ensuring that we’re still creating quality products for our users but in an environment where crew are feeling happy and motivated.
Any advice to job-seekers that are currently looking for a new role? What are things to prioritise or watch out for?
The job market is probably the most competitive it’s ever been for both sides of the market. There’s a bit of a candidate shortage at the moment with the borders being closed, but with the events of the last couple of years, there’s also a lot of competition out there as well. With that said, here are a few things to keep in mind:
It's going to be competitive.
Unfortunately, this is one thing that’s mostly out of your control but the best thing to do is make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Knowing the company and the role you’re after will really help to refine your applications and make them as strong as possible.
Use every opportunity to stand out.
Clearly define the business you want to work for and then think about how you’re crafting your CV and cover letter for those organisations. Changing up how you approach businesses can also help you stand out. LinkedIn, Slack communities, GitHub and others all offer different avenues into your dream role.
Enjoy the process!
If there’s one takeaway, let it be this one. Every part of the job seeking process is useful. It’s all a learning experience at the end of the day. People put a lot of pressure on themselves but remember interviewers are people too – I always like to remind candidates that it’s just a conversation. My advice is to take a learning from every stage of the process and every interview. Learn about different companies, connect with new people, and mostly importantly hone your pitch!
Customer success has dramatically evolved to a proactive and strategic function that's critical to most startups. By all accounts, it's still a relatively non-competitive route into startupland. So, how do you break in?
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