Human Resources Today

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startup hiring


Four Reasons Perks Won't Help Your Culture or Hiring

4 Reasons Perks Won't WorkToo often I hear company leaders or recruiters say things like: "Our culture is great. We have free lunches, you can bring your dog to work, and there's free beer every day at 5pm." Workplace culture does not equal perks.

Perks aren't culture. Even ridiculous perks.  Culture is culture.

Culture is the way in which you work--the norms and values that define who you are as a business and what makes you different. It's how you get work done and the way people are expected to behave.  Culture is your foundation and then your build your business around it--including perks.

Here are four reasons you shouldn't confuse perks and culture:

1) Perks Are False Promises

If you just focus on perks, it's like promising a gorgeous engagement ring--without meeting the guy. If the guy sucks, the ring is only sparkly for so long. Then you get tired of it. No one stays at a company for the perks. They stay for their boss, the product, the potential, the work. Why waste time luring people in only to lose them after the fourth date (week)?

2) Perks Can Blow Up In Your Face

Sure, dogs in the office are cool. But what if that new developer you're trying desperately to hire is allergic? Think about the ridiculousness of that conversation: "We'd love to give you an offer, but we typically have dogs in the office so this isn't going to work." Really? You'll give up a great candidate for that?

3) You Don't Want a Candidate to Make a Decision Based on Perks

When you get that fantastic candidate to fill the void on your sales team, do you really want him to take the offer based on free beer? No. You want him to be passionate about what he's selling, the team behind the product or service and the future of the business.

4) Perks Don't Make Your Employees Perform Better

Free drycleaning or a easy-access gym might make employees' lives easier, but it won't turn an average developer into a stellar one. Culture, values and work rules are much better at vetting out candidates who won't perform well in your environment. For example, one candidate might be a Ruby rockstar but she can't get used to your super-fast product development cycles or deal with the complete transparency that's part of the way you do business

Should you ignore perks? No--they're important rewards and incentives to your business. Just don't hang your culture and hiring hat on them. Otherwise you build a company based on fringe benefits instead of on values.

And when you create perks for your business, tie them to your culture first. If one of your core values is customer service, perks should be designed to make it easier to service customers (making it quieter, freeing up your time, or giving you a budget to spend to develop relationships with customers).

Don't want to give up on perks? Don't. Just make sure your culture, values and work rules are strong. And sell those first.


exaqueo is a workforce consultancy that helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to scale the right way.



5 Ways to Save Money on Your Hiring Strategy Now

Ask your average corporate recruiter, and they’ll scoff at startups having trouble hiring great talent. But what they don’t realize is the numerous obstacles that face growing companies when it comes to hiring the best people. Startups are burdened by a lack of time to devote to the hiring process. And in many cities, they often have trouble finding highly skilled technical talent willing to take a risk and join a startup – even one with incredible potential.

Plus, it’s really hard to compete against big, local brands offering higher pay, fewer hours, and better benefits. And technical talent often prefer the flexibility of freelance roles where they can manage time, costs, and the type of projects they work on.

Startups often turn to headhunters in desperation. But there’s one problem: headhunters cost an arm and a leg. Specifically 15-30 percent+ of the new hire’s salary. For a developer, that can run more than $10,000 or more based on the level and the city. Plus they aren’t always looking out for the startup’s best interests. They want to make the placement and get the cash. They’re not incented to care about long-term fit or performance.

Instead of passing the buck and sucking up the contingency fees, there are cheaper and easier ways to find the talent you need:

1. Hire an Internal Recruiter or Two

If you’re going to hire at least two people in the next 12 months, it’s a worthwhile investment based on what you’ll spend for a headhunter. It takes the burden of managing the process off of the leadership team, and the recruiters can also begin to help you manage the team and growth.

2. Use Sourcing Tools and Searches

Forget expensive job boards. Use your current developers to use unique search strings and do some advanced online searching for candidates you wouldn’t find otherwise. For example, one of Facebook’s best engineers came from a small, no-name web shop in Maine who wouldn’t have been found locally.

Or, make a small investment in a tool like RemarkableHire that combs niche tech sites like StackOverflow and Dribbble to find actual evidence of performance and tech knowledge rather than the self-professed Hadoop expert you find on LinkedIn.

3. Get the Whole Team Involved

This isn’t an employee referral contest. Require team members to participate in the search for every new hire and offer up three candidates for each open position...Read More Over on TechCocktail.


This post originally appeared on TechCocktail written by Susan LaMotte, the founder of exaqueo. A human resources consultancy, exaqueo helps startups and high-growth companies build their cultures, employer brands and talent strategies. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you build a workforce that’s aligned with your company culture and develop an employer brand that will allow your business to grow in the right way.