When it comes to staffing your startup, you can’t afford dead weight. You need a lean, hungry team that is nimble, flexible, and able to rise to any business challenge.
Your startup doesn’t need average employees; you need rockstars that deliver! But when you’re building a business, often the capital isn’t there to offer big compensation packages to new hires. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck settling for mediocre paper pushers. There are other ways to attract high performing employees on a budget.
1. Build a vibrant culture
Culture is a big deal for top talent. Offering a creative and vibrant work environment—free of the much-hated open floor plan—makes work less of a chore. And you don’t have to go crazy with gimmicky add-ons like sushi bars or Ping-Pong tables.
Give your company a more relaxed feel without breaking the bank by offering time off for volunteer opportunities, team outings to the park or beach, and bringing in donuts, bagels or pizza when your staff is working long hours.
But most importantly, the biggest thing you can do to help your culture is to show gratitude. When your team goes above and beyond, make sure you personally thank them for their hard work.
2. Offer relocation
If you have the capital, while you may not be able to afford a hefty salary or annual bonus, offering a modest relocation package can offset a small paycheck (and allow you to find talent around the country).
Free videoconferencing tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime make long distance interviews possible, and you can arrange cheap flights with Kayak or Travelocity for in-person meetings with your best candidates. If you find the right match, offering even $2,500 can go a long way in helping your new hire and can make up for a smaller salary.
3. Emphasize social good
If you have a strong mission that is compelling and can touch people emotionally, you’ll have a much easier time attracting great employees. Highlight how your company changes lives and master the art of storytelling to convey how customers are helped through your work.
Whether it’s giving people the tools they need to get rid of student loan debt or creating a device that folds laundry and simplifies life for busy parents, there’s a valuable story in there that will connect with candidates.
4. Prioritize professional development
Professional development should be a key component to your company’s culture. You can offer formal development incentives, such as tuition reimbursement, but informal development opportunities can be extremely beneficial as well.
As a startup, you can be more flexible, and employees can shadow other team members, learn a new skill on the job, and work on projects outside their job descriptions. These opportunities are invaluable and are typically not found in large enterprises, so it can be a strong differentiator for your company.
5. Create opportunities for visibility
With a startup, employees have the potential to get more visibility and can better position themselves as industry leaders and experts. This is good for both your employees and yourself as it raises your profile and highlights your company’s talent.
Whenever possible, give your staff opportunities to be more visible, such as hosting webinars or presenting at industry conferences, empowering them to build their own brand. Showcasing those opportunities to job candidates shows them how valued and respected your team is within the field.
6. Offer flexible work arrangements
Many employees are willing to trade high salaries for positions with flexibility. According to a study by CorpsTeam, over 50 percent of working adults are looking for a new job with more flexibility.
Furthermore, Millennial employees are willing to sacrifice more than 10 percent of their salaries to get more autonomy. Whether it’s a compressed workweek where employees have every Friday off or a generous remote working option, allowing your team to work when and where is best for them makes your company a much more attractive workplace.
7. Empower your team
In a traditional work environment, workers need to deal with lengthy hierarchies and have little say in the process. As a growing company, you have the advantage of being lean.
This gives you a unique opportunity to empower your staff to make decisions, take risks, and think of breakthrough solutions. Giving them this freedom—and accepting that failure will occasionally happen—will energize your team.
By recruiting top talent, you can boost your startup’s chance of success. While you may not have the big budgets and name recognition of Google or Zappos, you can still create a vibrant and attractive work environment that appeals to great workers.
Using these seven methods will build your company’s brand and reputation, making it a dream job opportunity for talented prospects.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Dave Rathmanner is a personal finance and marketing writer, sharing startup tips on behalf of Lendedu, a marketplace for private student loans and student loan refinancing. Dave is a 22 year old Millennial, entrepreneur, and graduate of the University of Delaware. He has a passion for creating interesting and insightful content to drive traffic and create lifelong readers and customers. Connect with @golendedu on Twitter.