General Assembly arrived in Australia with a bang this week, with each of its opening classes packed out in Sydney.
The organisation uses industry experts and entrepreneurs to provide practical hands-on advice to start-up businesses.
It has set up shop in Australia following a successful period in the US and has partnered with StartupSmart.
The two first classes were on the topics of recruiting and retaining top talent and how to conduct a winning pitch, respectively.
We have picked out the key points from each of the classes and will be doing so each following week.
There’s a range of upcoming General Assembly classes in the coming weeks, on everything from generating media coverage to financial modelling. To find out more, click here.
Recruiting and retaining top talent
Paul Slezak, head of community and client services at Recruit Loop, who ran the General Assembly class on attracting and keeping top talent, said: “One of the most overused phrases in business today is that ‘our people are our greatest asset.’”
“However when it comes to start-ups in particular, staffing is often the first area to suffer.”
Slezak recommends taking the following steps for the HR process:
- Have you thought about a job description?
- Should you use an external recruiter?
- What do you need to look for in a recruiter?
- Should you do it yourself?
- Do you have time to do it yourself?
- What do you look for in a CV?
- How do you really distinguish between a candidate’s skills and competencies?
- The job title must accurately reflect what they will be doing in the role.
- Clearly define reporting lines and who they will be working with.
- Defining duties and responsibilities vs skills and attributes.
Getting the right response to your job ad
- Exactly who is your target audience?
- Where are they now?
- What steps are they taking to look for a new role?
- You need to speak directly to them.
How to frame your job ad
- Include key benefits (usually in three bullet points).
- A brief business profile.
- A summary of the role itself.
- A profile of your ideal candidate.
- Any rewards or incentives.
- Your contact details.
- A disclaimer.
Slezak says: “Gone are the days of just asking about strengths and weaknesses. And hypothetical questions are definitely a thing of the past.”
“The only way to determine how the candidate will perform in your role is to ask questions around how they performed a similar task in the past.”
- Structured interview.
- Competency based questioning.
- Results focused assessment.
- Interview bias eliminated.
- Process explained.
- Timely feedback.
Five questions you need to ask your interviewee
- Why are you really sitting in front of me today?
- What are you ideally looking for in your next role?
- What salary are you on now?
- Who else is involved in your decision making process?
- How will your manager react when you resign?
Staff retention tips
You need to have clarity in the role, which includes:
- What’s the plan?
- What are the goals?
- What’s the strategy?
- What are the expectations?
Retention depends on work environment, which includes:
- The environment you create.
- PMA – Positive Mental Attitude.
It also involves communication
- You will never be accused of over communicating.
- People don’t leave companies; they leave leaders.
- It’s not only about being ambitious; it’s about knowing what lies ahead.
Typical questions in the minds of your staff members
- Am I seeing progress in my career?
- Are they seeing progress in my career?
- How am I measuring my success?
- How are they measuring my success?
- When did I last receive recognition for my work?
- What makes me want to stay here?
The raw figures
More than 700 employees working with start-up companies were recently surveyed. The responses were:
- 66% felt a lack of progression in their current role was the main factor in deciding to leave.
- 12% said more money would influence their decision to change companies.
- 85% believed a clear plan for future professional development was the main reason to stay.
- 72% believed a strong team culture was another reason to stay.
Nailing the pitch
Rebekah Campbell, founder of tech start-up Posse, explained what it takes to impress potential investors and clients in a pitch situation.
“What is the problem someone has, who are they, what current solutions are there out there for them, why do they need something better?” Campbell said.
“Try to bring yourself into the story to give you credibility. Show you understand the problem and that you’re a good person to solve it.”
Here are Campbell’s top tips:
How will your product work?
- Be clear but go through the main feature only (not all of the details).
- Do you have any early evidence that your solution works. If so include them in the description of your solution.
- Try to fit this on one slide.
- Try to describe it as a story people can relate to.
- Try to make the description as sound as simple as possible.
Tell the story of everything you’ve achieved to date in bullet point form
- Investors want to invest in a train that’s left the station.
- You don’t want to sound like you’re waiting for money or need them.
- They need to want you!
Market size is the number one thing investors look for
- How big is your potential market?
- Is the market growing?
- Show your research.
- How much research have you done to work out how big your market really is?