supply of tech talent. To attract top talent, start-ups must stand
out. Big name brands already have a leg up in the marketplace
since they are well-established, better funded and more equipped
Microsoft recently announced its new Canadian Headquarters
in downtown Toronto. This move reinforces that large compa-nies
like Microsoft understand that Canada (and in particular its
Toronto hub) continues to be recognized as a global leader in tech
and innovation. These companies also know how important it is to
attract top talent. Start-ups competing against technology giants
have to rise above the noise to attract top leaders with best-in-class
skills suited for their business.
WHAT DO LEADERS WANT?
Despite having fewer resources and less brand recognition than
big name companies, start-ups can still compete for talent. Start-ups
are unique disruptors in their respective industries. They
cultivate creativity, innovation and collaboration. These qualities
can be attractive to leaders, as they allow for growth and develop-ment
within the tech industry and create opportunities to lead a
Although big name companies may have greater resources to
fund these leaders, opportunities for growth can be limited due
to the vast size of the business. Start-ups on the other hand have
an unlimited supply of growth opportunities in their early stages.
Although start-ups can’t always compete on salary or stability, an
opportunity to make a difference, to be disruptive and to grow as a
leader is the real value proposition start-ups should express.
YOUR START-UP VALUE PROPOSITION
It’s extremely important to identify what differentiates your busi-ness
from others. Start-ups, in particular, have to work much
harder to stand out against big brands when attracting talent. You
must express your disruptive mission, values and perks to target
the market effectively. Why would someone want to work for your
company? What makes your company different from others? Are
you a market leader?
Express how your business is doing things differently than
everyone else and how you’re improving the lives of clients and
employees. When your company isn’t in a position to compete on
compensation and benefits, find other ways to present your com-pany
in an attractive way. Here are a few ideas:
1. Offer stock options to all employees. Getting employees
invested at the ground level is vital to retaining employees
that can be groomed for growth as well as attracting senior
leadership. In the event a small business decides to go public,
all employees have an even greater investment in the company.
By showing you are willing to invest in employees, current and
prospective employees will be willing to invest in you.
2. Create flexible work schedules. Employees today value work-life
balance. Creating an environment that allows for some
flexibility can produce happier, more productive employees.
Flexibility also makes it easier to attract top talent who
appreciate the freedom, which is something larger brands can’t
3. Develop competitive benefits packages. For prospective
employees, benefits can be the deciding factor between
choosing a small business or accepting an offer from a bigger
corporation. To remain competitive, consider providing health
insurance, life insurance and retirement or saving plans that
Start-ups within the fast-growing tech hub of Toronto, and
generally across Canada, should ensure their unique value prop-osition
is expressed to the talent market. Leading tech companies
are setting up offices across Canada, hiring Canadian talent and
investing in Canada’s enormous potential as an innovation and
tech hub. With insights into a start-up’s core differentiators and
unique value proposition, talent will be better informed and better
positioned to select their employer of choice and help small busi-ness
compete against some of the giants in the market. n
Jamie Hoobanoff is founder and CEO of The Leadership Agency.
ALTHOUGH LARGER COMPANIES
HAVE A GOOD CHUNK OF THE
CANADIAN TECH MARKET,
START-UPS CAN STILL COMPETE
IN THE RACE FOR TOP TALENT.
peshkova / 123RF
52 ❚ NOVEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL