It’s very likely that as you set out to launch your fashion startup, one of the first things you will need to deal with is building a successful team.
Getting a fashion firm to take off is a big challenge and unless you have the right people by your side, the chances of failing could be very high.
This is why understanding how to recruit the right talent for your business is an essential component of your success.
At the same time, however, it’s not easy to understand where to start from and how to make sure you’re putting people to work in roles that can impact your success and increase your revenue.
In this post, we’re going to go through some tips and advice to help you navigate this important step to scaling your business.
Identify value-adding activities
The first step to identifying the right profile to hire starts from understanding what jobs are the most important in your business.
In order to approach this question, we need to start by mapping our organizational processes. Here are some tips:
- Identify your unique value proposition and map the process that creates it. Focus on understanding what processes, activities, and operations are the ones that provide a competitive advantage. If this is something you are struggling with, don’t worry, we’ve got some resources to help you out. In this post, we’re looking at 4 different perspectives that can be used to understand what is the source of strength for your business. If instead, you want to understand what is a competitive advantage and how it contributes to your firm’s success, this is the article for you.
- Decide whether to insource or outsource your staff. Remember that you are not obliged to hire an internal resource to do the job. If by mapping your process you realize that the scale of your operations would require you to hire too many employees, then you can always resort to outsourcing. It’s important to consider that “outsourced” does not mean worse quality. In many cases working with outsourced contractors or employees can provide you with much better efficiency, as you are able to work with organizations that have access to better pooling capacity than the one you could afford.
- Hiring by splitting company equity. As you start off with your venture, the costs associated with salaries are pose a financial strain on your organization. This is why many entrepreneurs “hire” employees by giving them equity shares in the company they work for so that they are able to pay lower salaries and share some of the business risks. This is a possible strategy, but it has its downsides, as splitting your company equity impacts your ability to make decisions for your business.
- Make sure the jobs you hire for have an impact on revenue. To avoid the control issue, a possible approach is connected to focusing on hiring employees that are going to help you directly increase your revenue. Start by identifying which ones are the revenue-generating activities and then hire for those jobs first. This will allow you to make sure you’re investing in roles that will be able to repay the investment from day one.
Great. Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move into the recruitment process itself. That’s what we’re going to address in the next section of our post.
Look for impact, not only for the experience
The process of attracting, selecting, recruiting, and retaining talent is as complex as human nature. In this section of our post, we’re going to look into some tips to help you address some of the decisions that recruitment entails.
- Focus on company values. The starting point of any recruitment campaign should be identifying the values of the company and its long-term mission. By being explicit about the purpose of your brand, you are more likely to attract the right individuals who will connect to the company because of a set of intangible values that the company stands for. This is also because employees - just like customers - want to feel as if they are part of something bigger, a cause that connects us all. If you’re interested in this approach to business management, here’s an article for you.
- Look for impact, not only for the experience. As you scout the job market to find the perfect talent, it’s easy to be biassed towards candidates who have collected experience in large brands. Certainly, these individuals have a lot to bring to the table, as working for a large organization can allow exposure to many different processes and practices. However, don’t forget to pay attention to those candidates who come from much smaller businesses, but were still able to make a difference. Working for a small company entails many more limitations, especially in terms of the resources available to get a job done. Make sure you are not downplaying the skills of those who despite the challenges of SME were still able to thrive. Moreover, that type of experience is much easier and useful to move to a startup company.
- Hire smart people and take their advice. This last piece of advice is connected to the relationship you are going to build with your employees. As you set yourself the goal to attract smart individuals don’t fall into the trap of micromanagement. It’s important to build an environment of trust and collaboration, especially if you are looking to hire employees that will stay with the company through the thick and thin.
We’re going to expand on this latter point in the next section of our post, as we’re going to start delving into retainment strategies.
Retainment: a long-standing employee is a rockstar.
Once you have attracted, selected, and recruited your team, a new challenge arises: retainment. In this section of the post, we’re going to take a look at some tips to make sure your employees stick to the company for the long haul.
- Compensate fairly, in relative and absolute terms. The starting point of a good professional relationship is fair compensation. Compensation however has to be fair on two different levels: the first is “absolute” or the actual amount of money given to employees compared to the cost of living of where they live. The second parameter is “relative” compensation, or how much money employees make in relation to the other employees. If on absolute compensation employees can be more or less understanding of the pay levels of the job, in terms of relative compensation, a mistake can be very costly. This is because employees can’t help comparing their job performance and salary to their peers and if stark differences are noted, they can lead to issues.
- Set up the right employment pathway. Another element of consideration that should be taken into account is connected to career pathways. It is really helpful for both employees and human resource managers to have clearly laid-out plans of career progressions, and requirements. This is because setting clear expectations is a big part of keeping employees happy to allow them to build reasonable demands, especially after their learning curve has plateaued. Be clear in terms of experience required, educational or professional requirements, so that by setting clear expectations, frictions are reduced to a minimum.
- Work on retainment by building relationships. Research shows that the one factor that ends up influencing retainment, in the long run, is building friendships with coworkers. Building relationships is a complex topic, ad relationships come in different forms, however, in general terms it is important to try and involve employees beyond their simple professional contribution and invest in creating a more holistic approach to your human resource management strategy. This will make your company be a home away from home.
There you have it. Now that we’ve touched upon all relevant aspects, let’s move ahead and draw some conclusions.
There you have it. In this post, we’ve explored some advice that may be relevant for anyone looking to building a company by building a strong team.
If you’re interested in this topic, in our blog we’ve got many more resources on fashion entrepreneurship, such as: Creating the Perfect Team for Your Fashion Startup: What Skills You Need and Where to Find Them.
Instead, you are looking for C-suite executives, there are some more elements to take into account. We’ll look into them in this article: How to Hire C-Suite Executives for Your Retail Company.
Take a look at our blog and see if there’s anything else you may find useful to get your business to take off!