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Early Stage

The Best Ways to Improve Human Resource Branding for Startups

Kristin Bachman
6 min read

Finding employees who are willing to work hard to improve your brand is crucial to the success of any business, especially a new startup. The reality is that most startup businesses are likely to fail within the first few years of operation, with 50% of startups failing by the 5-year mark. A major contributor to this is the lack of proper human resource branding. 

Many startup founders forego establishing an HR department and try to handle all of the HR tasks and procedures on their own. The issue with this is that startup founders primarily focus on growing their businesses and aren’t focusing enough attention on managing the people that help run the companies.  

While this is manageable for a short time, establishing a solid human resource department is crucial if you want your startup to have prolonged success and compete with large corporations. 

Basics of HR: everything you need to know

The first step to establishing or improving your human resources department is understanding why a human resources department is vital to your company. To understand this, you need to know what makes up an HR department and what they do for your company. 

Honest visions and goals

An essential role of the HR department is to establish your startup’s mission statement containing your company’s visions and goals. This step is crucial in developing your company’s brand. 

Without clearly defined goals and visions for your startup, your employees may not know what your company stands for and wants to achieve, which could leave little room for growth.

Clearly stating your honest opinions, goals, and values within a mission statement can help unify your employees to further your business as well as attract new talent to your business. 

Why do I need an HR department? 

An HR department is a vital addition to your company. They are essential if you want to establish and improve the branding of your startup. 

The purpose of a human resources department is to manage and provide structure for the people who work for your company. Without this structure, your company may not grow in the ways you want it to develop. HR serves as a middleman between the higher-ups in the company and the employees. 

HR is responsible for tasks that include establishing a payroll system, handling all applications, recruiting and hiring new talent, interviewing and training new talent, and coordinating your company’s organizational strategies.  

In addition to managing the company’s employees, the HR department also handles any potential legal issues. HR employees ensure that your company’s standards are compliant with current industry laws to help you avoid any lawsuits. 

Finding talent, talent finding you

The backbone of any good company is its employees. Hiring high-quality employees that suit your company’s needs can be crucial to your company’s brand and growth. 

To obtain high-quality employees, you should establish why your brand is essential to your startup so that you can then define what you are looking for in an employee and form an employee value proposition. 

Exactly what are you looking for? 

To improve human resource branding, it’s essential that you first understand what it is that you are looking to attract to your company. Clearly outlining your brand in your employee value proposition can help attract future employees, which can help to improve your brand. 

You should make clear what your expectations are as an employer. You have a better chance of finding a good fit for your startup if you clearly outline what to expect of your potential employees. By doing this, you can avoid attracting and potentially hiring people who would clash with the company’s atmosphere. 

Employer branding for startups: why is it important? 

To attract talented employees, you may want to outline why your brand is so vital to your startup. Your recognition as a brand is what draws attention to your startup. Establishing your brand enables you to create a lasting impact on not only customers but also potential employees. 

The Employee Value Proposition

The Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is the set of benefits that your company provides your employees in return for the work, skills, and experience that they bring to your company. 

Your EVP is similar to a mission statement in that it outlines what your company stands for, but it goes a step further by bringing light to the specific, unique benefits that your company has to offer. Establishing an EVP may help motivate your employees as well as attract potential talent to your business. 

A new startup is not likely to have a big budget like larger corporations, so it’s important to make the qualities your company offers seem enticing in your EVP. You can compare your EVP to other smaller startups to see what they’re offering their employees so that you can better gauge what your EVP may need. 

Your EVP should answer the employee’s question: “What’s in it for me?” To do this, you can include answers to questions like: 

  • What will the co-workers and work environment be like? 
  • What values and goals does the company have? 
  • Where do employees’ needs lie in the hierarchy? 
  • What benefits do they offer? 

All of these questions can help attract high-quality employees that can help improve your company’s branding in the long run. 

Your company culture

Another crucial element to your brand is developing your company’s culture. Company culture is the defined set of values, attitudes, goals, and ideals that your company will represent. Statistics indicate that 66% of potential employees consider company culture the most important factor in determining whether or not they want to apply for a position at your company. 

Determining company culture is a little more complex than deciding your employee value proposition or mission statement because it’s all about the way that your employees feel about the work that they do. These attitudes come together to represent the atmosphere and personality, or culture, of the company. 

Retaining talent, contracts, no shortcuts

It’s not just important to hire new talent -- it’s also important to keep them working for your company. Maintaining consistency within your company culture is critical to boosting your retention rate. 

To create and nurture a company culture that encourages your employees to stay with your company, you can consider doing the following: 

  • Assess the quality of your company culture by asking employees to complete a survey 
  • Discuss company culture during the interview before hiring talent to ensure that they stand for the same things that the company does
  • Practice leading by example instead of simply instructing employees on what to do
  • Provide your employees with rewards, incentives, and benefits so that they feel valued
  • Encourage friendships in the workplace 
  • Create a multi-generational work environment 
  • Use mistakes made as learning experiences rather than punishing employees

Discussing your company’s work environment and expectations is critical before hiring new talent. If you are upfront about your company culture to your potential new hire, you can better gauge whether or not they could be a good fit at your company, thus lessening the chance that they might quit early on.

An excellent way to practice doing this is to develop a contract covering company culture and expectations that both HR and the employee go over together. This way, there are no surprises once the employee starts the job. 

It can be tempting to want to hire quickly rather than efficiently, but the best way to ensure that you retain the employees that you hire is to take your time and go over everything with them. Taking shortcuts can lower the company’s retention rate. 

Compensation and transparency -- why this is the new important thing

Since the pandemic in 2020, compensation and transparency have become 2 of the most important factors in determining your company culture. Not only are compensation and transparency determining factors on their own, but now they have also become key elements of company culture. 

With rising unemployment and inflation, many jobs are not offering what most potential employees would consider a liveable wage.

If you are an HR representative for a new startup, you know that providing higher compensation may not be achievable at the moment due to a lack of proper funds. This is why it’s important to be transparent about the wages you offer. Not only might it deter any job seekers who may not be a good fit, but it can also attract job seekers who would appreciate your company and the job position for what it is.  

Transparency with wages is not the only thing that companies should be transparent about. It’s also vital that you are open about your work environment and health and safety protocol. These factors have become increasingly vital to job seekers today. 

Why benefits should form part of your company culture

When you ensure that your employee benefits resonate with your company values, it can strengthen your company culture. Employees have had to adapt their professional lives to suit the reality of the global pandemic, and it’s important to listen to the needs of your workforce to ensure their mental and physical wellbeing. 

For startups, some of the employee benefits you could look at introducing would include flexible scheduling, mental health days, and an understanding of work-life balance. In listening to what your employees require to be productive during a challenging global period, your employees might be more inclined to support your company culture and help your startup grow.

We can help you establish and improve your HR department

Developing a brand and an HR department isn’t an easy task, especially for new startups, but it can be essential to your business’s growth. 

Use this article as a guide to better equip you in establishing your human resource department and enhancing your company's branding. Get in touch with Hunt Club for assistance with your human resource branding.

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