Top 3 things to consider to attract and retain talent for your start-up

Talent startup

Attract and retain talent

Unfortunately, nowadays many people are unhappy at their current jobs. It’s sad, but it´s very true. In fact, Kelly Services (one of the largest staffing agencies in the world) surveyed 120,000 employees worldwide and they found out that an astonishing 48% were unhappy in their current positions.

The reasons for this unhappiness are many: from limited growth opportunities and lack of interest to poor leadership. However, one reason keeps popping up repeatedly: salary.

Almost everyone thinks they should be paid more, and if you are interested in attracting and retaining talent for your own start-up, you should look into pay well and manage to increase pay as time goes by. However, what if you can’t?

Employees rarely consider the fact that many start-ups and established companies simply can’t afford to pay ever increasing salaries because maybe the cost of staff would eat up the business’ very survival. Well, here’s were founders, owners and managers need to get creative.

3 things to attract and retain talent

Here are the top 3 things to consider when trying to attract and retain talent for your start-up that doesn’t entail a pay bump.


Flexibility is key. As an employer, you are looking for capable, committed and reliable employees. You need them to do their job in a timely fashion and you want them to add value where and when needed.

However, do you really need them in the office by 7am? What if I can take my kids to school from 7am to 8am and then go to the office? Besides, what if I’m already online and replying to emails while waiting for my kid’s bus? I’m not in the office, but I’m working and also living my life.

Nowadays everyone has a phone, so your company could look into allowing corporate emails into employee’s phone (I bet you already have) in exchange for greater flexibility regarding office hours and better work-life balance, leaving them happier with the company they work for without the employer having to spend virtually any money.

Another example? Commute! Even if you need your employees in the office, it could be ok for them to come later, avoiding traffic and congestion.


Recognition goes a long way. Have you ever worked incredibly hard on a project? Going beyond what was asked and ultimately adding a lot more value than what it was asked of you? Well, how was it received? I bet a simple ‘good job’ in an email wouldn’t feel like enough for you.

The truth is almost everyone feels the same. People know they are supposed to do their jobs, they also know their supervisors don´t have to say thank you or that acknowledging their accomplishments isn´t written in their contracts. However, it feels so damn good when it happens! Getting creative with work-related recognition can go a long way regarding employee satisfaction, like the Golden Banana Award in HP.

This award is given to employees that provide solutions to complicated problems and, even though it may seem silly, it represents public recognition among your peers in an extraordinary way. Employees love that and it almost doesn´t cost anything at all.


Understanding reciprocity. Ideally, we would all feel a sense of loyalty and belonging to the company we work for. The reality however is very different, we need the company as much as they need us and our loyalty and sense of belonging goes as far as the fulfillment of that need.

That being said, an employer interested in investing in their employees will be perceived as more caring and will generate more loyalty and sense of belonging. Training and personal growth are perfect examples for this.

If some of your employees are asking about improving their Excel skills and you happen to have an Excel guru in the office, why don’t you organize an Excel Workshop?

Employees would be able to upskill for free and you will be able to make them feel better for free. Even spending a little bit of money, allowing employees to go to seminars and conventions may be well worth it in the long run, because even though you have barely spent any money on your workers, you definitely have spent effort and that shows.

The perfect location to attract talent

As you can see, there are many ways to attract and retain talent without incurring in tremendous costs.

Think about a place like the Canary Islands, if your VC firm invest in start-ups that employ tech workers that can easily work remotely (keep in mind that for example in Australia 48% of business professionals do so), you could make them so much happier by allowing them to work from the islands.

Gorgeous weather all year long, short commutes and great connectivity make for excellent work-life balance, something modern day workers are craving. Think about it and keep the Canary Islands in mind.