Written by:
Harry Butcher

Salary is just the tip of the iceberg. What do candidates really look for in an offer?

With 660,000 new companies registering in the UK each year, and only 1 developer for every 5 jobs, we’re now in a world where a few bean bags and a ping-pong table won’t quite cut it, unfortunately.

We’re in an AI talent war where startups and scaleups need to be able to compete with the tech giants like Facebook, Google and Amazon. So, let’s forget salary — what do candidates really look for in a job offer? And more importantly, how can you compete in today’s candidate driven market?

Being a part of a startup can be hard work and long hours, not to mention the workload and the pressure. But it’s being a part of something new, something special, that drives people to join a startup — this is why equity is key.

Having your employees financially invested in your business will give you a team that high salaries and few perks simply won’t get you. It will get you a team that is truly invested in building a business that will go the extra mile, not just for you, but for them. Find out more here.

The 9 to 5 working week is passing and it’s time to adapt. Employees want flexible working so they can drop off/pick up their kids from school, work from home occasionally to get that extra 30 minutes sleep and avoid that awful commute. Flexible working comes with a whole host of benefits. It improves productivity, boosts creativity, puts less stress on employees and their loved ones and even allows them to save money. This costs companies nothing, yet to employees is worth its weight in gold. Great flexibility = better work/life balance = happier employees.

Benefits are always a tricky one. Having to ask yourself “what do my employees want?” or “how can I please everyone?” is never easy. So my best advice is to stop asking yourself and ask them. Employee benefits don’t have to be complicated, however, free tea & coffee doesn’t count — sorry!

Employee benefits need to be of value to an employee. So, think about things like; health cash-back plans, dental insurance, childcare benefits, gym memberships, a good company pension, good holiday allowances or a personal development budget. Your employee benefits need to represent your core company values as this is what potential employees see and it needs to be consistent.

Good work culture
This brings me to my initial point; adding a few bean bags and a ping pong table doesn’t equal a great work culture, they’re just ‘nice to haves’. A good work culture includes a good work-life balance, a casual ‘non-corporate’ environment, diversity, engaged colleagues and transparency from the management down through the team.

To have a good culture, you need to start with a clear mission and a great set of values. This is crucial for current and future employees to be able to buy into what the business believes and most importantly, this needs to come from the top down. This, in turn, will promote a collaborative and positive work culture lacking the awful ‘office politics’ that future and current employees will value highly.

Learning Opportunities
Being able to learn, progress and grow as a professional is one of the main reasons people look to change jobs, so being able to offer that is attractive to prospective employees (as well as current employees!) Think outside of the corporate box when upskilling your employees, because there’s nothing worse than death by PowerPoint and a load of online courses.

Employees wanting to upskill is amazing for an employer, so promote it. Set a personal development budget and let them attend conferences or courses — you’ll quickly see the benefit from it.

If budget is an issue, don’t overlook the people you have internally! Being able to learn from a founder/CEO or another senior leader can be hugely beneficial, which is why having a diverse workforce is so crucial.

In a time when hiring top talent takes time, money and energy, using your ability to upskill your current employees could be make or break for your business. The average cost of losing an employee costs a company about £11,000. How much could you save by upskilling your current employees?

Trust is something I feel is truly overlooked as a benefit. Empowering your employees to make important decisions is only the face of it. Having a culture of honesty and trust will fuel creativity, efficiency, employee retention and in the long run, save you a lot of money.

Employees who feel trusted are more relaxed and will take bigger creative risks which will help grow your business. An employer can show trust in several ways. It can be demonstrated through support, honesty, autonomy, working from home, flexible working and allowing them to be accountable for their actions. Remember, trust is a two-way street.

There are 2,500 startups per square mile in London alone — You have to ask yourself, why would someone want to work for you?

We’re working with our start-up clients, helping them breathe new life into their EVP strategy and attract and retain the best in tech talent. Find out more in the video below or click here.


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