Home Articles It’s not all about code and cashflow, guys. Tech start-ups are people...

It’s not all about code and cashflow, guys. Tech start-ups are people too


The tech start-up scene is ripe with opportunity as astute entrepreneurs push the boundaries of where innovation and creativity meet.

Whilst staying competitive and balancing the books are high on the agenda, one crucial factor is often overlooked – the human element of the start-up space. Ignore it at your own peril…

In the tech start-up scene, it isn’t a shortage of quality ideas that’s a problem, but a scarcity of quality teams. As today’s industry of choice for investors and entrepreneurs, tech start-ups are still facing growing pains when implementing their people strategy, as global players scramble to attract and retain the sharpest minds.

Despite the low-entry capital required and rise in global talent available, over the past decade the tech scene has fostered a habit of – hire now, and think about the consequences later.

Yet, early decision making on the hiring of key staff and your company’s overall commitment to culture can position many a start-up for ‘make it or break it’ time.

So how do you avoid the pitfalls and plan ahead?

Make a hiring plan

With the demand for skill at an all-time high, those with the talent can be tricky to tempt. It’s employers that go to the extra mile, or should we say ‘extra event’, that often come across the best talent.

Tapping into like-minded social communities or industry gatherings and becoming more active in your own recruitment process, means you could be future proofing relationships before ink on contracts sets.

Taking the time out to hire smartly also comes down to thinking broadly about what potential roles need to be filled. There’s no point coping with growth as it hurries through the door; agencies need to evaluate and monitor their internal structure regularly and make room for potential job roles that are yet to exist.

Consider your culture

Grappling with the day-to-day operations that come with a shift of sudden growth, tech start-ups often neglect to strategically plan out what culture they wish to set. With new hires swiftly welcomed in, perhaps not everyone’s going to fit in?

The drawbacks of ongoing personality clashes in senior teams can get your business into trouble and if core staff members aren’t operating as a unified team, individuals can become displaced and driven by their own agendas.

For the onset, think of your employee value proposition. Most companies consider their consumer value proposition but fail to do so with their employees. Sadly, the leading cause of many business closures is poorly managed teams and inept leadership from the top down.

On the flip side, a company that has a smart people strategy in place, along with a mandate for global best practice and a strong hold on local market intelligence, will enjoy heightened morale, a surge in innovation, improved productivity and market competitiveness.

There’s no denying it: culture is the bedrock of all business… so don’t put yours on hold; give it the attention it deserves.

Cassie Sacks is the Managing Director of we.people, a human resource outsourcing agency that specialises in helping small to medium sized agencies in the digital/tech, advertising, creative, media and communications industry. Before launching we.people, Cassie Sacks career has seen her work with top level management inside network agencies and independents, most recently as the people and development director of creative hotshop The Works (Sydney) and as the national human resources manager of Whybin\TBWA Group Australia.

Cassie Sacks