Compete on Meaning
When you’re a growth stage business with limited funds, it’s hard to attract the best talent in the market. It’s especially difficult because you have to compete against larger, well funded employers.
They offer better pay, job security, career progression, nicer offices and more generous perks. Even if you tried really hard, you’d probably only be ‘just as good’ as them on certain factors. Not enough to beat them in the war for talent.
An opportunity to do meaningful work is one factor that large employers struggle to offer, and it's also a factor that consistently ranks a top priority for candidates.
It’s as important and sometimes more important than better pay. This is especially true for top talent in the market who rarely explore new opportunities just for the money.
Working for a large employer often feels like being a small cog in a large wheel and employees struggle to feel like their work matters. In fact, the feeling that their work doesn’t matter is one of the reasons many of them consider a new opportunity in the first place.
The opportunity for growth stage Startups and SMEs
Instead of competing on job factors large employers easily dominate, it’s smarter to compete on a factor they struggle with, i.e.; meaningful work.
The wonderful coincidence is that meaningful work is something growth stage Startups and SMEs are naturally better positioned to offer compared to large employers. When you’re a smaller organisation, with a smaller team, it’s easier for team members to feel like they’re part of something bigger.
It’s easier to see how your work matters when you’re working for a 20 person business compared to when you’re working for a massive multinational corporation.
This is why we sometimes see consultants leave large consulting firms like McKinsey to work with a smaller social enterprise or an experienced digital marketer leave a large MNC to work with a small startup.
Double down on creating meaningful work opportunities.
If you’re looking to compete for talent, start by doing a great job at articulating your organisation’s purpose and how your job opportunity is a chance to contribute to the bigger picture.
A competitive pay, decent working environment and the other common job factors are still something candidates will consider. As an employer, you should do your best to offer them but don’t count on winning talent on those factors.