It’s no news anymore that the European tech ecosystem is booming. Capital is coming from all parts of the world, and we are all noticing the effects of this in steep growth: an even stronger talent scarcity and a steep increase in salaries.
By the end of 2020, Europe had 60 unicorn startups, today there are more than 70 (and we expect more to join the ranks this year). This dynamic is impacting the reality for HR leaders – something we wanted to address.
To really get to the bottom of all this, we invited phenomenal speakers from two of the hottest unicorns in the fintech space: Lindsay Ross, CHRO Bitpanda and Michael Becher, CHRO wefox.
Both have seen multiple hyper scaling unicorns, experienced an IPO and are now leading the people team function themselves – with all the fun and challenges that come with it. To make the fintech experience complete, we asked Noor van Boven, founder of INVESTED and former CHRO of N26, to moderate through the evening.
How startups can attract top talent
In the battle for talent, it is becoming increasingly common for successful scale-ups to steal talent from each other. The talent pool in the EU is simply too small to cater for this hunger for growth. So what can be done to access global talent and to keep current employees?
Look after current employees
According to our panelists, it requires a 360° approach to make sure employees feel valued, heard and taken care of. Of course, it is not only about attracting new people as the business grows, but also about supporting the people who made that growth possible.
Giving equity to all employees can be a powerful tool to make everyone feel a sense of responsibility and ownership but also to share the success. As Lindsay puts it, “We are all owners, the more we do, the more we win together”.
Especially to close the current gender and diversity gap – “if we keep only investing in the core folk that are on top, guess who is on the top!” Giving all employees the same opportunity is a fantastic way to change that and create a real impact.
Michael from wefox agrees: “Compensation overall is an important topic”, because keeping the balance across the whole organisation and creating stability are especially important in fast growing companies. According to Michael, compensation for retainment rather than immediate recognition is needed, especially when attrition rate is high – a situation that many hyper growth companies will face at some point.
A personalised benefits package
But of course, the employee benefits strategy a company offers is also a key decision factor for new talent. While most companies have a long list of benefits which employees will never use, Lindsay has a different approach: “We want to empower people to choose what is right for them, because everybody’s life circumstances are totally different.”
Giving employees the opportunity to choose which type of employee benefits are best for them and leveraging an individual tailored approach in all areas makes a real difference, according to her experience.
What is also important is to understand that employees have a good overview of different benefits packages at potential new employers – even internationally. As the pandemic has given remote work a huge push, European companies are increasingly competing against US employers and their – often significantly bigger – benefits packages.
Overarching inclusive support
Even beyond the benefits offered, employees should feel supported. There are times for everybody where life just happens and employees might need extra time or additional support. “Why would we ever want to be the company that makes life hard for people?”, says Lindsay.
Of course it is not always possible to support anyone individually – especially in hyper growth companies. Therefore, it is important to build a network of key partners that you trust and that can support your team in the areas that you and your employees deeply care about.
3 main takeaways from the evening
- With increasing talent scarcity, employers should give their employees the freedom to choose what works best for them in some areas. For example, if you allow for remote work without the need to relocate, you will have access to a way bigger talent pool
- Equity can make a real difference – creating ownership and a sense of responsibility as well as shared success can be very powerful, especially to close the current gender and diversity gap. However, to make it work, communication is key because way too often, equity agreements are not fully understood by the workforce. An easy solution can be to give both the official equity agreements as well as a version that is “translated into everyday’s language”.
- There is no “one fits all approach” for benefits – life circumstances are different & employees should get the opportunity to choose what is best for them. Of course, this should always bear in mind what type of talent you want to attract.
We are beyond excited to go deeper into those bold topics at the next edition of “BOLD & BEYOND by Apryl”. So, if you feel like sharing your own experiences, please reach out to us directly. We’ll also share more learnings and insights from the event within the next weeks – so stay tuned and follow us on Linkedin.
Read our article ‘what are fertility benefits‘ to find out more about our leading benefits program at Apryl, and how we can help your startup to stand out from the rest. Want to see how it works? Book a no-obligation demo.
About the event
BOLD&BEYOND is an event series created by Apryl to share experiences from different HR leaders about creating inclusive benefits in the workplace. It serves as a platform to discuss bold and progressive topics that are inevitable for an inclusive work environment. Because we believe that understanding the sociodemographic trends and offering employees the support & benefits that actually matter will be the deciding factor for the workforce of tomorrow.