When it comes to things like budgets, overheads, and products, businesses are used to planning ahead. But with recruitment, many organisations are reactive, waiting until after that infamous “have you got 5 minutes?” handing-in-the-notice chat to start thinking about how to fill a gap in their team. Or just simply not taking the time to really map out what they need, what they need to do to attract these types of individuals and understanding realistic timeframes to achieve this.
It’s especially common at startups and rapid-growth companies. As Fintech sales industry experts, we understand that the potential to go from a relatively unknown firm to the next big thing overnight, makes planning ahead notoriously tricky.
A strategic approach to recruitment
Recruiting for a high-growth company can often feel a bit chicken and egg: you need sales people to sell the product, their job will be harder without marketers to drive awareness and create leads, but you won’t have anything for either to sell without engineers and product managers. It’s hard to know who to prioritise and time is always at a premium.
It’s why more and more firms are investing in senior, board-level HR leaders. People Director, Chief HR Officer, Chief People Officer, it’s a role that goes by many names but has the same fundamental, crucial responsibility: get the right people in the right jobs and keep them there.
The cost of not prioritising people
In the past, it’s been overlooked. Anyone who’s worked in a fast-paced, high-growth environment knows that it’s normal for team members to wear many hats with recruitment often becoming an “add-on” to someone’s role. Often falling to the Founder or CEO, recruitment is incredibly time consuming with lots of CVs to sift before finding that perfect fit.
Best case? You still find a great fit, but you’ve taken a lot of valuable work hours away from a senior strategic leader. Worst case: you take a lot of precious time away from senior strategic leaders, compromise because it’s taking too long, then have to spend a lot of time and money replacing someone just a few months later when it doesn’t work out.
It happens more often than you think – especially in high-growth companies like fintech startups. In the first year and a half, startups often find themselves with attrition rates as high as 50% with some reporting that they had to replace a quarter of their workforce in 2021.
To a growing business where capital is often all allocated before it’s even in the bank account, unexpected people costs can be the difference between success and failure.
Building a diverse team
There’s also another hidden cost to reactive recruitment. When recruitment becomes an additional side task, it quite often means people turn to their network in the hope of finding a high-quality hire in record time.
The “I know a mate” hire, often leads to people bringing in others with similar experiences, backgrounds and mindsets. Whilst this can be a shortcut to team cohesion, it means these teams lack the different reference points and ways of thinking that can often lead to the brilliantly unique ideas that startups rely on to survive and thrive.
Research has shown that having a diverse team has a tangible impact on financial performance. Diverse teams are 70% more likely to succeed in breaking new markets and, overall, diverse companies are 35% more profitable than their non-diverse counterparts.
Investing in a HR leader
But finding the time to carefully plan a team growth strategy that curates a diverse long-term talent pipeline is a big job. It can’t just be “tacked on” to someone’s role. It requires time, experience, and HR expertise.
That’s where a Chief of People comes in. LinkedIn reported that Chief People Officer hires had increased by 56% between September 2020 and August 2021 and board appointments for HR leaders jumped by a huge 300% from 2017.
In addition, the talent recruited to this crucial position often brings diversity to the team. Looking at the 211 HR leaders who hold board positions, almost 90% are diverse either by gender or ethnicity.
It’s a trend that’s delivering value. Companies who invest in a Chief People Officer are finding themselves to be more agile when it comes to responding to unexpected people’s needs, better able to retain and engage top talent, and able to welcome a more diverse team.
A partnership approach
A Chief People Officer needs the time and headspace to be able to look at the organisation’s current and future people needs.
This is where partnering with recruitment agencies that specialise in particular areas can help busy CPOs reach high-quality candidates in record time. They can also provide a vital real-time understanding of the market and crucially, advise how you can position your firm and opportunity in a way that gives you the best opportunity of attracting the right talent.
As specialists in Fintech sales recruitment, the Finiti team is always on hand to provide both the support and expertise you need to find and hire top senior level sales talent. Reach out to our team for a chat about your next sales or sales leadership hire.