June 22, 2017

Top Tips for Hiring and Retaining Top Talent

Hiring and retaining talent is hard. Our expertise is in your finance and accounts, but we work with hundreds of experienced founders. Each of them has faced the challenge of not only finding the best person for the job – but convincing them to stay for the long run too.


Whether it’s building relationships and culture or managing your staff, there’s someone who’s done it.


So, we asked some experienced founders what their top tips are for hiring the best person and keeping them in the job.


Create Values and Culture

Organisational culture is fundamental to any company. It compiles a set of ideas and norms that the firm wants and how the employees work and behave in the working environment. As Sohrab Jahanbani (@sjahanbani), Founder and CEO Bidvine says “Create some values that you really care about and make sure you hire people that are aligned to those values.”


This is not an immediate solution so “take your time” suggests Ryan Perera, CEO and Co-Founder at Captain.AI “and be sure to hire people that match your company culture and can understand your vision for the company.” It can become costly in the long run if you keep running to temporary fixes, after advertising the job role and related training. It could even demoralise the team if members are hired and are not suitable or they don’t get along.


Nick Verkroost (@nick_verkroost), COO of Seenit says “From our experience, particularly as a small team, getting the ‘fit’ right is the most important thing. You notice if someone comes into the team who doesn’t quite gel, and if the team can feel something’s not right it can cause a distraction. Finding people who are talented and fit with your culture is really hard.”





Invest in your team and understand their potential for development

Many of the founders we spoke to highlighted the importance of investing in your team and ensuring their happiness in the working environment.


As Sohrab Jahanbani, explains, “As for retaining talent, you need to constantly invest in your team, not just by creating an atmosphere in which they are happy and comfortable to work but also to ensure that they are learning and developing.”


Once individuals start feeling apathetic towards a role, this can lead to poor performance or just a feeling of dissatisfaction where “they feel they’ve plateaued,” says Rajeeb Dey (@rajdey) CEO of Learnerbly & Founder of Enternships. He recommends that you should “spend time with them in reviews, not just doing an ‘appraisal’ but also setting out a time to understand their development goals and dedicate a time for learning and improving their professional growth and show them (where possible) that the chances to develop new skills may exist within the current business (assuming, of course, you want to retain them).”


Sparing a small amount of time to discuss with employees about their satisfaction with their job role allows you to shuffle tasks around to achieve ultimate job satisfaction. Understandably, there are some tasks that will be tedious or less involving but you can suggest they be evenly spread between employees to vary their job roles.  Jack Tang (@summfire)founder and CEO of Funky Panda Games says, “You need to put talent in the right position so they could achieve their personal goal during the work and won’t feel bored.”

Leverage your own network

As an unwritten rule, most companies will initially look to hire using personal contacts rather than advertisements – as the latter is riskier and much more expensive. As Shane Feng (@xianglondon) of Tantrum XYZ says, “It’s important to leverage your own network to find those early top talents that believe in your business and believes your vision.” A local network allows you to cherry pick those potential employees that you believe will support the team established and will fit in.


However, we must not rule out the important role of recruitment agencies. If direct contacts are not available, they can facilitate introduction. Recruitment agencies can help encourage employees to apply for in-house roles as a back-channel rather than applying for them directly.  Shane Feng followed up saying “Recruitment agency websites are useful, but it can be difficult to find those top quality early employees who share your vision.  The best talents often come from unexpected sources.”

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Delegate the hiring process to the team

Teams of employees generally enjoy having the reins passed over to them once every so often. Allowing employees to hold responsibility for who gets to work with them and who they think would integrate well into the team. They are also more likely to have the best judgement for this.


Nick Verkroost says “Giving the team ownership of the initial interview phases not only gives them a great sense of responsibility, but it also means they think carefully about whether they would be inspired to work with the candidate.”


Keep it fun and flexible

Employees are more likely to stay if they have good management and are content in the workplace. An employee’s needs are not always based on bonuses, nor is top talent always incentivised by money. A positive, fun and friendly workplace is a key player in retention strategy.


Jack Tang suggests “Making your working environment fun and flexible. People all have different needs and not everything can be solved by money, especially when you don’t have a lot of cash in the bank.”


Further to this, you can incentivise early hires through Share Options.  The EMI Share Option Scheme is a highly attractive and tax efficient way of attracting and retaining top talent.  If you want to know more,
e-mail emily@ihorizon.co.uk















Rajeeb Dey

Founder & CEO of Learnerbly


Learnerbly is a seed-funded startup based in East London. We’re passionate about learning and helping others learn. We help fast growing tech companies and creative  agencies such as ustwo, IDEO and Vouchercodes.co.uk find the right learning opportunities for their teams to accelerate professional growth. Learnerbly was inspired by Enternships, a company that has helped place recent graduates into 7,000+ companies in the United Kingdom.













Sohrab Jahanbani

Founder & CEO Bidvine


Bidvine is the fast, free way to get competing quotes for local services from interested, available professionals. No legwork. No hassle.












Jack Tang CEO

Founder of Funky Panda Games


Funky Panda is a Mobile Gaming startup founded in 2015. We’re a small, talented team with a big dream to become one of the best mobile game makers in the world. We treat ourselves like a sports team, everyone is specialised in their main discipline but can also help others on other parts. We are super flexible on game ideas and like to embrace concept which we like. The company has successfully received the Angel Fund in the 1st round of fund raising and has high hopes for future ventures and additional projects.













Shane Feng

Founder of Tantrum XYZ


TantrumXYZ was set up to make parenting just that little bit more enjoyable. If you’ve got a question simply ask the Parenting Brain. If you need some inspiration or entertainment scroll through the Breader’s Digest. If you’re looking for product and gift ideas visit our shop of items tried, tested and loved by parents.














Ryan Perera

CEO and Co-Founder at Captain.AI


Captain AI is building the world’s most efficient automated on-demand delivery software; enabling organisations globally to offer on-demand delivery with their own fleet, maintain control of brand, whilst providing customers with a cutting edge delivery experience.














Nick Verkroost

COO of Seenit 


A video collaboration tool that enables companies to produce high impact video at scale by engaging their own communities of employees, customers and fans around the world.




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