Strategic Human Capital Insights

2 Ways Startups Must Think About Human Capital Planning

You can't start soon enough. Startups need to focus on three key drivers in order to accelerate success:

1. Do you have a product that the market values?

2. Do you have the right team to realize your business goals?

3. Can you outcompete your competition?

It’s never too early to start managing people, your most important asset.

Startups, by their very nature, are fast-paced and change continually.  Every person in every role will make a critical, strategic difference.  There is no room for error, nowhere to hide and no place for people who are stagnating.  Given the recent research stating that the shelf life of both knowledge and skills is now 2.5 years, think about the impact that scenario can have on lean, startup operations.  How quickly can robust human capital become obsolete?  Through a rigorous, business-focused assessment system, startup companies can quickly and accurately assess their human capital in terms of productivity percentages, value creation, stagnation and erosion, and positive, neutral and negative trends.  When seen through those lenses, how would an investor evaluate a startup for investment potential?

As soon as an organization has more than 10 people, it requires thoughtful planning, definition, structure and a disciplined rigor that may seem counterintuitive to the startup mentality.  However, every startup needs to plan for their future right from the start.  The issues of human capital should not be left to chance or to the thought that ‘we are not yet big enough to worry about human capital.’  Every startup needs to think about business results and about increasing the ROI of their people.  They must be continually focused on improving financial results by unlocking human capital potential.

2 Ways Startups Should Think about Human Capital Planning:

1. Determine RoleFit©:  Business Strategy, Role and Competency Alignment

Clear role definition and assignment, together with objective, strategically-benchmarked competencies that are properly aligned, can prevent missed opportunities.

Increase the value of your organization by ensuring the full performance of your human capital resources and their optimal assignment, in the right roles.  Startup roles are in a constant state of flux operating in growing and fast-changing environments.  Make sure the right people are in the right role.

2. Create a Sustainable, High-Performance Culture, Right from the Start

Culture is the glue that keeps an organization together and establishes key operating norms.  It is directly linked with strategy and determines key outcomes.  

Culture can be very fragile in startup and growth companies.  Change is constant and dynamic creating constant ‘culture stress’.  Creating a high-performance culture right from the beginning must be a strategic initiative. The sooner startup companies focus on culture as a real strategic differential, the more likely that culture will be alive, productive and robust. 

We invite you to
download our human capital presentation to learn more about human capital as a strategic differentiator at your startup.

Download the Human Capital Presentation

Topics: Phoenix Strategic Performance

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

In 2014, Joanne Flynn founded Phoenix Strategic Performance, a strategic human capital advisory firm. Prior to this, Joanne was Vice President at Goldman Sachs for 10 years responsible for global learning and development. She then led the consulting practice of Phoenix Group International, a consulting firm specializing in global financial service. Joanne is now taking best practices from the people-intensive financial services industry and adapting those best practices to startup and growth businesses. She is a thought leader in the areas of strategic organizational alignment, organizational agility, human capital gap analysis, leadership challenges for the new workplace and transformation leadership.

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