Strategic Human Capital Insights

How Startups Must Think About Human Capital Planning to Drive Success

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

  1. A product that the market values
  2. The right team to realize your business goals
  3. The ability to 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 knowledge and skills is 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. How would an investor evaluate a startup for investment potential when seen through those lenses?

When an organization has more than ten 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 its future immediately. Human capital issues should not be left to chance or 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 continually focus 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 correctly 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 constantly in flux, operating in growing and fast-changing environments. Make sure the right people are in the correct position.

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

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

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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