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How To Think About Filling Talent Gaps

Ty Anderson

How To Think About Filling Talent Gaps
Any start-up or growing company knows that one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to afford the right talent that can take you to the next level. The problem we often run into is that companies are looking for a Mercedes but are only willing or able to pay for a Chevy. We are going to dissect this challenge to help you determine where to allocate your budget and how to avoid some common missteps.

Identify Your Biggest Gap
Is your team in place but you need help raising money? Sounds like a CFO. Have a great product and enough cash (for now) but need to increase awareness and sales? Probably a Sales and Marketing expert. Hit a ceiling on product development? Perhaps a technology consultant. Many times the gaps that exist are the blind-spot of the founder/CEO. If you have a healthy leadership team and/or board, enlist their help to identify your gaps. Keep in mind that sometimes these aren’t just open positions; they might be upgrades you need to make.

Determine If you Need The Talent Full-Time
Once you identify your gaps, determine if this is a full-time hire, a fractional or a short-term consulting project. Think about it using the Pareto Principle…can you get 80% of the value and pay 20% of the cost? This approach gets you want you need and frees up capital for other areas.

Focus on Outcomes, not Hourly Rates
If you go with some kind of fractional and/or consulting route, don’t get too hung up on hourly rates. Why? Compare and despair syndrome...nobody should make that much per hour, right? Instead, focus on the outcomes you want and agree on a price and timing and then forget about the hours. Getting clear on business outcomes is all that matters.

To Bridge Compensation Gaps, You Need To Be Creative
If you decide to hire a full-time employee, often times you’ll have a gap in what the right candidates wants and what you are able to afford. “A” players don’t come cheap so don’t settle for a “B” player you can afford. Get creative with the various components of compensation. Build off a base that is close to market and then fill the gap with outcome based variable pay (a bonus with clear expectations, deliverables and timelines) as well as equity. If the package equals (ideally exceeds) the candidates expectations in terms of dollars but they don’t go for it, chances are they aren’t comfortable with the risks associated with your business. Try to flush this out earlier in the interview process but better late than never, right? You need talent that buys into your vision and is willing to go on what is probably going to be a roller coaster ride.

For more info on bridging the comp gap, read our blog post: http://www.andcor.com/Blog/ANDCOR-COMPENSATION

Summary
Putting the right people in the right seat, regardless of whether it is full or part time, consulting project or contractor, is what Andcor has been doing for MN companies for over 45 years.
If you need an independent expert to listen to some of your challenges and offer some guidance, contact Maura Kipp at maura@andcor.com.

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