How To Gain Access And Hire The Right Talent For Your Startup

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By Strive Masiyiwa, Econet Wireless founder and Zimbabwe’s richest man.

When a business is small or just starting out, it is extremely difficult to hire the best people that are available, because you may not be able to offer the job security that people are looking for, or you just might not be as prestigious, as the well established businesses.
You must do your best, even if it means offering them an opportunity to own shares, to compensate for the risk they are taking in joining you.

Number 1.
You have to be convinced that talent and skills matter:
The first thing, that you have to do, is to have a “conviction” in yourself, that talented and skilled people are important for you. Some people will hire people, simply for window dressing. You have to begin with a deep respect of what you can achieve if you have “access” to the right people.

Number 2.
make the pool in which you look, as big as possible:
Once you are ready to bring in the best skills you can find, in your community or country, you must be willing to embrace diversity, because at the very least it makes your talent pool, very big.
Don’t focus on hiring relatives, and clansmen. Don’t exclude woman and people of other races, and religions.
Increasing the size of your talent pool, also requires particular focus on helping young people, acquire work experience through you. So many of our best people, were first spotted, whilst still at school, or as school leavers, working on odd jobs for us. You do not have to be big, before you do this; just don’t exploit them, but pay them, and help them, go on to further education.

Number 3.
Access includes the people who advise you:
You may not be able to offer employment to the best qualified people, but you must be a person who values professional advisors. And if you are not willing to pay for the advice, its worthless.
Be a person who enjoys getting the views of the best people, out there.
There are many people in our organization who began as outside advisors, but when we became bigger, I was able to get them to join full time.

Number 4.
Value the talent and skills, in your organization:
Some people are afraid to acknowledge those who are talented and skilled, because they think it will make them “big headed”, and lead to unreasonable demands. To the contrary, when people feel valued and appreciated, it increases their commitment, to an organization, and the vision of its leaders.

Number 5.
Encourage the people who already work for you to develop themselves. Encourage them to go back to school, whenever possible; encourage them to take up courses, and give them support.


This piece first appeared on Strive Masiyiwa’s Facebook group page.



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