From the ground up

Two C-Suite leaders of start-ups share the kinds of challenges they encounter in talent attraction and retention.

Vincent Wong

Country Head

ShopBack Singapore

We’re always on the lookout for people who can hit the ground running, but it’s crucial that we know that they’re headed in the right direction. As a start-up, we don’t have the luxury of widespread name-recognition, so we must make that extra effort to sell our vision effectively, ensuring that our employees’ objectives are always in line with those of the company.

Attracting talent is like trying to attract your most loyal, supportive customers. You want someone who is ready to buy into your vision. They must have the aspiration to pave a way for the company to move upwards and outwards, shaping the corporate culture along the way.

Moreover, during this process, our leaders and top executives act as the face of our vision. They are also on a constant search to find the right people who will embrace this opportunity to leave a permanent footprint behind.

Furthermore, at the end of the day, if we can’t retain our employees, the entire recruitment process will be rendered futile. Hence, we move beyond just tangible assets and focus on emotional currency too – we give our employees the opportunity to engage. Once we’ve attracted the right people, it’s our responsibility to reciprocate this ambition by being in tune with our company’s vision.

We want our employees to make an impact, but also see the subsequent changes. Thus, we have implemented tools to help bridge the team’s performance and vision together, encouraging them to stay ambitious, even if it means exploring uncharted waters.

This system also ensures transparency. Our employees have clear objectives to work towards, and are also aware of the impact various divisions have on one another. That way, we’re constantly working alongside our co-workers to reap tangible outcomes.

Another challenge we face is managing and improving the tenacity of our people. It can be challenging for anyone to maintain that sense of drive, so we always celebrate accomplishments.

 

Race Wong

Chief Operating Officer

Ohmyhome

When Google offered Sheryl Sandberg her first role as a general manger at the start-up, not only was the package offered lower than the other offers she received, there were also no employees there for her to manage.

A general manager with no employees to manage? That seems like both a ludicrous short-term investment from the company, and a strange decision from Sandberg when it came to how best to use her talents. So what made her join Google?

People who choose to join a start-up instead of a big organisation have an entrepreneurial spirit in them. Instead of heading for a job with a safety net, they are looking to work for something exciting. They are striving towards a bigger goal that they resonate with, something bigger than just the monthly wage. Fast-forward a few years later, and we all know Sheryl Sandberg made the right decision to join Google.

She soon became vice president of global online sales and operations, and today, she is one of the most iconic women in the technology world.

To attract the right talent, we sell them our passion, drive and dreams. Cultural fit and a good character are most important to us – most of everything else can be learned on the job after the recruit has signed on. People who don’t believe in the company goals should not join us and for those who do, they stay and fight the battles together as a team.

At Ohmyhome, we operate in a lattice-like structure where information flow is transparent, and the culture is one that is collaborative and team-spirited. There is no corporate ladder where development and status create a dreadful one-way climb from the bottom up.

Every individual is fully aware of the huge responsibilities that their job role encompasses and are encouraged to voice their opinions and ideas.

My team has no qualms telling me and the CEO to work faster, stay late, come back on public holidays, and they even impose “fines” for missing deadlines. All that is possible because we share a common goal in producing excellent work.

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