I’ve been the first human resources leader at two successful startups. In both cases I built the human resources function and the people teams from the ground up.
Doing this from scratch means thinking about everything from compliance to compensation. Often processes and procedures just fell into place before I came to me, so my job was to evaluate if they made sense.
One of the most complex and interesting topics I tackle is benefits packages. It’s a topic that often comes up with startups looking to ensure they have a competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and retaining talent.
However, it’s also been known to get out of hand, and with startups tightening their budgets, I think we’ll see the benefits change dramatically in the coming months.
Founders should ask themselves what really matters to their business and what benefits best align with their cultural values.
Just about every company will have their own take on what to offer to employees, so founders inevitably struggle with what the cut is (and what isn’t). There is no “one size fits all” package of benefits, and there shouldn’t be, as each company has its own objectives and goals.
Here are four aspects that founders should consider when building benefit packages:
Focus on what matters most to your people
It is imperative that startups don’t try to match what other tech companies are offering. It will be impossible to offer every flashy new perk you come across, or offer extravagant packages like Google or Facebook.
For example, Netflix offers unlimited parental leave, which is incredible, but for an early startup it would be daunting and difficult to offer.