The global startup scene is thriving. More companies were formed last year than ever before – and while Silicon Valley-based stereotypes dictate these are all going to be hugely successful companies headed by a gaggle of rookie millennials, most startup founders aren’t 20-something college dropouts.
In fact, according to researchers at the Kauffman Foundation, the typical company founder is closer to 40-years-old – and a startup launched by someone over 55 is nearly twice as likely to succeed as a company launched by a 20 to 34-year-old. Yet the fact of that matter is, without a diverse mix of age, experience and backgrounds, a vast majority of 2014’s fresh new startups won’t last the year.
Here are five ways your new company can avoid that fate by diversifying your workforce:
1. Rethink job descriptions
It makes sense to target new hires that share similar passions and visions for the future – but that doesn’t make them the best people for the job. Avoid hiring someone just because they fit with your industry culture. You should never the prerequisite of passion outweigh the need for tangible experience in the field. Hire someone because you’re confident they can get the job done.
2. Widen your search
When looking to hire a winning team, it’s crucial to look for candidates where you would least expect to find them. For example, if you’re on the hunt for a business partner to head an innovative new tech start-up, your initial instinct will be to advertise the position online.
Mix it up. Purchase an ad in your local newspaper, and post the vacancy to job boards that target completely irrelevant industries. Your goal should be to collect applications from a proverbial smorgasbord of backgrounds and experience levels.
3. Ask the experts
Long before most entrepreneurs start hiring, they’ve usually got a very resolute idea of what sort of skills and personal traits they’re looking for. Despite how unbiased and open-minded you think you’re being throughout the interview process, those preconceptions could be steering you away from the perfect candidate.
In order to eliminate that conundrum, try hiring an HR agency to do the work for you. Give them a wish-list, sit back and rest easy knowing an expert is taking charge.
4. Add a few perks
You might be able to attract the 19-year-old computer whiz you need to maintain your IT system with promises of shares in a rising company, but the 39-year-old CFO you’re after might not be so easily swayed. Offer concrete benefits that are going to sway new hires in the short term. They could include anything from childcare credits to a free gym membership – cater to the individual and it won’t go unnoticed.
Adding a few new company perks won't only attract new hires, but it could also keep crucial staff members from jumping ship.
5. Be flexible
Don’t shoot down the perfect candidate because he or she is unwilling to move across the country. Consider about how that person might be able to operate effectively working remotely, and give them a chance to prove their abilities with a trial run.
It’s also worth rethinking how your workspace caters to different types of workers. Could it be made more handicap-accessible? Do you offer different types of work spaces so that brilliant introverts won’t feel excruciatingly awkward in your trendy open-space office? Be flexible about how you let your team work, and the rewards could be great.
We all love the idea of being surrounded by a team of likeminded individuals – but without a little diversity, you’ve got no one to challenge group decisions and force the company to justify a risky move. By hiring the right people from the get-go, you’ll maximize your company’s odds of survival.