Tools to Uplevel Your Talent Program
When you’re building a venture-backed Seed, Post-seed, or Series-A stage startup, the most critical component to its success is having the best people in the right roles to help you grow. I built the Talent Management Program at Companyon Ventures to help our pre-Series A portfolio companies identify, hire, and retain the best talent. These are the tools and systems I use inside of our portfolio companies. They’re drawn from our collective experience to help companies assess their current talent process, identify gaps, and upgrade their entire talent management function before they have a full time Talent Management or HR resource.
Now we want to open up our toolkit to all growing companies looking to build great teams. Here you’ll find templates, samples, best practices, and checklists to evaluate your organization’s talent program and build a great foundation for hiring. We’ve outlined the toolkit and provided information for each stage below:
Download the Entire Talent Toolkit Here >>
Step 1: Build Your Employer Brand
Most seed and Series A startups haven’t spent time explicitly focusing on building an employer brand, but it’s a crucial piece of your talent strategy. Your employer brand is your identity, culture, and reputation as an employer. It’s how your company is perceived as a potential place to work. To attract and retain the right people, you’ll want to ensure candidates have a clear understanding of who you are and what your culture is like.
- Employer Brand Playbook: Use our playbook to enhance your brand and clearly communicate it to potential candidates and employees.
- Employer Brand Checklist: This checklist is a companion to our playbook and allows you to track your progress as you work to fill your brand gaps.
- Company Insight Deck: Candidates want to work for a company where there is culture, mission and value alignment. Use this template for inspiration on sharing details about what it’s like to work at your company.
Tip: For some thoughts about building your startup culture, see our post, “5 Steps to Build a Startup Culture That Fuels Growth”
Step 2: Cultivate Your Network
The best teams are always looking for great talent to add to their ranks. Building an extensive network will support that effort and allow you to source candidates directly or through referrals when you have an open role.
- Sharing with Your Network Templates: Here you’ll find language suggestions around open positions, announcing a new hire, etc. that you can use to help you strengthen your LinkedIn muscle.
- Guide to Building an Employee Referral Program: Reference this guide to create and share a program incentivizing employees to refer candidates from their own networks.
Step 3: Build a Great Interview Process
Losing that perfect candidate or hiring the wrong one can delay achieving a critical inflection point, and even make or break a venture-funded startup. The interview process is likely where you’re going to lose a top candidate or miss a signal leading to a bad hire. Building structure into your interview process introduces objectivity and rigor into your decision making, allowing you to quantify what you need in each role to hire quickly and confidently across your team. It will also dramatically increase your odds of landing a great candidate who has multiple offers.
- Job Kick-off Template: These questions will help you identify what you’re looking for in the role and what the interview process will look like. It’s a form intended to be shared with your external and/or internal talent partners to give them a basic understanding of the role and interview process.
- Hiring Scorecard Template: Here you’ll be able to dive deeper into the role before posting it to give yourself a rubric for assessing potential candidates as they apply. You’ll be able to identify the mission of the role, the goals it sets out to accomplish and the competencies that will contribute to your ideal candidate’s success.
- Job Description Template: Use this template to create an external job posting that highlights your brand, the role, and what you’re looking for in a candidate at a high level.
- Interview Preparation Deck: This deck template can help you establish a practice of meeting with your interview team to kick off the interview process and proactively sharing your hiring scorecard. This gives you the opportunity to communicate the scorecard traits and competencies you’ve identified as critical to the role.
- Interview Email Templates: Here you’ll find language for reaching out to candidates, scheduling interviews, and communicating feedback.
- Interview Agenda: Share this agenda sample with interviewers to help them prepare for their conversations with candidates and make sure that each interviewer has a unique and meaningful conversation.
- Interview Debrief Agenda: Use this sample agenda to establish a timely internal debrief process and drive feedback conversations.
Step 4: Onboard New Hires Like a Pro
A thoughtful and thorough onboarding process will provide a strong foundation for your new hire, with the first 90 days having an outsize impact on their experience. Managers can set their employees up for success by preparing a first week schedule for their new hire, outlining expectations and detailing goals.
- First Week Planning Templates: These lists and schedules will help you map out your new hire’s first week. It’s a good reminder to allocate time for things like team introductions, systems setup, HR onboarding, shadowing, etc.
- Onboarding Samples: Use these templates for suggestions on how to clearly outline expectations and goals for an employee’s first 90 days.
- Onboarding & Offboarding Checklist: These checklists will help ensure that you don’t miss any critical steps when onboarding or terminating employees.
- New Hire Onboarding Deck Sample: This deck template will guide you in creating a resource that you can use to orient new hires and address common FAQs.
Download the Entire Toolkit Here >>
All of this information might feel overwhelming, but my intention is to give you the resources to get started on evaluating and upleveling your current Talent program. Few early-stage entrepreneurs focus on building a strong talent infrastructure, but it’s the most important part of building your team and an area of the business that you can’t afford to not invest in as you grow. And if you’re excited about all of this but don’t have time to implement, reach out and I can help!
These resources are free to use, modify, and share with attribution to Companyon Ventures.
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