Posted on 18th September, 2017

by Emma Cerrone
Co-Founder of FreeFormers


New or old?


Within any organisation there should be a focus on both attracting new talent and developing the existing talent pool. A lot of people focus on attracting new talent but in a fast moving world where there is a talent shortage, it is also important to retrain and reskill existing talent.


The workplace is dynamic these days. People’s jobs change frequently. There has to be a confidence and capability drive within an existing team to leverage the existing talent for the benefit of the whole organisation.


Consider culture


A business must have the right culture and environment in order to attract the very best individuals.


Organisations are often good at either attracting or developing talent. But, the two elements are directly linked to each other; you attract more talent if your existing talent is really good.




For a scale up business, the approach to hiring and nurturing talent shouldn’t be any different to that of an earlier stage business. However, because of the different priorities at that time, it usually is.


Start ups are looking for people with ambition and the skills to get things off the ground. They need entrepreneurial individuals who believe in the vision and have the ability to grow something out of nothing.


As a business grows, you need to keep attracting these kinds of people but you’re also looking for people who can scale things and those who have the operational and delivery capability to succeed. You’re broadening your skill set as you go from start up to scale up but everyone needs to have the right mind set too. It’s a real danger that, as you grow, you have a very specific skill set but you don’t focus on the mindset and you get division in the team.


Definition of talent


It isn’t just a challenge to find the right talent, competing for and acquiring that talent can be tough too. You’ll need to have a clear definition of talent from the start. If your definition of talent is, for example, purely an Oxbridge graduate, you’ll find it difficult to compete and secure candidates and, down the line, you’ll pay the price for the lack of diversity in your team. Rather than competing on salary alone, it’s best if you can compete in your ability to pay a fair salary plus offer job satisfaction and invite that person to contribute to your mission. In this way, you’ll develop your own talent.


The talent pool is changing


In the future, Brexit will impact on the ability of UK businesses to attract talent. Currently, we have people from all around the world working in our organisation. Post Brexit however it is likely that we’ll be limited to a UK talent pool which means, as a nation, we’ll all really need to invest in that talent pool. The talent pool isn’t going to be as large as it was before and Brexit will change the flexibility UK businesses have to find talent from abroad, particularly in Europe.


Emma’s Top Tips for leveraging talent in your business


 1.  Focus on mindset – having employees with the right mindset is crucial


 2.  Look for the ‘Rare, responsible person’ – these people are self-motivating, self-aware and self- disciplined. As a Scale Up you    need people in your team who can see the future and drive themselves without you having to drive them individually all the time.


 3.  Go for diversity - if everyone around the table looks and thinks the same you’ll only get one view of the world.


 4.  Positive culture – find people who will add to the culture for the better, not change the culture.


 5.  Future potential - Hire based on where an employee could get to in the future rather than solely on what they’re doing now.


Once you’ve found talented individuals it is an even greater challenge to keep them! Your organisation needs a clear set of values and you must live up to them or you’ll lose talent. People need space for growth; without it the wrong people might stay, the right people won’t!



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