Recruitment is Retention

Walk into the Bay Area’s hottest startups and what do you see?

Exposed brick. Ping pong. A kegerator.

And that’s cool. No really, it’s f’ing awesome. It’s part of why I love working at startups.

Yet the underlying premise of these seemingly foolish, productivity-sucking devices is actually not foolish at all.

Companies who treat employees well, keep them. And retention is critical to a startup’s success.

But where startups miss the mark is in thinking that retention is a reactionary strategy instead of a preventive one.

To illustrate, let’s take a quick peek at the United States military:

We have the largest volunteer army in the world, but it wasn’t always this way. Conscription (known as the draft) played a huge role in our victories against the Germans in World Wars and even ourselves in the Civil War. But it didn’t come without consequences like deserters and government bribes.

For example, Muhammad Ali refused to fight in Vietnam and mysteriously had a 5-year prison sentence overturned by the Supreme Court. Nowadays, however, “retention remains at historically high levels… some soldiers are now completing their third and fourth tours.”

And this is powerful information.

When people believe in your vision and want to work with you to achieve it, retention is baked into the job.

As for the ping-pong tables?

That’s recruitment.

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