Over the past few years, more and more startups have been breaking the rules of hiring and introducing new ways of looking at acquiring talent and building teams. One of the most significant trends that startups have spurred is that of building diverse teams of professionals from various industries and verticals. By focussing on building a talent base that’s a mix of different skills and levels of experiences, startups are promoting a cross-vertical hiring culture to target faster business growth. Moreover, along with bringing in a fresh perspective by hiring recent graduates from various educational backgrounds, startups are also looking to hire senior cross vertical resources from established IT companies and internet companies that understand what it is like working with technology.
For bootstrapped or early-stage startups, where funding is limited, and certain goals need to be met in a specific period, cross vertical hiring is an efficient way to build a small, but a capable team that is equipped to oversee all essential aspects of building a business. But the million-dollar question is how to go about the hiring process?
First, the start-up founders or management must identify the verticals that may be combined and what business outcomes they should be responsible for. Next, it is essential to understand how individuals from different verticals can apply their experiences in an entirely new or relatively new function, and what value they add to the company. Then comes the hiring process, wherein, along with assessing candidates, the recruiters must clearly explain the growth prospects accompanying such a hybrid role, while also helping them understand what the role entails. But the process doesn’t end with merely recruiting employees. In fact, it’s only the beginning. Once the team has been set up, the management must continuously evaluate the returns from investing time and money towards building across the vertical team and the impact the collective knowledge of different verticals has on the organisation in the short term as well as long term.
Benefits of adopting a cross-vertical hiring culture
The biggest benefit of adopting a cross-vertical hiring culture is probably to the organisation, as the top leaders in startups or small business can leverage the knowledge, experience, and multi-domain exposure of the team to achieve positive business outcomes and growth objectives. A talent force comprising professionals from diverse industries, sectors, organisational cultures, and experiences in different roles, bring a lot to the table in terms of their problem-solving capabilities. They can offer not only unique insights into business problems and challenges but also practical solutions at various stages of the organisation’s lifecycle.
On the other hand, employees from different backgrounds and with varying levels of experience get the opportunity to work together in a far less hierarchical structure as compared to corporates or large organisations. While younger, less experienced employees have the chance to learn from more experienced professionals and experts and work directly with the founders and top leaders at a start-up, the older team members can benefit from the fresh perspective that the younger employees bring with them.
Moreover, employees even at an entry-level have the chance to make significant contributions in a start-up, whether it is in its early stage or growth phase. As the teams are smaller, they have more responsibilities along with a chance to add real value to the organisation’s overall growth. No doubt that the learning curve is sometimes also much steeper and the challenges greater when an employee is involved in different functions, but the payoffs can be huge for such employees, with their career growth happening at a much faster pace as compared to those starting out in the corporate sector or large companies.
When building a cross-vertical team, it’s critical to weigh all the potential benefits and challenges of such an organisational structure as well as to plan the recruitment process for hiring the right talent thoroughly. Also, it is necessary to train employees, especially first-timers and less experienced hires, that can enable them to take on multiple roles, along with nurturing their existing talents and leveraging them towards achieving business outcomes.