The Recruiting Times recently spoke with Benjamin Gunter, one of the founders and CEO of fashion affiliates company, STYLIGHT, about how their business sources and retains the best talent. We also discussed what they’d learned over their five year journey from university project with four employees to international business operating in 19 countries and employing 160 people.
Q. How did you find great people to hire when there is so much competition?
Clearly, times have changed. Companies used to have the choice between a large selection of qualified people waiting desperately for a positive reply regarding their application. But now competition is tough, generally companies want the same high quality, potential candidates and need to be more than prepared to competitively hunt for the best talent.
The key to this competition is to be aware that you have to be persuasive enough to make the right people want to work for your company.
The first critical step is to focus on employer branding in order to attract the right candidates. STYLIGHT spreads enthusiasm through its website, adverts, career pages and, last but not least, through the people who love to work for our team.
For us STYLIGHT is more than just a company, it’s where we spend so much time and it’s in our hearts! We love that we’re always motivated to go the extra mile – and our applicants sense that when they get in touch with STYLIGHT.
Our HR team cares for people and thus tries to make the application experience as positive as possible during every single step of the recruiting process. Applications are answered quickly and candidates are always treated respectfully and in a friendly manner. Beyond that our company is popular for holding great parties and events, for example, the STYLIGHT Influencer Awards.
When applicants step into the office they immediately get the sense of our creative, energetic environment. Applicants understand that STYLIGHT is a young, creative team but also that we face new interesting, complex and fascinating challenges every day. Beyond that we offer some nice “goodies” such as in our office in the heart of Munich, where we offer free coffee and cereal every day and regular events sponsored by the company.
STYLIGHT attracts people who are looking for the opportunity to develop and realise their own ideas and dreams. It’s a young company so applicants can really make a difference. Everybody feels appreciated for whom he or she is and this is what makes us stand out of the crowd as an employer.
Q. How does a startup retain its best people? What incentives or schemes help?
STYLIGHTers have a huge scope of action from their very first day. Everybody works on his/her own projects and can implement their own ideas right away.
Flat hierarchies facilitate communication between everyone on the same level, so every opinion is heard and appreciated. There is a dynamic and highly motivated team that everybody loves to work with.
Social incentives and high responsibility are evidently much bigger incentives than a high salary. Yet, STYLIGHT also pays employees above average to reward people for their vision that constantly pushes the company success to the next level. There are also weekly fitness classes, an annual ski trip and food trucks that park outside the office at lunchtimes!
Q. What tips about hiring and retaining talent can you offer?
Every company needs to state its company values. It is critical to understand that the image of the company is what eventually attracts people who match the requirements and the philosophy of the team.
However, the work is not done by recruiting the best candidates – it is quite important to make people who have already been hired feel happy. Many companies take the topic of feel-good management into account, which builds solid grounds for retaining talent. It spreads the idea that keeping employees happy makes them more productive, creating a central factor for success.
STYLIGHT is taking care of its employees and aims to provide them with all they need to prosper.
Q. Are you always on the hunt for new talent?
STYLIGHT is constantly changing and growing as a company. For this reason it is quite essential to find talented and motivated people who can realise the visions and ideas of STYLIGHT. Each business appears to be as strong as the people creating and developing it. Thus, we are always looking for interesting people with a proactive approach to join us in our headquarters in Munich (Germany) or in our offices in London and New York City.
The image below shows a breakdown of STYLIGHT’s employees over the last five years along with their employee profiles.