Industry Article

Preparing For Acceleration and Hyper-Growth – Spotlight On Austin, Texas

Austin is proving to be one of the decade’s biggest economic success stories. Experts participating at a recent Austin Chamber of Commerce event cited the city’s diverse and growing employer base, highly qualified workforce, and desirable quality of life as three factors driving its current and future prosperity.

Austin is a fantastic location for any tech company, from start-up through to hypergrowth.

Without finance, a business can’t thrive, and the Texas state capital is luring venture investors in record numbers. In 2021, funding more than doubled, with $5.5 billion invested into 412 deals. And, as the number of completed transactions rises, so does the average transaction size, with the top ten deals each exceeding $100 million.

There has been a clear shift of investors away from major tech hubs such as the Bay Area and New York towards Austin, cementing Austin’s status as the country’s hottest innovation metropolis, with investment opportunities to match. Breyer Capital, 8VC, and Bedrock Capital are among the major firms establishing offices in Austin. Meanwhile, Austin-based venture capital firms like S3 Ventures are expanding their operations.

Set up in Austin and you’ll have access to a significant amount of talent due to the rise of a highly trained workforce, primarily from California, lured to the city by its economic prospects and attractive lifestyle. Unfortunately, your competitors will as well.

As you begin to scale, your workforce requirements will evolve. Whilst gradual expansion may have been manageable in the past and something the founders could look after alongside their day jobs, once you acquire funding and shift into growth overdrive, your investors will expect you to move swiftly, bringing in the best talent at short notice. You’re going to require a hiring strategy. In fact, demonstrating that strategy will frequently be a requirement for obtaining funding in the first place.

Let’s talk about money. Pre-seed money (also known as launch investment) is often self-funded by entrepreneurs, but this is rarely a long-term sustainable strategy. Consequently, seed funding is sought to expedite product development. Typically, venture investors supply this, when they believe in your concept, see potential, and are prepared to take calculated risks.

Founders should be gathering expertise around them at this early stage; selecting and engaging with experienced advisors to assist in laying the groundwork for rapid and sustainable growth. Because of the influx of venture capital firms into Austin, initial investment may be simpler to come by right now, so long as your pitch and operating strategy are convincing!

When pitching VC’s, you’ll have a greater chance of securing funding if you can demonstrate a properly designed growth strategy, replete with strong role profiles and hiring timetables, fit for purpose assessment processes, and an equity-backed staff retention scheme.

It’s generally accepted that the most significant causes of failure in start up’s is lack of sufficient seed capital and timely access to the right talent. Our goal at Morpheus is to assist Austin tech founders in overcoming these early hurdles, by ensuring you have clear plans in place to help you acquire funding. Then, once your idea is funded, our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure you execute your plan with speed and precision, assisting you in attracting, securing, and retaining the critical talent your company will require at each stage of growth.

In our experience, partnering with a human capital advisor who understands the essential growth levers for scale up’s during the pre-funding stage, improves your chances of receiving seed investment and gives your company a competitive advantage.

The right partner will enable you to pipeline, attract, and onboard the top software engineers and sales professionals in the domestic U.S. market and beyond, putting you on the front foot when it comes to winning the war for talent.

Whatever stage of funding your business has reached, it’s critical not to lose sight of the most vital factor in every start-up’s success: timely access to talent. From product design to answering the phone, you and a small group of co-workers were in charge at first. Now, while it’s critical to have access to the right skills at every growth phase, it cannot primarily remain the responsibility of the founders, or else you risk becoming your own growth bottleneck.

In a city where talent abounds but competition for that talent is intense, partnering with an experienced talent solutions provider is a sure-fire way to ensure on-demand access to the right skills. For founders who are too preoccupied with running a rapidly expanding company to think about hiring, Morpheus provides the human capital platform you are going to need.

Whether you’re just getting started and looking for your first round of investment, or you’re ready to scale quickly, our team can help. To help obtain the finance and land the crucial talent you’ll need to make your firm a success in Austin’s vibrant economy, contact Morpheus today at (001) 346 200 7236 to schedule a discovery session on the human capital considerations you should be thinking about right now.

Morpheus, 111 Congress Ave Suite 500, Austin, Texas

The Great Regret

“The Great Resignation” marked an exodus of employees fed up with work life as they knew it, and “The Great Reshuffle” shook up the labor market as workers sought out jobs with more perks and flexibility. Now, experts are predicting a new phenomenon, “The Great Regret,” defined by many employees’ realization that the grass isn’t always greener. 

According to a survey by the Harvard Business Review, nearly a third of those that took the leap since June 2021 did not have a good outcome; and in a survey of 2,500 job changers by the Muse, 72% were disappointed for the following reasons:

  • Difficulty assimilating and integrating into a company when everything is virtual
  • Unmet job expectations: 30% said the new role is different than what was described
  • Jumping the gun: 24% said that they did not thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons

While this quitter’s remorse provides an opportunity for organizations looking to upgrade or win back former talent, it also calls on employers to exert more effort into understanding the reasons for their losses and retaining their current employees​​⁠ — because there’s still plenty of opportunity out there.

Currently, there are 12 million job openings in the United States but only 7 million people looking for work. Meaning that if all 7 million people secure a job, there will still likely be an open position for everyone in your company should they choose to leave. 

And they might. According to a recent study by Gartner, 70% of information technology workers indicate they’d like to change jobs for better pay, better advancement opportunities, and better management. 

Realizing that these candidates are being recruited by almost everyone, seek to position your organization and its culture in a unique and positive light. It’s not just about chips and drinks in the breakroom anymore. Millennials and Gen Z workers embrace purpose, technology, and want to know that there is a clear career path.  

If you haven’t developed career paths for your current workers, do it as quickly as you can. If your culture could use some change, start with by conducting interviews with current employees, then act on the feedback so that you bring focus to the reasons why employees left in the first place. 

Setting clear expectations will be key to ensuring that offering flexible working options reflect what’s best for the company, not only the employee. Hiring managers should be explicit from the get-go. For example, employers may expect new hires to spend more time in the office during the first few months for training. If this is the case, this should be clearly articulated in advance regarding job expectations. Honest communication between both parties is what can minimize any second thoughts.

And don’t forget to stay in touch with former employees, who can offer honest insights into how to improve your company’s practices and culture and may have regrets of their own. We suggest:

  • Checking in on former employees from time-to-time. Ego may prevent the majority of those seeking to return to their old job from reaching out.
  • Facilitating an exit interview, even if they’ve already left. Because they are not worried about office politics or hurt feelings, your past employees are the best source for important information that could prevent your company from losing other key employees. 
  • Keeping the door open. If someone is regretting an employment switch, their previous job might be the easy landing since he or she is familiar with the teams and culture. And onboarding will be cheaper and easier for the organization.

The war for talent will continue to be at the forefront of what makes a company successful or what makes a company fail. Every problem in business is a people problem. Focus on what is important and you can set your company up in the successful category.   

Get the Most Bang for Your Benefits: Segal’s 10 Keys to Effective Benefits Communications

Benefits programs are a huge investment at every company, impacting the lives of employees and their families by providing access to retirement, insurance and care. Yet, 80% of organizations report that their employees don’t open or read their benefits information materials. 

Research indicates that when employees understand their benefits, it creates tremendous value for the organization as a whole,” said Megan Yost, Senior Vice President and Engagement Strategist at Segal Benz. “Employees are more likely to trust leadership, to feel empowered to contribute, and to be satisfied with their job.”

To ensure the company can get return on its benefits’ investment and cultivate trust throughout the organization, its leadership must invest time and energy into communications strategies that engage employees year-round and effectively demonstrate how the resources can have a direct and positive impact on their lives.

Below, Segal experts offer 10 keys to designing a communications plan to ensure your organization’s getting the most bang for its benefits. 

To learn more on this topic and empower your organizations’ people-focused initiatives, attend the ATC Leadership Dinner sponsored by Segal, “Unlocking Successful Benefits Communication,” Thursday, May 18, 5-8 p.m. at Z’Tejas. Register here.

1) Have a Strategy

Your communications strategy doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated, but it must focus on people. People are at the heart of your organization and the reason you’ve chosen to adopt a quality benefits plan, so sharing details of those plans with them requires understanding their needs, how you can support them, how to reach them, and how you should continue and update that communications cycle every year in ways that engage all of your employees and their families.

2) Brand Your Benefits

Internal communications should be as easily recognized as coming from your company as its external communications. So, work to align your benefits communications with your company brand consistently across all communications channels to create cohesive communications experiences and build trust between employees and the organization.

3) Launch a Website

Creating a website to host your benefits information creates a one-stop-shop for employees and their families to learn about and manage their benefits, in a space that is easily modified and updated.

4) Ask for Feedback

In order to create better solutions for your employees, it is essential to listen to them. Conduct surveys, interviews and focus groups to find out how your employees are interacting with their benefits plans and the experiences they’ve gained from it.

5) Keep it Simple

The National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that 12% of adults have proficient health literacy, so designing a communications plan around your benefits package that is free of jargon and easily digestible is essential in helping your employees manage their health.  

6) Don’t Stop Communicating

The most successful communications strategies are multi-channel and engaging year-round. Don’t wait until open enrollment to promote your benefits programs. Instead, showcase different aspects of the program throughout the year in ways that attract attention and drive action.

7) Target Your Messages

Benefits programs are designed for large, diverse groups, but getting individuals within those groups to use them requires specific messaging. Target messaging requires you to hone in on your employees needs and understand how you are uniquely positioned to help them.

8) Understand the Employee Experience

As the employer, you are a choice architect and have tremendous ability to influence employees’ actions. So, design your communications plans in ways that help employees eliminate confusion and make the right choice.

9) Don’t let budget hold you back

After developing your multi-channel, multi-faceted and continuous communications strategy, evaluate the budget you’ll need to effectively implement it and don’t hold back. Talent will come and stay if it believes the company is putting in the work and energy to take care of them.

10) Find Partners

Like most offices or departments, HR and benefits teams may be stretched too thin to design and implement an effective communications strategy. So, lean on others for help. Utilize the organizations internal communications teams or hire one-time external support to help kick your strategy into gear.

Experts at Segal Co are here to help. Their evidence-based strategies are designed with your people in mind. Reach out to their consultation team for more information.

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