By Anna Clarke
Technology startups are disrupting every industry and changing the way people live and work. Startups need well-organized, dedicated employees who can improvise and work collaboratively. They need brilliant product engineers and software developers who can code software from scratch.
But these companies can also benefit from hiring more non-technology staff who can generate innovative ideas and take advantage of non-technology factors. Expert non-technology employees can also help the startup in dealing effectively with the government and the regulators. The top five reasons why technology startups need to hire non-technology staff are outlined below.
1. Get Multiple Perspectives
The days when startups can invent a product and build a business model around it are long over. Both the product/service and the business plan should be developed in parallel. Having a greater number of non-technology workers in the organization will help in getting multiple perspectives regarding the products that are being developed.
Some of the best ideas for technology products or services can come from people without any technical background. The founders of Airbnb, for example, were designers with little knowledge of coding. However, their experience as industrial designers helped them conceive a unique business model of offering cheap but full-featured rooms aided in building one of the most successful technology enterprises of our times.
2. Consider Non-Technology Factors
The success of technology firms often depends on non-technology factors. Many products developed by these organizations are received well by consumers for factors other than their technological superiority.
For example, Apple takes the products that are already in the market like smartphones and perfects them by adding superior design and innovations. The success of Apple’s iconic products like the iPhone and iMac owes a lot to the brilliant designs of Jony Ive. A product engineer might never come up with design ideas that can rival a great designer. Thus, hiring more non-technology staff will help a technology startup excelling in non-technology factors that can give it a competitive advantage in the market.
3. Deal with Diverse Tasks
Technology startups have limited resources and hence, cannot hire a large number of employees who can complete different tasks. Lean startups believe in keeping their staffing numbers under control and try to boost the productivity of an employee in relation to the remuneration paid to them.
Due to the shortage of resources, startups need more generalists. Non-technology staff can handle a wide range of jobs ranging from routine clerical tasks to customer service. People with core technology skills are expensive and hence startups cannot use them for doing routine tasks. Moreover, experienced engineers will not be willing to do tasks that are out of their core competency. This means that technology startups can benefit from hiring more non-technology staff by keeping their staffing budgets under control.
4. Deal with Stakeholders Like Regulators and Governments
As companies grow in size, they need to deal with regulators and governments. Legacy industries in sectors like finance tend to hire non-core employees at the top levels to better deal with regulatory challenges and government controls.
Giant pharmaceutical companies, for instance, have recruited legal experts as CEOs when they faced a tough regulatory environment. Startups should also hire and groom non-technology staff in their accounting and legal departments from the time they start their operations. These people can perfectly understand the details of the business like its products and customer profiles.
During times of need, they can offer proper advice to the management or even take over the operations so that the organization tides over the trouble effectively. By contrast, recruiting non-technical experts only when the need arises will not serve the requirements of startups as they will not understand their employer’s business model properly.
5. Achieve Quality Results for a Cheaper Price
A non-technology team can help in achieving quality results for a cheaper price. The nature of work undertaken by startups forces even the non-technology employees to do some basic technology-related tasks like maintaining databases. This will help the startup get these basic tasks done at much lower costs and expenditures. Core tasks like database designing or developing a website can be handled by technology staff. On the other hand, non-technology staff can be multi-taskers and achieve the targets given to them when their jobs are allocated mindfully.
No new company can function by only employing people with expertise in the products and services offered by them. Recruiting and nurturing non-core staff is vital for ensuring the long-term success of any organization. Technology startups are not an exception. They need to hire a diverse range of employees to grow and conduct their operations smoothly.
The five reasons to hire more non-technology staff explained above can provide appropriate guidance to newly established technology companies on how to survive in a highly competitive business world of today.