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Unlocking Talent Attraction for Startups and Scale-ups.

For qualitative recruitment, addressing DNA/Culture is crucial. Ignoring this results in ineffective recruitment, akin to mopping the floor while the tap is running.


This report presents findings from a culture study conducted within a company (referred to as “the company”). The aim was to map and analyze the company’s current culture. These insights will guide future initiatives to enhance both the culture and performance of the organization, paving the way for more effective recruitment strategies.


The DNA/Culture study was conducted via an online survey completed by the company’s employees. The questionnaire covered various aspects of the company’s culture, including leadership, initiative, commitment, decision-making, and communication.


The company’s culture is complex, with both strengths and weaknesses, and ample room for improvement. However, the willingness to change among leaders is low. These leaders are enthusiastic, powerful, involved, and practical but tend to move too quickly, displaying dominance and stubbornness.

The management layer recognizes these issues as they deal with them daily, facing the pitfalls caused by the leadership’s behavior. Employees are proactive, responsible, methodical, and broadly interested. However, they feel a disconnect between the leaders’ stated values and daily practices due to the leaders’ pitfalls.

Decisions are ambitious, strategic, and aimed at comprehensive solutions, with well-informed inputs. However, the tendency to take on too much and overlook subtleties (due to dominance and stubbornness) is a serious concern.


The company fits the “Generalist” profile, dealing with many dilemmas—choices between equally valuable options. The values within the company are responsibility, helpfulness, structure, reliability, and caution, whereas traits like leniency, criticism, creativity, skepticism, and optimism are less visible. The unclear DNA and culture hinder targeted changes.

Communication is easy, often humorous, future-oriented, and convincing, but can suffer from quick conclusions and insufficient listening. Planning and organization are effective, with clear communication, careful evaluations, and direct feedback, though complex problems and others’ ideas can be overlooked.

The culture is self-assured and cooperative, with a moderate social setting and a structured approach that makes change difficult. There’s a tendency to miss opportunities for improvement, resulting in a “status quo” attitude and delayed actions.

To improve the culture, specific pitfalls must be addressed, increasing the willingness to change and seizing opportunities for depth and growth. The essence lies in clarifying the company’s DNA and culture before embarking on serious recruitment.

Leadership Challenges

Discussions with leaders and management confirmed the need for change, especially given the high employee turnover and numerous vacancies in the past two years up till today. However, leaders’ pitfalls were evident:

  • Stubbornness: Leaders dismissed the DNA/culture findings, despite management’s agreement.
  • Dominance: Leaders refused to change, relying on circular reasoning to support their stubbornness.
  • Hasty Actions: Leaders wanted to bypass DNA/Culture issues and jump straight into aggressive recruitment.

At ASCItec, our advice was clear: for qualitative recruitment, addressing DNA/Culture is crucial. Ignoring this results in ineffective recruitment and seen the outcome of the leadership challenges we choose not to continue, otherwise it would be akin to mopping the floor while the tap is running.

Conclusion and Advice

It remains to be seen how the company will fare. Will employee turnover increase? How significant must the pain be for leaders to realize that a change in culture is necessary to benefit a strong Talent Attraction & Retention strategy?

For startups and scale-ups in similar situations (high employee turnover, many vacancies, low application traction): embrace change, listen to your team, set aside egos, and focus on your unique strengths and benefits to attract talent.

Lessons Learned for Startups and Scale-ups

For startups and scale-ups seeking to build high-performing teams, here are some key takeaways based on the casus above:

  1. Prioritize Culture: Before diving into recruitment, take the time to understand and optimize your company’s culture. Ensure it aligns with your values, attracts the right talent, and fosters a positive work environment.
  2. Embrace Transparency: Encourage open communication and feedback at all levels. Listen to your team’s concerns and address them proactively.
  3. Value Continuous Improvement: Foster a culture of continuous learning and growth. Encourage employees to develop their skills and contribute to the company’s evolution.
  4. Seek Expert Guidance: Partner with experienced Talent Acquisition specialists who understand culture who can guide you through the process of aligning your culture and your recruitment strategy.

By prioritizing culture, embracing transparency, valuing continuous improvement, and seeking expert guidance, startups and scale-ups can unlock the full potential of Talent Acquisition, building thriving teams that drive business success.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

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