By Yolanda Redrup
Design marketplace Canva and white collar jobs platform Expert360 have been ranked as the two top start-ups in the country for attracting staff, with both companies able to poach talent from other top tier technology companies.
To be eligible the businesses needed to have a minimum of 15 per cent employment growth in the year to June 30, be privately owned, have 50 or more employees and be less than seven years old.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins said the business has been doubling in size every year, now having 350 staff, having added another 60 people in the last few months.
"We've been hiring for everything across the board – engineers, designers, user experience designers, graphic designers, product managers, data scientists and natural language and machine learning experts. Then in the operations since we've hired accountants, lawyers and language specialists," she said.
The top 25 Australian start-ups for attracting new staff as ranked by LinkedIn.
"We hired an engineering manager who has worked for Twitter and Apple and his experience on board has been exceptionally helpful."
The LinkedIn rankings were based on employment growth, the number of non-employee views and follows on the start-up's LinkedIn page and how many non-employees are viewing staff profiles from the company, the number of people viewing and applying for jobs at the company and the number of employees the start-up has recruited away from LinkedIn Top Companies, as a percentage of the start-up's total workforce.
Behind Canva and Expert360 was digital consultancy Escient in third, followed by Koala Mattress, Airtasker, Prospa, Versent, Youfoodz, Assembly Payments and Bench rounding out the top 10.
Expert360 co-founder Bridget Loudon said the company had grown from 40 to about 75 staff in 12 months, including bringing on former vice president of engineering at Oneflare, James Martin, as a senior engineering manager and former Gumtree software engineer Claire Tran.
Expert360 founder Bridget Loudon says people want to be working on projects they believe are important.
Ms Loudon said the business was able to attract the best talent because people connected to Expert360's vision.
"Everyone wants to know the work they do is important. These people are hard workers and spend time on their careers, so what they do every day is a big part of who they are," she said.
"People underestimate how people can do the best work of their lives if they believe in it and know how important it is."
In its five years of operation, Expert360 has placed more than 19,000 freelance professionals with more than 450 companies.
It has also expanded from being a jobs board to offering software to companies to manage their non-permanent workforces.
Ms Loudon said Expert360's investments its staff onboarding program, flexible leave arrangements and regular staff events had paid off.
"We have dogs and kids in the office, we do yoga every fortnight and touch footy every week. It's all the things Millennials want. And where we're at in the company we can be flexible about leave if you want to take extended periods of unpaid leave, it's no problem," she said.
"We've invested a lot in our onboarding program. When people come into the business they understand why they're here, what the mission is and how they fit in the bigger picture.
"They understand not just the role they play, but the role everyone plays and that starts with a postcard their team sends them when you get an offer about the team they're joining."
Like Expert360, Ms Perkins said Canva appealed to workers because they believed the business was a force for good. It also offers regular workplace bonding activities and funds employees to start their own clubs ranging from the wine club, to the circus club to the bad-surfers clubs.
Ms Perkins also identified making decisions that benefit the community, "creating an amazing product that helps people achieve goals", and making complex things simple as Canva's values.
She said maintaining the start-up's culture as it grows into a global operation is a key focus of her leadership.
"As companies grow things usually get more and more siloed, but we want to ensure the entire company has the context to make great decisions and feel part of something bigger," she said. "We still have lunch every day together, which is really important and we did that right from the early days to have that family feel."