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After months of intensive research combined between the teams of Techniker Krankenkasse and GründerAtelier the “Complete HR guide for startups” was completed.

In this report, we go through everything founders need to know before scaling, with detailed, step-by-step tips and suggestions for each recruiting phase.

Here you will find a summary of the most crucial concepts discussed in this document, chapter by chapter so you can understand the basics of recruiting. If you are interested in growing and scaling up your startup, though,  we highly suggest you download the full report and use every concept discussed in the document.

Introduction about the partners

Techniker Krankenkasse

Techniker Krankenkasse is one of the largest statutory health insurance funds in Germany.

With more than 10.7 million insurees and some 14,000 employees, TK is not only optimally positioned in terms of its insurance structure, but also boasts an exceptional degree of expertise in employee recruitment, employer branding, and employee health.


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HR in scaling companies

The scaling phase is a crucial step for every company’s development. As a founder, you need to make sure to be responsive and adaptive to the situation. To achieve that effectively you need to anticipate your business’ needs and prevent your company to end up in a crisis for problems you could have avoided.


In this chapter, we guide you through how to be prepared for your scaling phase on an HR level, how to redefine job functions, how to hire the right employees that fit your phase, the right criteria for promotions and who you should let go of. The following step will be to attract the right people to your company and be ready to face the war for talent.


The war for talent is a concept that describes the phenomenon of the scarcity of highly skilled talent that can’t satisfy the demand of the market, which translates into competition between companies to make sure they can attract the best employees.


This section will also explain to you why you should align your team to your company values, mission and vision. This process will result in employees better understanding their role in the business and having a sense of belonging, consequently producing better results.


Finally, we enlighten the importance of building a great team, that fits your company’s needs in each phase and we help you with some tips about remote work and the necessary technologies.

Defining your organization

In this section, we guide you through how to define your organization. First of all, you will need to understand the difference between company goals, mission statements and values.

The mission is the present and the vision is the company’s future. The company culture instead includes the mission, vision, values, principles, and all practices that underlie the social network of a company.

A couple of useful tools that you’ll find consist of a checklist to formulate the mission statement and another one to take into consideration when building the vision statement.

Then it will be necessary to know how to set effective goals, business objectives, and a timeline to achieve them. But what’s frequently overlooked is how important the communication of the goals with your employees is. In fact, employees and teams who align with their company culture consistently perform higher on internal performance metrics than those who least align.

The challenge for growing organizations, particularly those moving from startup to scale up, is staying true to their founders’ vision while adapting to change. Here you will find also three culture management main tools to implement in your company to provide clear direction to the entire organization about what culture looks like and what everyone should apply on a daily basis.

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Attract and Recruit

Attracting and recruiting the right people in a resourceful and efficient way is one of the biggest challenges of growing a company. This section has the objective of helping you to do that in an efficient way, for this reason, we decided to structure it with a more hands-on and practical step-by-step approach.

HR has been seen as a purely operational subject for years, but in order to take the department to the next level, you should also proceed in a strategic way, deploying your resources efficiently to reach the company goals.

We are splitting the recruitment process into four chronological steps that we will take a look at.


1. Establishing the overall recruitment objectives

This section focuses on the basis of your strategic approach to recruiting. Here you will find a nice graphic listing the most important HR topics and how to define the crucial points to structure them.

2. Development of a recruitment strategy

This section goes in-depth into your strategy.

Here we will guide you through how to create recruiting ads that are specific, describe the position in a realistic way and have a consistent message phrasing.

What will be also defined is how to draft your RER (Requirements and Responsibilities) document which will help the assessment of candidates as well as also allow you to paint a clear picture of the role of every person in your interview. 

3. Operational recruiting process

This section dissects the operational phase of recruiting in four different steps distributing guidelines for each one of them:

During the screening phase, it is crucial to be aware of biases and to use objective decision-making criteria, here you will find how to implement one debiasing tactic and find two processes for objective screening.

Using an applicant tracking system is a great way to display objective information about each candidate, track KPIs and have a structured recruiting process. In this section, you will learn how to use it to improve your candidate satisfaction.

In the interviewing phase, you will have to be as structured as possible to ensure high objectivity in your valuation. Here you will gain insights on how to correctly set up the whole process, from the preparation of the questions to the tracking of the data during the different steps etc.

4. Evaluation and tracking of the objectives 

The benefits of effective recruiting go far beyond finding a qualified fit for your company and include an increase in profitability, higher performance, improved productivity and reduced attrition.

Here you will find 11 KPIs to track to measure the benefits of a more structured recruiting process.

Making the recruiting process attractive


Ambitious companies are in a race to hire top talent who will increase growth and revenue. It is suggested not to have too many interviewing stages, and to create one to two HR meetings every week to discuss interviews with the founders.


Treating candidates fairly is viewed as an attractive practice for candidates, this includes not being dishonest or misleading during interviews.

Feedback Culture

Giving feedback after the interviews, in the form of an email or a 15-minute call provides value to the candidates that leave with a good impression even when rejected. The ongoing peer feedback and check-ins have a positive impact on organisations like a lower employee turnover rate.

Recruiting trends in 2022

Generation Z

Influenced by massive shifts in the world, Generation Z  is highly adaptive to changes, a characteristic which makes candidates of this generation highly attractive. In fact, it is usually impossible for the fastly changing business landscape, adaptability becomes then a crucial skill.

Social Recruiting

Social recruiting consists of processes of job advertising, recruiting and connecting with the candidates to social media platforms. With the major transformations of the job market, social recruiting serves as a powerful employer brand tool that increases the effectiveness of recruiting efforts.


Employee advocacy and referral programs


Candidates are more likely to be receptive to a vacancy invitation that they receive from their personal connections, which significantly increases the chances of them acting on the opportunity. Using referral programs can help you reach highly skilled candidates that will choose you over other companies due to mutual connections.

Employer Branding

A great recruitment strategy needs to define a strong employer brand. The impression of the company that people inside and outside of it perceive influences the hiring of new employees and how cheap it is.

People Analytics

The future of HR is based on the advanced use of data insights and people analytics.

Understanding how data insights are generated and applied to identify the target audience and prioritise business problems has enormous potential in solving various organisational challenges.


Making the starting period memorable for new employees should be the main goal of the onboarding phase.

Good onboarding improves retention and productivity and this should be every company’s goal. For this reason, creating a welcoming culture will offer huge benefits for everyone.

In this section, we will explore all the phases of creating a functional onboarding process, from the operational side to the legal one.

In this era, the number of skilled workers is lower than the demand. Therefore employees have the possibility of choosing where they want to work and are taking into consideration not only the salary but also the services and benefits offered by future employers.

A practised welcoming culture helps new employees settle into their roles, especially if they come from other cultural backgrounds. This promotes teamwork and improves employee loyalty to the company.

TK offers a set of benefits to inpatriates and can give you a unique perspective, with their example, on how you can incentivize people with different cultural backgrounds to join your company.

Operational onboarding

From an operational point of view, during onboarding, it is important to focus on the first period that a new employee spends in your company. In the first weeks, an employee is most open to learning, but also most concerned about whether or not they made the right decision.

Here we will share some tips on each of the phases.

Before the onboarding starts it is important to already organise internal and external information and fix the scheduling and IT settings.

During the first days and weeks, it is suggested to have more frequent 1:1 meetings, and assign an onboarding buddy to improve the quality of the experience and the productivity.

At the end of this section, you will find an extremely valuable checklist of all the onboarding steps.

From a legal point of view, TK offers a guide to health insurance for companies and startups.


Today, it is increasingly common for staff to change jobs frequently. As that’s the case, during the exit phase of employment there is the need to leave a good lasting impression and also to retain key employee know-how within the organisation

Offboarding comprises all process steps and actions relating to staff departures, e.g. terminations and commencement of retirement.

Moreover, an excellent offboarding process gives you a greater understanding of why employees choose to leave the company and an opportunity to clear up potential misunderstandings.

We will guide you through the three different methods of knowledge transfer:

1. Direct handover

2. Formal knowledge transfer

3. Mentorship approach


You will understand how to manage the IT offboarding, such as returning keys and work material, changing passwords and setting up a good relationship with the ex-employee after the job termination.


As the last ingredient, you will learn some important concepts about an exit interview and how to extract the most value out of it.

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Techniker Krankenkasse is one of the largest statutory health insurance funds in Germany.

With more than 10.7 million insurees and some 14,000 employees, TK is not only optimally positioned in terms of its insurance structure, but also boasts an exceptional degree of expertise in employee recruitment, employer branding, and employee health.