Managing Talent in the Era of Impending IPOs: Insights for Hiring Managers and HR Professionals  

May 21, 2024

Matt Gainsford

Matt Gainsford

A study by Glassdoor found that 62% of job seekers consider stock options to be an important factor when evaluating a job offer. An impending IPO is a pivotal moment for a company, with significant implications for talent management. Learn more in our blog.

managing talent in the era of IPOs

As the corporate world continues to evolve so are the strategies and considerations for hiring managers and HR professionals. One significant factor that influences recruitment and retention is the prospect of joining a company on the verge of an Initial Public Offering (IPO). This presents both exciting opportunities and potential challenges for talent management. Let’s delve into the impact of impending IPOs on talent acquisition, engagement, and overall success. 

Prospective Talent Considerations 

Equity Incentives and Talent Attraction: A study by Glassdoor found that 62% of job seekers consider stock options to be an important factor when evaluating a job offer. Ownership in the company aligns employee interests with its long-term success. Highlighting this during recruitment, especially in competitive industries, can be a powerful tool for attracting top talent. 

Consider Sarah, a skilled engineer weighing multiple job offers. While salary and benefits are important, the promise of stock options has one offer standing out from the rest. Knowing she’ll have a stake in the company’s success motivates her to join the pre-IPO venture, aligning her interests with its growth. 

Strategic Talent Acquisition: The pre-IPO period is a prime time for strategic talent acquisition. As the company prepares for public scrutiny, departments like finance, legal, and investor relations need bolstering. HR professionals should proactively identify these talent gaps and prioritize recruitment efforts for a smooth transition to the public market. 

Meet James, an HR manager tasked with bolstering the legal team as the company gears up for its IPO. Recognizing the need for specialized expertise, James strategically recruits experienced legal professionals to navigate the complexities of public markets, ensuring a seamless transition. 

Employer Branding and Marketability: An impending IPO can be a powerful employer branding tool. HR can craft compelling narratives that showcase the company’s growth trajectory, market potential, and commitment to employee success. Effectively communicating these opportunities can significantly enhance the company’s appeal to prospective candidates. 

Anna, a marketing specialist, is drawn to a pre-IPO company not just by its innovative products but also by its compelling narrative. HR’s efforts to showcase the company’s vision, market potential, and commitment to employee growth resonate with Anna, making her eager to be part of the journey. 

Talent Strategy Implications 

Equity Distribution and Inclusion: HR professionals need to ensure fair and inclusive equity distribution practices. While senior leadership often receives equity grants, consider extending them to high-performing employees and critical team members. This fosters a sense of ownership, alignment, and a culture of meritocracy. 

Retention and Employee Engagement (Stat): A study by Gallup found that highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable than those who are not. The pre-IPO period can be unsettling with increased uncertainty and change. HR should implement strong communication channels, clarify the IPO process, and offer support through employee assistance programs and career development opportunities to mitigate anxiety and maintain employee focus. 

Talent Development and Succession Planning: As the company prepares for life as a public entity, HR professionals must prioritize talent development and succession planning to sustain long-term growth and resilience. Investing in leadership development programs, mentorship initiatives, and cross-functional training opportunities can help groom future leaders and ensure there is a pipeline of talent capable of driving the company’s strategic objectives post-IPO. By taking a proactive approach to talent management, HR professionals can position the organization for sustained success in the dynamic landscape of public markets. 

The Difference Between a Titan and the Titanic 

In the journey from private harbor to the vast seas of public trade, the importance of the people component cannot be overstated. While product innovation and profit margins are undeniably crucial, it is the collective strength, skills, and dedication of the team that ultimately steer the ship toward success.  

Utilizing assessments to ascertain the strengths of the team and leadership and engaging employees in honest, vulnerable conversation provides invaluable insights into areas of excellence and areas for growth.  

Investing in the development and empowerment of employees not only enhances individual performance, but also fosters a culture of collaboration, resilience, and adaptability. In the dynamic and often turbulent waters of the public market, the cohesive and capable crew will navigate the challenges, seize opportunities, and ultimately determine whether the company sinks or sails triumphantly.  

Thus, prioritizing the people component alongside product and profit is not just prudent—it is essential for sustained success and long-term viability in the competitive landscape of public trading. 


An impending IPO is a pivotal moment for a company, with significant implications for talent management. By leveraging equity incentives, strategic recruitment, and employer branding, HR professionals can effectively navigate the complexities of the IPO journey and position their companies for long-term success. 

Let's Start a Conversation


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

Talent Strategies

Committed To Radical Generosity

Our dedication to radical generosity keeps us focused on what matters most, and it allows us to make a trusted and lasting impact on the world around us. It’s the foundation of our culture and our partnerships.

Read More