6 Things to Know to Keep Talented People in Your Startup
Loyalty is the most valued asset any modern-day startup wants to earn and protect when it comes to their internal structure. It takes time to groom an employee to truly embrace your brand’s values, to embody them, to become your ambassador by nature. It takes funds as well as effort to help them refine their skills and acquire new ones in the process, to outgrow their starting position within your business, and to prepare them for the next step on the ladder. Too many employees leave, and all of those investments suddenly have no value for your business.
The relevance and impact of employee loyalty are immeasurable, and to a certain extent, businesses that understand loyalty have a better chance to inspire it in their employees from day one. Today, when every industry is riddled with competition, and more companies are sprouting as we speak, you need to step up to the challenge and give your teams that extra “why” to stay along your side and not hop over to the other side.
Here are a few useful things to know in your noble pursuit of employee loyalty, and how you can inspire a higher retention rate among your staff.
Unique, employee-specific perks
Startups are innovative by nature. That sole quality of your business should be a major part of your company’s personality as well, and you should use it to your advantage not only when you’re trying to impress customers, but employees, as well. Now that your employees are likely scattered across the globe and you have people from all walks of life working with you, they deserve unique perks to match their jobs.
Health, for example, should be your focus, but let your employees choose their way of pursuing their wellbeing. Some might enjoy taking samba lessons, while others would prefer weekend hiking trips. Provide mental health days, counseling, and offer them extra days off to prevent burnout.
Flexibility is not an option
It’s a prerequisite. We no longer live in an era of predominantly nine-to-five companies. We live in the era of remote employment, freelance and gig work, borderless businesses, and working from home. Businesses that insist on a strict work schedule risk losing their most talented employees to their more flexible and open-minded competitors.
It’s time to embrace flexibility as one of your greatest assets. Take a strategic approach and share with all of your employees what possibilities they have. Some occupations do require shift work and keeping certain hours, but wherever there’s leeway, make it happen.
Keeping things simple, available, and transparent is by far the greatest thing you can do to let your employees know you value their contribution. Preventing complex paperwork and reducing wait times are both considered great advantages for increasing talent retention, especially in a startup culture where innovation needs to be the heart of the business.
One simple, but effective way to embrace personalization is to give out personalized payroll cards to your employees to streamline the accounting process and let them manage their salaries more effectively. Plus, adding a touch of personalization is a great way to make your employees feel like a part of your brand and your purpose, while you let them take control of their funds.
Collaboration over competition
In the startup world, stress is often a given. Industry-wide competition forces people to stay on their toes, and trying to take the lead in any niche is a challenge worth tackling. However, adding another layer of competitiveness internally by getting your teams to compete for bonuses or rewards is not something too many ambitious people will accept.
With so much stress already riddling their work, they want to feel supported, and they want to know they can share their ideas openly with their peers and their superiors alike. Collaboration is taking center stage in the startup world, and you should ensure that your employees feel valued, and not to work to prove themselves worthy every day.
Education is a must
Is there a ladder that comes with every position you offer? Because nowadays, no talented individual wants to take up a job that will get them stuck in the same rut for years on end, with no prospect of advancement. Talented people want to hone their skills, expand their knowledge, and try different, more challenging responsibilities in the future – and it’s up to you to provide them the path.
Startups often get lost in their desire to be customer-centric, thus neglecting their responsibility towards their employees. Provide them with regular training, certification, feedback with actionable advice on how to improve themselves, and you’ll give them a reason to stay.
Recognition in its many forms
Startups are made up of eager, often young people with ambitions exceeding an ordinary business. We’ve already established that such environments come with hefty doses of stress, and what often gets people to stick to such work is that feeling that their work does matter. No matter how busy you get and how fast-paced your office may become, you need to find the time and the means to let your employees know that their contribution is valued every step of the way.
Sometimes, you can send them an email congratulating them for their latest achievement, send them a muffin basket, a weekend getaway for them and their spouse, or simply call them out in the next meeting and congratulate them in person for all the great work they’ve been doing. That includes the accounting gurus that keep your startup afloat by covering what seems like menial tasks, the cleaning crew that keeps your offices spotless, and the creative gang that prefers to sit in the back and quietly change the course of your business.
Every startup is different, and every employee takes time to groom and to connect with. Use these tips to boost your retention rates and inspire loyalty in your teams, and you’ll give your startup a better chance to thrive.
Guest writer Jacob Wilson is a business consultant, and an organizational psychologist, based in Brisbane. Passionate about marketing, social networks, and business in general. In his spare time, he writes a lot about new business strategies and digital marketing for Bizzmark blog.