Talent Retention in Startups: What it is, and how to achieve it

Talent Retention in Startups: What it is, and how to achieve it

If you were with us on our previous blog post, you’ll know that one of the biggest challenges that prevent startups from scaling up is talent shortage. Sometimes it’s just difficult to find the right fit, especially when you’re new to the game and might not have as much glitter to offer as big corporations do. So after spending time and money on finding the right talent to help you build a successful team (and a successful company), you want every penny to count. You want to know that your team is as committed to the cause as you are.

Not just that, but high employee turnover from the get go can harm your startup’s reputation and cause other talent to question whether they want to be working with you. After all, there must be a reason others are leaving, right? And what if current employee productivity takes a hit as well?

So you want to boost morale and maintain team spirit, but how do you make sure you’re retaining the talent that you’ve worked so hard to recruit? We’re here to give you some advice on how to do so.

Recognition is your Best Friend

Although employee recognition might seem like the final dash of salt that you add into the mix, it actually creates the base of the whole dish. When you acknowledge employees, both in public and in private, you’re actually giving them a hit of serotonin while making them see that they are valued in the company. When peers see their coworkers’ hard work getting acknowledged, their motivation is boosted as well

But while recognition boosts morale and productivity, that’s not all it does. When employees are happy and feel that they are an invaluable part of the fabric of the startup, they are less likely to be inclined to leave. And when it comes to recognition, don’t just keep it at verbal acknowledgement either. Try to have social or reward-based incentives that make it easy to offer tangible appreciation to your employees, and show them just how valued they are.

Hire the Right People (And Digitise as Much of the Process as you Can)

A big way to make sure that your employees want to stay with you is simply to make sure that they are the right fit for you. If you’ve somehow ended up hiring employees who do not see eye to eye with your company ethos or values, or do not fit in with the rest of the team, they will not want to stay no matter how much effort and money you spend on retention incentives.

So nip the issue in the bud, and spend a proper amount of time on initial recruitment to avoid having to spend even more time on it later on. Digisiting a big portion of the recruitment process can go a long way at this stage. Softwares can help you weed through thousands of candidates to select the best ones, automatically eliminate the wrong fits, and even get through a portion of the interview stage. Not only that, but softwares can actually play an extremely valuable part in onboarding as well. By making sure you’re hiring only the perfect fits, you can then minimise turnover to a great extent.

There is no Startup Growth without Employee Growth

When you take an interest in your employees’ mental wellbeing and professional growth, you strengthen their ties to the company. Not only that, but employees who prioritise mental health while continuing to learn and develop are happier and more productive. You can invest in certification programmes, access to psychological services, subsidized gym memberships, coaching programmes, industry events, and more. Making sure that there are enough options for employees to choose from will also ensure that everyone feels they are receiving enough opportunities to develop.

Mental wellbeing and professional growth can also help make sure your team is avoiding burnout, which is one of the leading causes of employee turnover. Avoiding burnout by committing to employee growth and wellbeing can in turn help you retain more of your top talent.

Work on Company Culture

Chances are your current team is with you because they identified with your company values. Perhaps they could really see themselves becoming part of the team or committing to the goal. But have you overpromised and underdelivered? Have you painted a lovely picture of team spirit that in reality is a mere office party once a month? Have you promised sustainable values while making no effort to reduce your carbon footprint?

Feeling misaligned with company culture can lead to high employee turnover, and a good way to avoid this is to stay true to your company values while also building strong team spirit. Helping employees value not just each other but also the ethos behind their jobs is the best place to start. Think company retreats, but also newsletters that let your team know their collective successes in reaching company goals. Draw direct lines between company values and the product or service that you offer. And best yet, ask your employees’ opinions on how they would like to improve on all of this.

Although it is a great incentiviser, money is ultimately not the only player when it comes to increasing employee retention. So make sure you hire the right fits, acknowledge your team’s successes, focus on their growth and wellbeing, and constantly work on your company culture.