How to retain great talent at your startup

It’s vital that startup companies take steps to retain the services of their most talented employees. Talented employees are a real asset to any organization, always completing work to a high standard and inspiring their colleagues to do the same. When a talented employee leaves, productivity suffers and so does morale. Why would you replace your best workers when you could easily retain them? These employee retention ideas can help make sure your most talented workers stay loyal to your startup organization.

Employee Retention Ideas

Could providing clearer instructions to employees improve my retention rates?

Employees struggle when they feel confused about their role within a company and what’s expected of them. Sadly, this confusion is all too common in startup firms, where employees typically have a wider range of responsibilities than they do in larger organizations.

Make sure all employee instructions are clear and concise. Cultivate a workplace where workers aren’t afraid to ask questions at any time to clarify your expectations. When employees know what’s expected of them, they’ll find it much easier to perform at their best and feel good about their achievements.

Does employee recognition impact retention rates?

One of the most common reasons people give for leaving a business is feeling unappreciated. That makes employee recognition measures one of the best ways to ensure your workers remain loyal to your startup.

As the founder of a startup, you’re in charge of a relatively small team of employees. Unlike the members of Fortune 500 C-suites, you get the chance to know your employees personally. Use the information you know about your employees to make sure the recognition you give them for their efforts is personal.

You can do better than the cash bonuses or movie tickets some businesses give out to reward a job well done. Consider incentives that will matter to your employees and they’ll feel truly appreciated. Haphazard rewards can create confusion for employees, so instead think of consistent benefits that will matter to your team.

For example, a financial services startup, noticing its workers rarely take vacation time, offers a round-trip anywhere in the world to employees on their one-year anniversary. Employees putting in a lot of overtime could also be rewarded with a day off, giving them the freedom to spend their time the way they want.

Taking the time to thank an employee for a job well done, using specific language about the task performed, the benefit it will bring, and the way it made you feel, can also give your talent a real morale boost.

Should I promote from within my organization to boost retention?

If at all possible, you should definitely look to promote from within your own ranks. Firstly, you know you’re choosing someone familiar with your corporate culture and business. An existing employee is someone you can trust; an external hire is unknown.

Promoting your employees is also one of the best ways to recognize their achievements. Promoting from within doesn’t just make the rising talent feel valued. It also shows other employees that if they work hard, they could also climb the corporate ladder within your organization. Employees who can see there’s a path for advancement are more likely to stay with a business than seek opportunities elsewhere.

I can’t afford large salaries or benefits packages. How can I compete with companies who can?

It’s comforting to note that few people stay with a company or leave it based purely on financial gain. While you should pay your workers a fair wage with basic benefits like a retirement savings plan and health insurance, your employment packages don’t have to be the biggest or the best.

Many employees will sacrifice a higher salary for more flexible conditions. You might allow your employees to work from home or another location, such as a WeWork office space, either occasionally or on a regular basis. You could also let employees vary their start and finish times, allowing them to be there for their kids before and after school for example.

We conduct exit interviews when people leave. How could I find out the same information before employees depart and convince them to stay?

There’s no reason you can’t conduct similar interviews during any point of an employee’s tenure. In fact, “stay” interviews could be a vital tool for increasing employee retention in your organization.

Arrange regular times to check in with your employees to determine how they feel about your company and their place in it. Ask them questions about why they’ve stayed with your organization and what would make them leave. Learn how they feel about their managers and coworkers. Would they change anything within your organization? Do they think there are areas where your startup could improve?

Ensure your employees that your interview room is a safe space where they can feel free to be candid with you. Use the feedback they provide to make your business a better employer for your talent.

Will an open door policy boost employee retention rates?

An open door policy could certainly boost employee retention rates within your organization. With an open door policy, your workers can come to you at any time to discuss concerns they have with the company, not just during scheduled interviews. When you’re alerted to problems early there’s a chance you can rectify the issues before workers feel they need to seek alternative employment.

Employees also favor companies where they feel they can communicate openly and honestly with management. By its nature, a startup doesn’t have the same rigid hierarchical structure a larger corporation does. Use this difference to your advantage.

Retaining Employees

Is retaining talented employees more cost-effective than hiring new ones?

Hiring a new employee can be a very expensive endeavor for any organization. The Society for Human Resources Management suggests employee replacement costs can total as much as 50 to 60 percent of an employee’s annual salary. These costs can be significant to a startup firm, so retaining employees is almost always a better financial proposition.

It makes sense when you break down the financial toll of a departing worker. There’s the cost of advertising for a new employee and training them to do their job. While the position is vacant, your company also isn’t operating as cost-effectively as it did when someone filled the position. It’ll also take some time before a new hire can work as productively as a more experienced worker. All the while, your decision to hire someone new is costing your startup more money than retaining a staff member would have.

What do employment retention strategies do for staff morale?

Employees love working for companies with low staff turnover rates. Employees naturally form bonds when they work with the same people over a period of time. When workers leave an organization, this can be disruptive to the staff members they’re closest to. As more members of staff leave, employees will naturally wonder whether they should seek other opportunities too.

Companies with employee retention strategies show their workers that they appreciate their efforts. All workers want to feel valued, so implementing employee retention schemes can be a powerful way to boost staff morale.

Could a human resources professional help me boost my employee retention rates?

A human resources professional could certainly help your company retain more staff members. These professionals are skilled at establishing business programs you may never have considered to benefit and engage employees. They’re also well-versed in employment laws and trends. With a human resources professional on your payroll ensuring your employees are treated well, you can also focus your energy on improving other facets of your business. These efforts will also matter to your employees, who naturally want to work for a business that’s doing great things.

However, the cost of hiring a human resources professional must be weighed up against the benefits this new hire could bring. The Wall Street Journal suggests startups should start considering hiring human resources professionals once they have close to 100 employees. If your startup is much smaller, chances are you can manage and retain your workforce without professional human resources help.

While strategies to attract new hires are important, don’t overlook the talented workers who’ve helped make your startup what it is today. Use a range of employee retention strategies to ensure your best workers want to stay with your startup firm.

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