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How to Retain the Best Talent?



Say goodbye to those days when you worked hard in school and got good grades to get a job with big companies and earn a 6 figure salary! Today, even before graduations many students have more than one project on their mind and they’re ready to take the startup journey. Remember the origin of twitter?

On the other hand, VCs, Kickstarter and Angel investors are also encouraging more startups and investing large sums in good ideas. Uber and Markhor are just a few of the great examples. Like it or not, startups are booming and many new businesses are joining the entrepreneurial world every year.

Startups are a tough deal, and it gets more difficult to attract good talent and make them work with the company for a longer period of time. Even if you’re self-funded or backed by VCs or Kickstarter, in order to attract new talent you need to use multiple tactics.

In the rest of the post, I am going to discuss a few ideas that will help you attract great talent that sticks around for the long run!

Clear Company Vision:

Defining a clear company vision is an integral part of any company’s business plan. Vision statement is actually a short startup that will take you forward and guide you over the next 3 to 5 years, at least.

Having a clear company vision is important from employee retention point of view. It clarifies goals and long/short term plans for the company. If your vision isn’t clear and authentic, your employees will feel demotivated and less confident in the company’s goals. Chances are your talented employees will leave you and work for someone with clear goals and targets. Once your company has a clear vision, the talent working for you will know where they need to focus and bring better results for the company.

I love Reddit when it comes to their vision for the company. They’ve been very clear and focused about what they want to be and what they want their users to do on the website. Since their inception, they were adamant about being more like a bulletin board where trending topics and memes make it to the front page. It’s like reading the daily newspaper for images, quotes and content that is viral on the Internet. This is one thing that not only makes them big but also allows them to retain some of the best talent within their company.

Have a Cool Office:

This is relevant! Many big organizations are investing a lot on office space because it makes them look good. But I believe it also has a direct impact on your employees.

Here is an article by where they provide some tips for making employees love the office. This clearly means one thing, if employees will love the office they will work with more dedication and productivity which is directly proportional to business strength and profitability.

We as tech people love and admire Google a lot. Here is a quick view of the Google office. I am sure this will make you say ‘sexy’!

What really adds the ‘sexy’ factor to an office? You know they say cleanliness is next to godliness, the same goes for offices. A clean and decluttered office is like the holy shrine of productive work. Throw anything that isn’t required in the office and make space for useful things. Segregate work spaces by creating ‘zones’, each zone could deal with a different theme (for example” creative, editing, customer feedback, café meetup). Organization and colorful labels help bring life to an office; they make tasks more efficient and invite more productive energy within workspace.

Make your office comfortable depending on the weather/temperature of location. If it requires ventilation or air conditioning, make sure it’s properly installed and fully functional so employees can enjoy their work and atmosphere too. If it’s too cold, then you must have a heating system or individual heaters. The point is to make the office a comfortable space for your workers.

I’ve seen some offices with lighting that differs from one zone to another. The work zone usually has fluorescent lights to help sit through paperwork and concentrate on computer screens. The café meetup has dim yellow lighting where employees can relax and enjoy a cup of coffee and chit chat.

Remember that the tiniest of details could make your office appealing.

As a startup you need motivation and productivity in your employees which is why having a cool office is not a choice here. No, I am not suggesting investing like Google but at least provide basic necessities that make your employees feel comfortable. Once the employees feel comfortable, they will stick with you and help you achieve your goal.

Continuous Growth Opportunities:

You are not Amazon or Google or Basecamp. Unlike these big names, you’re just a new startup that came into the market, looking to hire some experienced people to work, so you can make your business big and profitable.

Hiring talented and experienced employees sounds like a great idea for the company but have you thought about how it helps the talented worker? If you ask me, no talented employee will join any startup unless he/she sees continuous growth from all areas i.e., from technical and financial point of view. The company needs to be determined in pursuing a growth plan that caters to financial betterment and industrial growth.

Remember, if you want a talent to work for you, you have to understand that they are always hungry for growth and improvement of skills. If your startup or company cannot offer any of these things, they will probably leave you. The reason why talented people prefer working for startups instead of big companies is because the opportunities for learning and growth are unlimited.

If your company reaches its goals and gives out rewards and bonuses to its employees, then there’s more positive reinforcement to work better and achieve more. Such incentives drive a company towards sustainable growth and increased profits.

In order to retain your best employees, you always have to give them something new that satisfies their skills and growth. This will result in hard work and productivity, possibly more money in the long run too.

Keep a Close eye on Management:

Steve Miranda once said, “Employees don’t quit jobs, and they quit managers.” If you keep a close eye on management, chances are great talent will stick with you for a longer period of time and will ensure your goals reach their destination.

I have worked under multiple banners that were big and small brands. From my experience, people who give less or no importance to management usually end up in serious problems. There are quite a few examples of startups that collapsed due to management issues.

One of the main issues in management includes too many layers or subdivisions of authority that can lead to miscommunication of a task or message. This can cause conflict and also harm ongoing projects with wrong information being delivered. Too many cooks spoil the broth, similarly too many layers go unchecked and ruin the working environment. If we take Agile as an example to apply within management, we could peel off each layer and double-check it for transparency before making decisions or calls. This could reduce problems between employees and mishandling of information. This leads to open communication and a certain amount of accountability, especially when there are fewer layers to deal with.

When I was helping one of my friends in the set-up of a digital company, the first thing we focused on was management. We made sure that management deals with the employees fairly instead of acting like bad bosses. We did this by making use of Agile as a concept, which created enough transparency and division of tasks to make work easier and more efficient. As a result, at the end of the year, our employee retention rate was 100%, which was incredible.

Always keep a close eye on management and if there is any communication gap between management and employees, fix it immediately before it becomes a serious problem.

Let’s not forget the role of leadership within management. The first point to remember is that there should be transparency between employees and management. Such an approach leads to less power politics in the office and harbors a friendly environment. Transparency also helps bond employees together with more trust and understanding. Leadership means guiding all parts and persons in the company as a single entity, and in order for that to happen there needs to be harmony within it.

I also believe that it’s vital to discuss ideas with employees and get their feedback. This helps keep a realistic check on the progress of a company as a whole and allows for improvement in management or other departments. It also shows the employees that the company cares about their sentiments and values their work and presence.

There are tons of other ideas that you can find over the internet, but above are the few that I think are really important. If a startup does not take care of the above points, they will lose great talent from their team, which as a whole will hurt their company image and position in the market.

Are you a startup? How are you hiring and retaining your great employees? Share your thoughts with us.


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