Key Strategies to Retain Staff in your Startup in an Uncertain Economic Climate

It can be a challenge to retain staff in a startup environment for the long haul on a good day, let alone when faced with uncertainty stemming from economic climate pressure. One of the primary reasons employees jump ship is lack of engagement and a study by Wolf Prairie suggests that one in three employees cited a lack of career growth as the primary reason for leaving a company. Engaged staff feel they’re growing, improving, advancing and are traveling on a forward trajectory in their jobs. This in turn provides them with the necessary incentive to contribute to increasing overall company performance in a startup environment.

Leadership Capability

Providing strong leadership means your staff will be comfortable to approach you and have faith that you’ll provide the guidance and direction they seek especially during critical times of stress or uncertainty. By regularly discussing the strategic direction of the company and how each of your staff fits into the bigger picture, each of your staff will feel valued and respected and thus motivated to work towards achieving common goals.

Effective Communication

A strong leader communicates in an effective way. A clear and concise style contributes to your staff feeling confident in what you have to say, as well as understanding what you expect of them and of the business. Forbes states that great leaders “might talk about their ideas, but they do so in a way which also speaks to your emotions and your aspirations. They realize if their message doesnt take deep root with the audience then it likely wont be understood, much less championed.”

Tailored Benefits, Recognition and Reward

No doubt even your best staff aren’t solely working for pure love, and as a startup you can differentiate yourself by offering flexibility in the range of benefits you offer. Startups have greater capacity to tailor a bespoke solution for each individual, and one that addresses the personal priorities of each, where possible. Rewarding and recognizing your staff is essential, and public and formal recognition among other staff and clients is an excellent way to reward staff for their achievements. Providing tangible incentives also goes a long way towards reassuring your staff that their efforts are valued.

Career Opportunities

Examining the capabilities and career ambitions of your employees should enable you to devise a plan to satisfy this combination to retain staff. Consider how you can professionally grow those that are capable, and how each of them fits into your long term ‘puzzle’, or strategic direction. While considering the ambition and priorities of your staff and their career, it’s also important to consider if and how your business can accommodate them over the long term. This could be through well planned career progression through the company hierarchy, in the unfortunate event of redundancies a guarantee that the employee will have a smooth transition through an outplacement service. It’s critical to host these discussions directly with your staff so they can clearly see opportunities for progression. If staff feel limited by the capacity of your startup, or fail to see future opportunities for growth within your business then they’re highly likely to look elsewhere for more stable employment limiting your capability to retain staff for your startup.'

Author: Joe Flanagan

Joe Flanagan is a Senior Consultant at Velvet Jobs, a job search and resume builder facility for candidates of all ages. He specializes in the hiring process providing advice on both sides of the recruitment fence for both candidates and HR. When he's not trying to fix the unemployment rate you can find him hiking, running and working out.

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