Five Employee Retention Strategies for Growth Stage Companies

One of the biggest expenses startups face is talent. The Society for Human Resources Management recently estimated that employee replacement can cost up to 60% of an employee’s annual salary. Hiring the best people at the top of their game to turn your budding idea into a mega successful company is expensive, and the costs are even greater when your new talent leaves after a short time for greener pastures.

How do you implement retention strategies that keep your best people on board while nurturing performers who may be lagging slightly behind?

Let’s take a closer look at five employee retention strategies that are designed specifically for growth stage companies.

Look at the Hiring Process from Ground Zero

There are many reasons someone might leave your company sooner than expected, but the most common reason is that the job was never a good fit to begin with. In fact, 80 percent of all new hires decide whether to stay at a company in the first six months, and the hiring process plays a major part in this.

Before looking at ways to improve relationships with your current team, evaluate your recruiting process and onboarding procedures. How thorough are you about doing due diligence on a candidate before you hire him or her? More importantly, what steps do you take to onboard new employees and make them feel like part of the team, with clear direction and a sense of purpose in their new role?

Provide Career Development Resources

For young professionals in technical fields, a career is much more than a paycheck. It’s an onramp to their future, and the more opportunities you provide, the more value they’ll associate with that role. Tools and resources to help them develop their skills and advance in their career are incredibly important, and can come in the form of:

  • Seminars and classes – Bring in experts to provide in-office presentations or sign your team up for online courses that help them develop key skills.
  • Conferences and networking events – Offer reimbursement for conference attendance, both related to your industry and to specific skill sets.
  • Providing mentoring and coaching – Provide coaching resources for new and developing managers, and mentoring programs for new staff and those in new positions.

What you implement will likely depend at least partially on your budget, but establishing a culture of learning and development will have a profound impact.

Offer Increased Flexibility Over Traditional Work

A Boston Consulting Group survey of more than 200,000 people recently listed compensation as only the seventh most important factor in happiness on the job. Both career development and relationships were listed above compensation, as was work-life balance and flexibility in the workplace.

employee retention tipsIn a digital landscape, employees are increasingly looking for flexible, non-traditional work opportunities that allow them the freedom of travel and family time alongside the security of a full-time position. Whether this means hiring remote workers who live in another city and work from a coworking space, or allowing your team the flexibility to travel or work from home as needed, these policies can be highly effective retention tools when implemented properly.

At the same time, remote employees may feel disconnected and not part of the team, so a culture of inclusion and a physical presence where core team members will work every day is equally important.

Give Freedom to Excel

Top talent wants to do what they do best. If you hire a top tier software developer and saddle them with a laundry list of to-dos and no flexibility to experiment and try new things, they likely won’t stick around for long.

Whether implementing an 80/20 rule to offer a chunk of time every week to experiment and try new things, or a hands-off bottom-up management policy that allows team members to approach problems in creative new ways, give that freedom to keep your best workers engaged.

Building a Team for Long Term Success

It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on the numbers, assuming that your best talent will only be with you for a year at best. But with the right approach to recruiting, onboarding, work-life balance recognition, and resources to develop and challenge your team, you can create a culture that keeps people on board for longer and engages them on a deeper level for longer.

Download our eBook with 6 tips for improving retention of your top performing engineers. In it, you’ll learn which factors have the greatest influence on retention, how to build a culture that fits your company’s values, and encourage people to stay for the long haul.

Download Our Guide to Retaining  Top Performing Engineers

Author Cameron Yarbrough

Cameron is the Co-founder and CEO of Torch Leadership Labs. In this capacity, Cameron heads up business development, sales, and marketing, and defines Torch’s strategic vision. He brings 15 years of entrepreneurial experience to his role as CEO, along with a deep background in mindfulness and psychotherapy.

More posts by Cameron Yarbrough

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