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Beating the Startup Staffing Curse: How to Make Employees Stay

High turnover rate is a common problem in startup businesses. In 2019, the failure rate of startups was 90 percent. And this may be a reason why employees leave startups often. The uncertainty may scare employees away.

The problem with startup turnover may even be worse in 2021 since an influx of turnover is expected. In 2020, many employees chose to keep their jobs and postpone their plans to find a new one due to the uncertainty brought by the pandemic. Employees chose to stay safe for practical reasons. But now that they’ve grown accustomed to the pandemic, these employees are bound to resume their plans of finding better career opportunities elsewhere.

Turnover can be avoided if startup owners pay more attention to motivating their employees. Here are some things that business owners can do to encourage their employees to stay:

Avoid Micromanaging

A startup usually has a very small team, especially at its early stages. This team is usually composed of 10 people or even less. With such a small team, owners can easily monitor their employees’ every move and task. But that doesn’t mean they should.

When startup owners use micromanagement, they make their employees lose autonomy in their tasks. And this sends the message that the owners don’t trust their employees. As a result, they lose their motivation on the job and end up leaving. Being micromanaged also makes employees burn out more easily.

Thus, startup owners should avoid micromanaging their team members. Perhaps they can wait for employees to approach them for questions or advice, rather than constantly checking on them.

Allow Flexible Hours


A strict 9-to-5 schedule doesn’t work for all employees. Some employees work best very early in the morning while others have more energy in the middle of the afternoon. Thus, if possible, startup owners should give their employees flexible working hours. For instance, employees can either come to work within two hours before or after 9 a.m.

A flexible work schedule is one of the many ways to reduce turnover rates, even in big companies. The flexibility will allow employees to match their work hours to the period where their energy cycles peak. They are also more likely to achieve a work-life balance.

Promote Lifelong Learning

In a survey, 86% of employees valued job training. In recent years, employees are hungry for knowledge. They want to keep sharpening the skills they already have and learn new ones to help them advance their careers.

Startup owners can encourage their employees to stay by giving them learning opportunities. For instance, owners can pay for their learning courses outside work, provided that they are relevant to their current position and will be used for the benefit of the startup.

Business owners can also conduct training and share their expertise with their employees. For instance, startup owners can teach employees how to create an effective business proposal to secure a business loan or find investors. They can also teach employees effective productivity and time management strategies.

Recognize Hard Work

happy employee

When an employee doesn’t feel appreciated, their work performance and the quality of their work drop. In the worst cases, it even leads to absenteeism and presenteeism. And eventually, they’ll leave.

That’s why it’s so important for startup owners to recognize their employees’ hard work and to make them feel valued. This recognition doesn’t have to be grand. It can be a simple gesture, such as sending an appreciation email to the entire team or each employee. Verbal praise during face-to-face meetings also works. Startup owners can take it up a notch and treat their employees to a meal or give them a little token of appreciation, such as a small gift.

Encourage Employees to Take Time Off

With such a small team in a startup, one employee sometimes fills two roles. This means that they need to work twice as much. Eventually, they’ll experience burnout. And their work performance will gradually decrease as a result.

Business owners need to take care of their employees to make them stay. And one way to do this is to encourage them to take time off. This may be difficult given the staffing situation of startups. But it’s also important to note that paid time off is an employee’s right. By taking time off, employees can rest and recharge. And they will come back with more energy.

Startups encounter many struggles. One of them is employee retention. With simple strategies, startup owners can keep their employees motivated and make them stay. A low attrition rate can contribute to their success.

Morris Internet Group

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