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What are the best ways to motivate early employees to stay longer in a tech start-up?

I've seen several startup companies that have high turnover for newer employees. The reason could be motivation, right compensation or being fear of getting laid off are the most common ones.

But I wanted to hear from other entrepreneurs on the successful ways of retaining them longer - especially the top performers.

5 Replies

Phil Ernst
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Phil Ernst Advisor
CxO & Technical Visionary
My belief is to that money is rarely the key to retaining top performers. First of all, create a culture in which your technical talent can grow and enrich themselves. Secondly, technical talent thrives on challenges and cool projects, you need to feed them a steady diet of projects that are interesting. Finally, I personally have found that having a relationship with your employees is key. If you vest a personal interest in them, they will likely reciprocate by investing in you or the organization.
Ataur Rahman, MBA
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Ataur Rahman, MBA Entrepreneur
Founder of Hiron Solutions
Thanks for your valuable inputs on retaining employees in a start up. Unknowingly, I've started to implement these at my organization and started seeing the benefit of it.

I found it very interesting the third one "relationship" with employees. I try to be creative on how to make the bond strong - take them to lunch very often, share some personal stories, etc.
Cynthia Glasbrenner
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Cynthia Glasbrenner Entrepreneur
SVP, Group Media Director at Hill Holliday - Trilia Media
When I worked at a start up the founder was extremely focused and had a clear vision he talked about. He actively walked around and talked to people and he knew everyone by name. He also encouraged strong camaraderie and we had a lot of laughs while working hard. He was very generous with perks and really listened when you had an idea. Even if he never used it, he made you FEEL like he thought you were smart and he had an interest in every level contributing to the success of the company.
Jennifer Fortney
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20+ years’ experience in PR & marketing comms; Founder of Cascade PR, Chicago firm for small business & startups.
Agree with both.

You might ask them what interests them about being part of a startup, what motivates them (money, equity, environment, leadership role, etc) and what they imagine their future will look like if they stay with the company. This will help you grow and develop them as part of the company and retain them longer term.

Gabe Greenwood
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Gabe Greenwood Entrepreneur
Littlecat Labs
A junior collaborator said to me the other day, "I'm going to put as much effort into this project as you do." I think that pretty much sums it up...
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