What Can Startups Do To Help Improve Their Staff Retention?

There are undeniable benefits to working for a startup, including the opportunity to widen your professional skill sets by collaborating as part of a smaller team. But the scaled back nature of startups and their workforces can still pose some concerns for business owners.

Any change of staff has the potential to disrupt the operations of a startup. This is what makes staff retention a crucial investment for entrepreneurs. After all, it costs a company exponentially more to search for, hire, and train new recruits than it does to retain employees who are already performing well.

So how do you improve the rate of staff retention for your startup enterprise? We’ll be answering this question today so read on for some useful tips to help improve staff retention for your startup.

Provide upskilling opportunities for your staff

As we mentioned, one of the single greatest pros of working for a startup enterprise is the opportunity to learn new skills. If you want to expand on your knowledge of the industry you’re working in, being a key part of the team at a startup can help ensure you’re in the right position to do so.

With that, startup managers can improve their staff retention by providing these upskilling opportunities, whether it be in the form of ISO training courses for gaining auditing skills or in the form of providing career advancement opportunities for staff who’ve demonstrated their dedication to your business.

If you’re feeling a little lost on the types of upskilling opportunities you can provide to your staff, simply reach out to them either informally or even in a meeting to ascertain the kinds of opportunities they’d be most likely to appreciate. Even this dialogue can help demonstrate that you’re mindful of your employees’ own professional needs alongside your own business goals.

Clear and transparent communication is key

No one wants to work for a manager that they can’t trust, or one that they think routinely gives information on a need-to-know basis. That’s what makes transparency a vital quality for all managers, not just for entrepreneurs managing startups.

Workplaces that maintain transparent communications are also likely to be composed of employees who are all on the same page and united towards a shared goal. This is a highly valuable characteristic for startups in particular, as startup employees are often required to think more strategically and resourcefully in order to make waves against their competitors. This level of strategy simply cannot be attained without every member of your team being kept in the loop.

But the value of clear and transparent communication also transcends business matters. The best startup managers are those that are invested in the wellbeing and happiness of their own employees. This means getting to know the people you work with, and showing up when they need the support. Strong interpersonal relationships tend to be the bedrock for all startups that finally find their groove and build to a point where they find that their business can grow itself. So get to know the people you share the bulk of your working week with. You may be surprised by just how rich their personalities, passions, and inner lives can be.

Maintain clearly defined staff roles

Whilst we did touch upon the value of startups as a learning environment for those looking to expand on their professional skill set, it’s also important to note that some employees want some stability alongside space for exploration. In other words, managers shouldn’t expect their employees to routinely perform tasks that fall outside of their job description.

When you hire someone for a position at your company, whether it is a bagel factory or a chicken farm, that employee will want to know what they will be expected to do. When a manager starts asking people to do things that aren’t in their training or job description, it can naturally cause a lot of issues in the workplace, including tasks not being completed correctly or employees losing confidence in their abilities. 

An extension of this issue is managers wrongly calculating the time commitments required to take on additional workloads. Simply put, if an employee isn’t a social media specialist, then don’t expect them to take on social media marketing tasks alongside their own specialised workload. What you may consider to be ‘busy work’ could easily end up being a whole other job position – which can drastically result in staff burnout.

The majority of people want to know exactly what they will be doing, to an extent, on a day-to-day basis before deciding on a job offer. You would not retain many employees if you misled them into believing the job isn’t actually as advertised. Once again, maintaining open lines of communication with your staff can help you ascertain the kinds of workloads and tasks that your staff will be comfortable with or may even like to work towards taking on.

Review and make improvements to your employee onboarding

The first ninety days of an employee’s time at a company are absolutely crucial, and if it isn’t properly planned and executed, employees may not stick around very long. You want all of your employees to feel as important on the first day as they do on their ninetieth. And proper training, hands-on experience, and communication are going to go a long way when it comes to achieving this goal.

As you amend your employee onboarding processes, however, it’s also imperative to keep in mind that ensuring employee job satisfaction will likely require other kinds of processes that’ll help you touch base with your staff. This can include one-on-one goal-setting meetings, performance reviews, and perhaps even employee of the month and other rewards-based programmes. Simply put, never forget about your employees – especially the ones who have put in the hard yards and have years under their belts at your company. Make sure that all of your employees receive your time and attention well after their first ninety days.

Seek staff feedback wherever you can

Finally, the best way of communicating that you’re dedicated to ensuring that your enterprise caters to the needs of its workforce is simply by making sure you’re available to hear staff feedback. The best managers are those who know when to listen and absorb. So being able to routinely take a backseat in order to let staff come to you with their grievances can naturally be a big part of addressing those grievances and taking steps to make sure that nobody else has to feel the way that original employee did.

Securing staff feedback for each and every method we’ve outlined above (as well as when picking your employee benefits like healthcare, company cars, or business credit cards), can help ensure that you’re making all the right decisions – not just as a business owner but as a manager and supervisor as well.


Investing in your employee retention should be regarded as an investment in the health and longevity of your business. With an experienced and dedicated workforce at your fingertips, managers should find it easier to propel their startups to new heights, and perhaps even secure new investors if they ever require a little extra capital to fund their growth strategising.

So be sure to utilise all the tips and tricks we’ve outlined above to help ensure that all your employees feel seen, supported, and stay motivated to do their part in elevating your enterprise from a startup to a fixture of your industry.

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