The advantages of working as a start-up versus working for a large company are plentiful, and the thrill of being part of something fresh can be exhilarating for you and your team.
However, it’s unlikely that as a start-up you can afford the same shiny employee benefit packages that of your big-business rivals can. Company cars, health club membership, corporate credit cards and the chance to win glitzy five-star holidays and more are all the kind of thing you could be up against.
So how do you motivate your top talent to realise your vision, and prevent them from being tempted by the fruit of another firm that’s potentially more established?
In actual fact, there’s a wealth of opportunities for you to do things that can make you just as appealing as the big players, if not more so.
Without the red tape that often suffocates large corporations, you’re free to shape your own unique culture exactly as you please, and this can be incredibly magnetic to prospective employees.
Make your office somewhere that will inspire them to come into work every day; sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. Having an endless supply of premium coffee is a good start, and incentives such as free payday drinks are a fantastic way to get to know one another in a, social environment.
Offering flexible working for your staff is a huge benefit for many, as it allows your employees to enjoy a working structure that they can determine for themselves, and establish a healthy work-life balance. This can also serve as a benefit to the company, as a flexible workforce will reduce the cost of a central office, as it simply isn’t needed.
Liberate your team and give them a level of autonomy they are unlikely to get at a big firm where 20 global stakeholders might have to sign off even the tiniest of changes. Empowered staff that feel like they can make a difference are more likely to be happy and motivated.
It’s good to talk
Whilst it may seem like an obvious point to communicate effectively with your team, many simply don’t. You can never be too busy to hold regular catch-ups with your team, as things can swiftly fall apart if you’re not all on the same page. And nothing hurts morale like organisational chaos.
If you can’t all be together in the same room, hold a conference call and ensure you send regular emails, drawing attention to any change around the team.
The same goes for one-on-one appraisals. Without them, staff can feel lost and become complacent, so ensure you check in regularly to see that they feel challenged and are happy with their development.
Don’t be afraid to give constructive feedback, and in turn, ask for theirs. You might not like everything they say, but if they don’t like something, chances are they’re not the only one.
Celebrating company success, whether it’s down to an individual team member or a company milestone, is a must. Not only will it give those responsible a huge boost, but push the team on to strive for bigger and better things. It’s also important to share things that haven’t gone so well too – there are few start-ups that can say things never went horribly wrong at least once.
Any good company worth its weight in gold knows to invest in its staff. After all, you’ve picked these people for a reason. Whilst money may be tight, sending your team members on any necessary training courses is invaluable to your business, especially if they come back and share their new knowledge with the rest of the team or come up with a great new concept as a result. It can make them feel valued, too.
People like to feel they are progressing, so let your team members step up to the challenge of a new task or role; just be sure to assign them a mentor in the early stages to ensure things don’t go pear-shaped.
Great staff are hard to come by, and holding onto them is important if you really want to set the business world on fire. Looking after people needn’t be expensive, and sometimes trust and recognition go much further than material rewards. They’re free, after all, and that’s just the right price for any start-up.