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4 Ways to Retain Employees in a Start-up Ecosystem Millennials, nowadays, are a passionate bunch of people whose working sensibilities match with the vibe of start-ups, keeping mind a few points can make a difference of a million

By Bhavya Kaushal

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Employee retention is a dominant challenge in start-ups. For bigger businesses, exits don't make that big a difference because they have the virtue of being an establishment. But with start-ups, which are grappling and still finding a footing in the world of entrepreneurship, retaining employees can be a cumbersome task especially when they cannot provide a sense of security which larger organizations, naturally, can.

However, retaining employees in start-ups is not difficult to decode. Millennials, nowadays, are a passionate bunch of people whose working sensibilities match with the vibe of start-ups. Keeping in mind a few points can make a difference of a million.

Aligning them with the Start-up's Motive

If employees know the direction they are being led in, then it becomes easy to align them with the vision of the start-up. Mujahid Rupani, Co-founder and CEO of Cobx Gaming, says that hiring an employee for a start-up is a task in itself. "Usually, we look at someone who is high on passion and hungry for learning as start-ups are the best place to learn and gain maximum exposure." He adds that with financial constraints and credibility still in the process of being earned, the best start-up entrepreneurs can do to retain employees is to make them believe in the cause and help them see that their hard work will make a difference and eventually help them in their individual growth.

Entrepreneurs must acknowledge that every employee in the company comes with certain aspirations and dreams. Rupani says that cherishing employees is integral when it comes to retaining them. He says, "Valuing your employees' time and efforts help in building trust and loyalty thus enhancing the overall productivity."

Using the Sword of Incentives

Flipkart was recently in news for issuing employee stock ownership plan (ESOPs) worth around $100 million for its senior and mid-level staff, including, the Myntra and Jabong employees as well. This comes across as a strategic tactic aimed towards retaining employees. Start-ups can note some takeaways from such examples and try to use the sword of incentives to retain employees. Ram N Kumar, Founder and CEO of NirogStreet, feels that employees are the backbone of any organization. "It is important that your employees feel connected to the company and for that, communication and reward are the two pillars. Long term reward such as ESOP, extra responsibilities and handholding in creating better career growth creates stickiness."

How best can you reward your employees can help start-up entrepreneurs decode the manner of retaining them.

Don't Look for Quick Fixes

Leadership and transparency in the working of a start-up can act as a booster for employees, says, Sanjay Pande, Director and Fund Manager of YourNest. He says, "People join companies, but leave because of bosses. Seldom would a good employee leave a company if the leader is good. Keeping the leadership strong and invincible is paramount to keeping the employees together and intact."

He gives an essential element that start-up entrepreneurs must remember, "Always maintain strong and transparent communication with them. Quick fixes are just that, and no more than band-aids for fractures."

Liberate Them

Freedom is the best thing for a being. An employee will never be able to deliver if the entrepreneur simply imposes targets or goals of the organization upon the employee. It is akin to clipping the wings of a bird. If entrepreneurs get a liberated environment, their productivity will increase multifold. Ranjan Kumar, Founder and CEO of Entropik Technologies, says, "Provide freedom to operate and encourage them to take ownership, don't micromanage. Also, consider the candidate's varying career goals when deciding their KRA's."

Exploring is another aspect. Vikas Bagaria, Founder of Pee Safe, says "Entrepreneurs must let their employees explore all kinds of opportunities across all departments to be able to bring out the best version of themselves. I do the same in my organization."

Sharing a part of the business with the employees and making it their own really helps in giving them a sense of ownership as well.

Bhavya Kaushal

Former Features Writer

I am a work-in-progress writer and human being. An English graduate from Delhi University, writing is my passion and currently, I was Entrepreneur India's start-up reporter. I love covering start-ups and weaving their stories into unforgettable tales with the power of ink! 
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