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Tips to hold on employees who are running away

By Eureka Bharali, SiliconIndia   |    26 Comments
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Tips to hold on employees who are running away
Bangalore: "Do you work in Infosys or Wipro? No? Ohh!" says Neel's 56 year old disappointed neighbour, for whom the entire IT world just revolves around the big names. Neel is not the only case, rather every startup employee has faced the same expressions sometimes from their elderly relatives or some nosy neighbours and at times even from peers, who are employed with the biggies. These taunts may lead to frustrations or inferiority complex and the employee may end up jumping ships to a bigger organization. "Some of the male employees in startups, quit their jobs as many of the brides' parents reject them as grooms since they don't work in big companies," says Amitabh Das, CEO of Vati Consulting. Quite a threat for the startups and adding on to the social stigma are the lucrative packages that the established firms offer. So, can this be avoided? Following are certain tips that employers may keep in mind to ensure they don't lose out the people they want to retain.

Create mini-leaders: At the outset, one may think a startup is already a small group, hence a mini group is quite ambiguous. Herein comes the glitch. Name each responsibility, for instance, if you have assigned someone, apart from yourself, with dealing with the clients - designate the person as 'Client Relationship Head" or if there's someone who comes up with decent ideas - term him the 'Innovation Head'. And these heads can gradually form teams of three-four people under them.

Ownership & Emotional Involvement: Clearly put forth your expectations from them and set the milestones. There should be a sense of ownership built within the core people as you make them responsible for their own departments. The person should be made owner of the tasks which are assigned to him i.e. he have to finish it however, if he needs involvement/help from anyone (including founder etc.), he is the boss on that specific task and can make anyone involve if required. If they're asking for added responsibilities, more flexible hours or on-the-job training, be amenable. Also, try asking them for help, this would get them emotionally involved.

Meet Expectations: A person who is serious about a career in a startup is ambitious and hence, the founders should make it a point to meet the employees' expectations. For instance, they need to highlight the progress of the firm and also the future plans for the company growth. This transparency will help them to form a closer bond with the company.

Incentivise: Being recognized gives anyone a boost. So, dole out incentives based on performance, may be less in cash and more in kind. "If the employee is a long-term bet, the management can introduce a profit-sharing 'clause', whereby they have a percentage of the profit earned by the company," says Das. Afterall, the sense of achievement is what most employees look out in their career life.

ESOPs: ESOPs is another lucrative option to keep your employees intact, though employees are still to realize its value. You can introduce shares of your company and distribute certain numbers within the company. Esops make start-ups competitive as against bigger companies who are paying 20-30 percent higher salaries as you make your employees a part of the company.

Working at a startup is interesting and fulfilling, yet, with pressures all around it becomes difficult for any employee to continue. These few tricks may help them create a bond with the startup and stay loyal. Next time an employee turns up with a weird excuse to run away from the company, run a check if all of these methods were tried on him or her. If you have some other tricks up your sleeve to keep your employees hale and hearty within a startup environment do share with us.

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Reader's comments(26)
1: The great information you have provided in this site. Thanks for your amazing site.

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Posted by:Web Hosting India - 29 Jul, 2011
2: Hi. Thanks for your wonderful site. very useful site.
Posted by:Web Hosting India - 29 Jul, 2011
3: The key is really just knowing what the individual employee wants - whether it's money/title/a new group, sometimes the simplest thing is the best - just ask the employee what they want and you will often get an honest answer!

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and like us on facebook to get free updates:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Programmer-Inte rview/120896424636091

Posted by:jaya - 28 Feb, 2011
4: This article shows one aspect of the social life, the bottom line is, now a days who joins Start-up or small companies, Predominantly, people who do not get properly placed from Campus (due to low marks), or coming from small town/college. They still keep the zeal of joining big companies.
Big companies do add values not only social but skill wise as well. Mentally you are comfortable as your job is secured, you are being given a process and policies (in sort dicipline) to work and once worked in Tier 1 company, your door is open for other Tier 1 companies and for elite MBA college as well.
Start up not only need to follow the suggestions given in the above article, they need to bring process and plicites enforcement in work arena as well, this will give competetive edge professionally and to their employees as well.
Posted by:Ritessh - 28 Feb, 2011
5: One more tip to retain the employees would be to hire people who are in a age group of late 20s and early 30s. Also, youngsters who are already married because these are the people who can stick around and do minimal experiment with the changing jobs.
Posted by:Sandeepp Bajaj - 21 Feb, 2011
Good idea but poor practical application since an employee in a higher age band comes with more number of years and hence higher salary which in itself is a bigger challenge for a startup.
Raana Replied to: Sandeepp Bajaj - 21 Feb, 2011
Errata: employee in a higher age band comes with more number of years of experience
Raana Replied to: Raana - 21 Feb, 2011
People with experience come with their baggage and are unwilling to try new things. It is always I-used-to-do-it-this-way-in-my-last-company, etc. Youngsters are more hard working and ready to sit late hours, without having to bother about their family waiting for them. They are also cheaper, energetic with lesser ego hassles and easier to convince if you have a new idea.

The rest of the points stated in the article are absolutely true. But to say that ownership can lead to better performance is slightly off the mark. I have seen many youngsters simply would do only things which interest them than what all need to be done to complete a project.

One magic that works with many employees is personal relationship if the boss has the capability to build those emotional ties.
Parameswaran Nair Replied to: Raana - 25 Feb, 2011
Youngstars like to sit back & work on the computer, not at site. They do not want to stay late because they have more energetic work outside than within the company. Youngstars are more boss than boss because of their less or no experience & so are very rigid.
Irrespective of age, what is necessary is flexible mind without bringing ego & working in team because one person can not have all the idea & more than one person is necessary to find out error & find solution.
Dilip Replied to: Parameswaran Nair - 01 Mar, 2011
10: Every employee is short sighted they dont think 10 years from now! if they were they wont be still working they would be starting up themselves..so the bosses should understand that give fat pay cheques..

Paychecks matter and most people hop shores just for monetary benefits ..they will sacrifice anything for a few quids extra
Posted by:Arulprakash Ravindran - 21 Feb, 2011
11: Working in start up company will also benefit employee to get promotion v.soon. this will allow them to climb the ladder v.fast compare to employee in big companies.
Posted by:Chintan, Bangalore - 21 Feb, 2011
The pain point here is that most of the startups do not have an employee growth plan and appraisal policy at their disposal which in itself cause dissatisfaction and uncertainty among employees and hence chances of leaving the company increases.
Raana Replied to: Chintan, Bangalore - 21 Feb, 2011
13: Every startup owner knows that and they dont practice
Posted by:4j8 - 21 Feb, 2011
It is easier said than done..
Raana Replied to: 4j8 - 21 Feb, 2011
15: The problem faced by employees with (a) Start-up companies (b) Small Companies (c) Dis-organized companies is more or less same.

They are (a) micro-management (b) lack of clarity in decision making process (c) frequently changing decisions (d) unclear processes.

After working for a start-up an employee may try to venture out. But at that time he/she notices they are not welcomed by other start-ups because more or less the companies will be in the same condition. They are not welcomed by bigger companies, as they look these employees (even though these guys are best) with lot of suspicion with respect to the skills.
Posted by:Start-uper - 21 Feb, 2011
200% correct.
vb5 Replied to: Start-uper - 21 Feb, 2011
17: i do not possess a credit card.Please kindly email me what would be the righteous answer.
Posted by:faheem ali - 21 Feb, 2011
18: In bigger companies - you can't work on multiple roles at the entry level, however in a start up - you will be getting this type of opportunities.

Also opportunities to work on emerging technologies is possible in start-up, whereas in a bigger cos. chances are less.

Also popular saying "Want to be small fish in a big pond...or Big fish in a small pond" holds good.

Posted by:Bhaskar - 21 Feb, 2011
19: Completely Agreed.Many of these tricks works.You can also arrange weekend parties or extra-curricular activities on weekends.Even 'Kaizen' helps alot.
Posted by:Prasad - 20 Feb, 2011
20: I like this approach. I too work for a startup and already suggested similar thoughts with the CEO. But he not ready to listen. Resources are leaving like anything and the HR team keeps on hiring......
Posted by:VMR - 20 Feb, 2011
21: I do agree with all the points recommended by you but still you cannt stop human resources to move. I think, most of these things depend on employee too whether he or she willing to continue or not. Sometimes people do change their jobs because of they just need a change. Management should allow their employees to speak freely and respond positively.
Posted by:Neeraj - 20 Feb, 2011
22: I liked the article.. being in a startup even i am looking for a swap. Though i had postponed my plans till the next appraisal(which is in a month). Lets see how much my employees match my expectations as i try to match theirs.
Posted by:Anshul - 20 Feb, 2011
23: I Like your approach to retain your people. keep it up man.This may bring you from small company CEO to big company CEO
Posted by:siddhartha - 20 Feb, 2011
I worked for big names for 6 years and then moved to small companies of around 200 people and working in smaller org for last 5 years.
What a change... the quick way things move forward, the freedom one gets, the exposure, the innovation...its all worth it. There is a real sense of belonging. Having said that, also lot depends on the culture the smaller organisation promotes.

Mohit Replied to: siddhartha - 21 Feb, 2011
What ever may be the company make sure that your career grows along with your experience. Of course Money matters a lot.
Rohan Replied to: Mohit - 21 Feb, 2011
as per my opinion dont work for startup companies more than 12 Month they are blood sucker. i have spend 3.4 years in start up they do partiality and they dont have appraisal policy.They are selfish think about self not for employees.There are no week end even you have to work on public holidays,and no such policy for leave encasement if you not taken a any leave in a year.They dont give you leave. but its a ur choice go for bigger company or startups.
vivek Replied to: Rohan - 23 Feb, 2011