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06 Ways To Attract Talent For Your Startups And Retain Them

In the dynamic landscape of entrepreneurship, startups often find themselves competing for the same finite pool of talent that established companies do. Because attracting and retaining the right people is not just a key challenge, it's a make-or-break factor in the success of any new venture. Startups possess a unique appeal, offering employees the promise of innovation, rapid growth, and a shared vision. However, the battle for talent is fierce, and in this battle, startups need a well-defined strategy to both attract and retain the individuals who will fuel their growth. 

Acquiring the right individuals for your business is crucial, and this holds especially true for startups. In situations where financial resources are scarce and the company's reputation is still in its infancy, an erroneous hiring decision can lead to considerable setbacks, potentially stalling your business's progress or preventing it from gaining momentum entirely. Furthermore, the limited availability of assets and the absence of established recognition can pose significant challenges for startups when attempting to attract top-tier talent.

In this guide, we'll explore the essential tactics and strategies that startups can employ to not only captivate the attention of top-notch talent but also keep them committed and engaged in the long run. From defining a compelling mission to creating a vibrant company culture and offering competitive incentives, we'll delve into the methods that have proven to be successful in building and maintaining a talented and motivated team for your startup. 

So, here are some strategies to attract and retain people for your startup:

01. Define Your Company’s Mission And Values

In an ever-evolving world of business, one constant remains at the heart of successful organizations: a clearly defined mission and a set of core values. These two pillars serve as the foundation upon which a company's identity, culture, and strategic direction are built. A well-crafted mission statement articulates the purpose and aspirations of the company, while a set of core values establishes the guiding principles and beliefs that steer decision-making and behavior within the organization.

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey said, “IBM stands for three things: the integrity of the individual, excellence, and service. These things represent the values of IBM. Everything else will change, but these three things will not change. These values have spread throughout the entire organization, providing a tremendous base of shared values and personal security for everyone who works there.” 

Defining your company's mission and values is a fundamental step in shaping the identity and guiding principles of your organization. It's more than just a statement, it's a compass that directs your business toward its desired destination. 

In Korn Ferry's 2018 study, it was revealed that the second most prevalent cause for employees departing their positions was a perceived misalignment between their values and the company's. Among those surveyed, 24% cited this as their primary reason. Ensure that your company's mission is prominently displayed on the organization's "About" page. This makes it readily visible to prospective candidates when they are exploring your company. Internally, it serves as a constant reminder to your employees of the objectives you are diligently striving to achieve.

On the plus side for employers, besides the benefits of attracting and retaining talent through your mission and values, it will also drive your business forward. According to a Deloitte study, organizations with a robust vision experienced a 30% increase in innovation and a 40% boost in employee retention rates.

So, defining your company's mission and values is not a one-time task but an ongoing process that informs every aspect of your business. It's the roadmap that guides your organization toward its goals while maintaining its moral and ethical integrity. It's an investment that pays off in the form of a strong brand, a committed team, and loyal customers. 

02. Offer Competitive Compensation

Offering competitive compensation to startup employees is not just a matter of financial reward, it is a strategic investment in the success and sustainability of your venture.

While startups might not be able to match the salaries offered by larger corporations, they can offer equity, performance-based bonuses, or other incentives to make the compensation package more appealing.

In recent times, the increased cost of living has significantly challenged the financial stability of employees, particularly those who have families. Meanwhile, wages have shown little growth, intensifying the financial strain on workers. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that there has been a notable increase in the number of employees seeking better opportunities and subsequently leaving their current positions.

In order to draw in top-tier talent and retain your exceptional performers, it's essential to thoughtfully assess the advantages and drawbacks of providing increased wages as a means of retaining your most valuable employees.

03. Invest in Employee Development

To thrive and adapt in an increasingly competitive landscape, companies must recognize that investing in employee development is not just an option, it is a strategic imperative. Whether you are a startup navigating the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship or an established company seeking to maintain a competitive edge, fostering the growth and potential of your employees is a pivotal key to success.

The 2019 Workforce Learning report by LinkedIn discovered an astonishing fact: 94% of employees expressed their willingness to remain with a company for an extended period if the organization prioritizes and supports their professional development. Consequently, if your startup places a high emphasis on retaining its workforce, the moment has arrived to initiate the creation of opportunities for career growth.

To effectively invest in employee development:

  • Identify the specific skills and knowledge your employees need to excel in their roles.
  • Create a learning culture within your organization that encourages continuous improvement.
  • Provide access to training and development opportunities, whether through workshops, courses, mentorship programs, or online resources.
  • Regularly assess the impact of your development programs to ensure they align with your organization's goals.

The value of investing in employee development cannot be overstated. It is not merely a means to enhance the skills and knowledge of your workforce, it is an essential strategic move that directly impacts the success and sustainability of your organization. 

04. Create A Positive Company Culture

Building and nurturing a positive company culture is not just a matter of comfort or aesthetics, it is the bedrock upon which startups flourish and thrive. The culture of a startup defines its values, norms, and identity, shaping the behavior and attitudes of its employees.

The cornerstone of a thriving organization lies in fostering a favorable workplace atmosphere. To draw in and keep top talent, it's essential to establish a positive and encouraging environment. This entails dedicating resources, both in terms of time and finances, to aspects such as company culture, engaging employees, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

To create a positive company culture:

  • Start by defining the core values that will guide your organization's culture. Make sure they align with your mission and vision.
  • Leadership sets the tone for the company culture. Leaders should exemplify the values and behaviors they want to promote.
  • Involve employees in shaping the culture. Their input and feedback are invaluable for creating a culture that resonates with the workforce.
  • Transparent and open communication is vital. Keep employees informed about company developments and foster a culture of honest dialogue.
  • Acknowledge and reward employees for their contributions. Recognition boosts morale and motivation.

05. Recognize And Reward Good Work

Whether you're steering an MNC or captaining a small startup, the power of appreciation and incentives cannot be underestimated. They serve as potent catalysts, driving employees and teams to excel, helping a culture of continuous improvement, and fueling the engine of achievement.

O.C. Tanner, a company recognized as Great Place To Work-Certified, has conducted research on workplace dynamics and the influence of management on shaping them. They have conducted a comprehensive exploration of employee engagement, uncovering valuable insights into how managers can customize their work environments to enhance them.

As part of an employee survey, a question was included: "What is the most important thing that your company currently does that would cause you to produce great work?" 

Participants replied by offering a range of responses, yet a distinct trend became evident. Out of the respondents, 37% indicated that greater individual recognition would motivate them to consistently deliver improved work.

06 Ways To Attract Talent For Your Startups And Retain Them

Great Place To Work examined 1.7 million employee survey replies collected from 2018 to 2020 in various organizations, including small, medium-sized, and large companies.

Upon contrasting the collective experience of employees who were acknowledged with those who were not, it was evident that recognition had a substantial correlation with various aspects of a favorable company culture.

When contrasting individuals who consistently experience recognition in their workplace with those who do not, the former are:

  • 2.6 times more inclined to believe that promotions are equitable.
  • 2.2 times more inclined to foster innovation and introduce new concepts.
  • 2.0 times more likely to observe a willingness among colleagues to go the extra mile.

06. Offer Flexible Working Hours 

The traditional 9-to-5 workday is no longer the sole standard, and businesses are increasingly recognizing the need to adapt to the changing needs of their employees. Offering flexible working hours has become more than just a perk, it's a strategic choice that can transform the way organizations operate.

Providing adaptable work options like a hybrid work model or flexible scheduling demonstrates your alignment with contemporary trends and your dedication to prioritizing the well-being of your employees. It's crucial to acknowledge the direct connection between employee work-life balance and its favorable influence on business productivity. Therefore, if your aim is to expand your business, initiating flexible work arrangements is a valuable starting point.


The journey of attracting and retaining people for startups is a continuous process. It involves constant adaptation, listening to your team, and responding to the ever-changing dynamics of the business world. 

By prioritizing your people and making their growth and well-being a central focus, your startup can create a workplace where talent thrives, innovation flourishes, and success becomes an achievable reality.

Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

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