Talent Management Strategies for Startups

Jul 05, 2021

Summary: Acquiring the right talent may not be a difficult task. But the question lies in retaining them. How can startups strategize better to retain talent within their organization ? Read below to find out 6 such strategies..!

To illustrate how many organizations are struggling with retention during Covid, KPMG surveyed CEOs to identify the biggest priorities on their agenda. 

Percentage of CEOs identifying “Talent Risk” as the Biggest Risk 

Only 1 %      ------>        21 % 

(Pre-Covid)             (Post-Covid) 

With remote-location becoming a norm within work-spaces, companies do not require employees to relocate, and they are scouting for talent from around the world. The power dynamics have shifted to a more balanced position now, as despite the unemployment rate being high, workers now have more choices over whom they can work for, around the globe. Moreover, workers’ expectations have shifted due to the growing safety concerns because of the pandemic. 

Retaining talent has now become more challenging. The costs of employee retention are going high, with decreasing value of employee engagement. 

Employee Retention and engagement are directly correlated. The more engaged a worker is, the longer they will want to stay at their organization, everything else being constant. 

And, engagement is tightly linked to productivity so by engaging a worker, they are going to perform better and stay longer, which saves costs and increases impact on the organization. However, disengaged employees are an indicator of exit signs, as over half of disengaged employees will look for another job and almost three-fourths will want to quit, stated by a poll. 

When an employee leaves, it not only cost the organization money and knowledge, but also impacts team morale, which inturn can effect the employer’s brand. Further, startups are often in a critical race against time when finding a replacement, as the growth of the company is dependent on a small team size. 

Talent Management Strategies 

1. Invest in Employee-onboarding and managing expectations- 

Everyone remembers the first days at their job. These first moments at an organization, make a lasting impression. So companies should structure and plan the onboarding process, as it not only helps new joined employees to get upto speed, but also impacts motivation and commitment in the long term. Setting and managing employee expectations from the get go, gets everybody on the same page.

2. Company Values and an Inclusive culture:

A company’s values define what type of organization is to be built and what matters to the employees. In reality, the culture of the company is constantly evolving, as more people bring newer perspectives. 

To increase retention, don’t stop at well-defined values, but make sure the company is building an inclusive culture around its employees. This will allow the company to attract and retain people with diverse demographics and backgrounds, thereby increasing the chances for business growth and hiring in the future. 

3. Measure employee engagement- 

With many great softwares available online to measure employee engagement and understand what really matters to them, it's important to make use of such tools. Make sure to NOT just listen to the “most vocal team” members of the team, but also focus on the results shown through these tools. 

For eg- if the results on internal communication were poor, put in place concrete routines to fix those. 

4. Maintain a Leadership Track-

A common saying is- People don't leave their jobs, but leave their managers, as a manager has a huge impact on the team’s engagement.


Oftentimes in a startup, first timers are in leadership positions, so they might err on the side of it. That’s why it’s especially important that startups support their managers and help them grow by investing in their coaching and training in areas like communication skills, the role of a manager, and giving feedback. 

5. Facilitate constant learning and growth opportunities -

People always look for their own development, and want to learn new skills. Employees are driven by the desire to learn and make an impact, and allocating more responsibilities to them is viewed as a sign of trust. 

Foster freedom and responsibility within the organization. By giving employees growth opportunities, their appetite to learn is taken care of. 

One can also build more structured learning opportunities across the company by organizing training to help employees develop new skills, building career plans or providing mentoring. 

6. Define the correct compensation structure -

While structuring the compensation strategy, dont just copy-paste what other companies are doing, but be mindful of employee expectations. For eg- If for a company, work-life balance is deeply embedded in the values and they want to retain employees with families, day-care solutions would make more sense than a free-festival passes. 

 Another crucial element is to communicate the compensation strategy clearly. Too often great packages are underappreciated because the employees might not understand how the benefits can be used. And of course, keep in mind that compensation is not the only way to share recognition. 

Conclusion: Employees hope that their employers will take care of them even more during a crisis. They want to be at a company that is constantly communicating, being honest, and promoting the programs and benefits that will help solve their work and personal problems. 

If an employee’s physical, mental, emotional and financial expectations are well understood and taken care of, they would not only stay back, but also encourage the right talent to join the company..!!

Author(s) :
Swadha Agarwal