9 Awesome Employee Retention Strategies for Start-Up Companies That Won’t Break the Bank

employee retention

Most people love the idea of joining an up-start organization, in the hope of building it into a household name one day.  The reality is there’s a far greater chance of the company going bust than boom.  Everyone needs a competitive salary and perhaps an opportunity of stock options, but what other things are going to keep employees engaged, on board and willing to commit to a lot of hours and sweat equity that may never pan out.

Here is a list of 9 ideas that will keep your employees motivated, engaged and singing the praises of the brand without having to take out a second mortgage on your home:


Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well done.  Some find being acknowledged by a boss or co-worker more valuable than compensation. Make it a regular habit of telling employees that you appreciate the job they’re doing.

  • Impromptu bonuses/gifts

Random acts of acknowledgement for a job well done, especially when it’s not expected is truly appreciated.  Try to get away from constant gifts as then there becomes an expectation.  By acknowledging excellent work, this has a tendency to have a rippling effect throughout an organization.

  • Flexible Hours

Not every good deed needs to be rewarded but instead can take the form of other things.  By having the flexibility to work from home, this shows good faith from management that trust is present.  Many owners in the past have feared that working from home or having different hours would cause challenges in the quantity and quality of work getting done.  As studies have shown differently COVID-19, productivity on the average has increased by approximately 20%.

  • Training

By encouraging a culture of learning, it shows a belief and a commitment to your employees.  Training can be expensive however, not investing in the skills of your staff can be more costly over time.

  • An Environment of Mentoring

There’s a distinct difference between having a mentor and having a boss.  Mentors are collaborative and teach, whereas bosses are more autocratic and manage.  Employees perform and engage better under a mentor and as a result employee retention is far greater in a mentorship environment.

  • Cost-Certain Employee Benefit Plans

Adding a traditional benefit plan for employee retention can be expensive and unsustainable.  Non-traditional benefit plans or hybrid plans (Health Spending Account based plans) allows for cost-certainty, flexibility and has a “pay what you use” approach, and only layers insurance coverage over those benefit items that truly require it.  This means that more benefit insurance dollars go to employees instead of into the coffers of the insurance company and benefits advisor.

  • Employee Engagement/Team Building

It’s been said that a team that has fun together, wins together.  Team building causes cohesiveness within a company.  Companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable and record 41% lesser absenteeism.  There’s a huge opportunity in this area since studies show that 85% of employees are not engaged at work.

  • Sharing Your Vision

Understanding and sharing your vision for your company with your employees is vital to retention.  87% of millennials said that opportunity for advancement ranked significantly in importance to whether someone entertains staying or leaving a company.  Most leaders’ visions for companies entails growth. A growing company typically means opportunity for advancement.

  • Make Your Employees Brand Ambassadors

Employees that love their company are also inclined to promote the company brand and help recruit new talent.  Your best employees typically have friends that are wired the same way.  If your best employees sing the praises of your organization, they are your best advocates for building your brand, interfacing with customers and attract similar dedicated individuals.

Culture is so important in today’s effort for companies to get the best talent.  Compensation is important, but it is not the only factor that keeps employees happy and growing.  In this COVID-19 era, face to face engagement is being tested.  Employees are often forced to work autonomously for long hours with little or no interaction with others.  By undertaking some or all of the above practices, you’re less inclined to be surprised when someone hands in their letter of resignation.

Chris Coulter is the Founder and President of The Finish Line Group.  He works with business owners to leverage their businesses to increase their wealth, reduce corporate and personal taxes, create viable succession strategies, enable employee retention strategies and allow them to exit their businesses on their terms. 

Chris’ passion for what he does evolve from the mistakes he made in his first business; by not diversifying his risk and not utilizing many opportunities within his business to create significant wealth.  Chris found out the difficult way and now educates business owners on avoiding many of his former oversights and ultimately controlling where their finish line ends.

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