High Employee Turnover Rate in Your Startup? Here’s What You Can Do

If you run a startup with little perks, chances are you face many challenges including building the right online marketing strategy for 2016, and a possibly high employee turnover rate. How do you keep your best minds working on your team? You have bigger brands in your industry all guns out not just for your small share of the market but also for your young bright champs whom you worked hard to groom. It’s annoying. If you notice you’ve been losing quite a number of staff lately, here’s some more things you can add to what you’re already doing.

The Recruiting Process & A High Employee Turnover Rate

With all due respect to your level of experience, could you pay more attention to how you hire?

For example, do you usually send out invitations to vacancy applications or do you more often meet people at events and invite them over for a chat about working with you? Perhaps you rely on some other methods like referrals from friends or you use a recruitment agency.

All recruitment methods have their strengths. Look back into your turnover history and see which methods have been causing you a high employee turnover rate so far. Consider whether you would like to experiment with other methods of recruiting or cutting out a problematic method is good enough.

Consider Recruiting before NYSC

Your Alma mater is often a good place to start.

Work actively to arrange meet-ups with young students.

Use fellowships, conferences, seminars and the likes to meet young people and sample their minds. You’d be surprised what value you can find. It doesn’t have to be a meet of 5,000 people – just the right kind of people. It could be a small one. Like this one.

Repeat process next year or in another six months.

Remember to make friends and take selfies.

 Maybe you don’t want to have to facilitate a conference. No problem. Go through your list of contacts and find someone who knows someone who knows someone who does. If you have the guts to run a business, chances are you have friends who are doing similar fantastic things around, too. This is recruiting, it’s serious business, and no effort is too much.

On Competition

When some of your great minds leave, where do they leave to? Bring up a list of ex-employees, chat up your current staff and find out. A discovered pattern could help you get an idea of something your employees want that they get elsewhere and that you probably haven’t paid attention to yet. You never know until you find out.

On Employee Work Experience

You think you know what it feels like working for you? Think again.

Reach out to “lower-rank” employees and really find out what it feels like working for your company. Could there be certain stumbling blocks that some of your employees have been facing lately? Find a few honest people who aren’t trying to play you and find out from them.

For example, have your employees had to stay back late consistently for a while now and perhaps you didn’t notice because you’re hard worker yourself? Yes you do tell them when it’s 5, “Go home. Get a life.” But in an economy that’s so tough it takes many people about half a-day’s work to earn a dollar, your employees are hardly going to be willing to believe you mean it when you say “Go home.”

Neither hardworking professionals nor lazy rookies prefer to stay late at work. Could they instead run shifts on who stays earlier and later, and on what days?

On Employee Happiness & Company Culture

Yes, you treat them right. You’re a good CEO, fantastic team lead or selfless manager. But sometimes humans are damn right selfish. Sometimes your employees may think that a salary raise will make them happier. But you know better. This is where a company culture helps against a high employee turnover rate.

Build a Company Culture. Spread it. Take the lead in living it.

The goal should be to create and imbibe a culture that’s so strongly pronounced your employees see that you are the true epitome of it. So strong an interviewee who comes within your midst smells it in the air and instantly knows whether they fit in or not. They won’t need more money to stay on working with you. You can read more on company culture.

But I could be wrong; if you prefer to pay more money than build a company culture – your way.

Still on Employee Happiness

It’s normal that a company continues to improve a good employee policy over time.

If you’re reporting an unusually high turnover rate, it’s a possibility that people aren’t feeling fulfilled on your job. Work on adding some unique “silent” benefits that your employees won’t get anywhere else. Benefits that should make your employees think before leaving: “What would I be losing if I left this company now?” Free food? A close-knit brotherhood? Or perhaps unlimited vacation.

I don’t know what will work for you, but I’d really like a company that allows me the option to stay and work from home say, up to 5 days a month. I hope my employers are reading this.

Another idea could be making sure each of your employees spends, say 1 hour of their time at work working on something that is not directly work-related. Encourage them to share frequently what they learn with everyone on the team. This method is related to what is called the 80-20 principle. After an initial failed attempt, Google found a way to adjust the principle to fit their model.

Now just before you go, there’s a common belief that Nigerians have that things like these can’t work for us. Let me know if you disagree with my article on the typical Nigerian mentality.

Please I don’t exactly understand what they mean; maybe what these people are trying to say is that we’re sick. And maybe that’s why we only have a few other world-class companies other than Dangote and GTBank. We all want to play safe. “Stay onside.” If you’re among those people who think that way, you need to stop. Anything you put your heart to – that’s what works.

It’s quite overcrowded here. We need people to get their asses out there and do stuff. Anything.

About getting and keeping your great hires, aka, reducing a high employee turnover rate, you never want to compromise quality. Let this post remind you that there are the good people you seek out there. You’ll find them, you’ll treat them the way you would want to be treated when you were at their stage in life. They’ll sense it, most won’t want to leave, and you’ll all be happy doing so.

Some however will still itch to leave. It’s OK to let them.

You did all you could.

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Seun is an SEO professional who has worked with 13+ businesses and start-ups on their digital advertising: search engine optimisation, PPC, ecommerce content development & marketing, SEO training for teams, and SEO hiring. He’s worked with teams in 16 countries and has written more than 1 million words for the web. 

Find him at seun[at]seun.com.ng.

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