This is a guest blog by Jim Hughes
The number of engineers launching their own startup companies is increasing. More and more engineers are pursuing new entrepreneurial ventures with the dream of becoming their own boss, launching their own product or services, and making a dent in their industries. This has highlighted something that is critical to startup success: employee management, which is a huge challenge.
Employee management covers best practices to retain the top talent who will help you achieve your goals. As a founder, you know that a big part of your success (or failure) is your people. So, as you work your way towards establishing an engineering startup, it is important to equip yourself with knowledge in employee management.
Finding the Right People
Assembling a great team starts with an effective hiring process. Of course, you want only the best people on your team. You could be looking for the best engineers, analysts, leaders, managers, and front line employees who will help you run and grow your company.
Once you find the right people, it is important to on-board them effectively. The on-boarding process should start before their first day of work. You want them to have a clear understanding of their roles and how they affect the company. It is important to set the right expectations. Remember that you’re a startup. You’re not Google or Apple so having a fun employee playroom is a dream for now. When looking for people to join your team, look for those who will dream with you. Those who will be willing to get in on the ground floor with you and grow with you until your dreams become a reality.
Keeping Your People
Once you find the best people to join your team, the next thing you need to focus on is retaining them. It’s easy to find great talent, but it is incredibly difficult to retain them. Employee retention is a skill. As the founder, you need to learn and master it, even if it’s way beyond your scope as an engineer.
How do you retain your best people?
Begin by understanding why top talent often leaves. It’s important to take preventive measures in order to keep them, rather than wait until they express their intent to leave before doing anything.
Here are some proven approaches to retaining employees in a startup:
1. Encourage Your Employees To Keep Growing
Let them realize that working at a startup gives them so many opportunities to learn and grow. According to the 2017 Gallup survey, 70% of employees are not engaged in their work. Enabling employees to learn and grow and supporting them with their professional goals significantly enhances the meaning they derive from work, which correlates to employee engagement.
2. Let Them Practice Work-Life Balance
Give your employees some autonomy, especially when it comes to their schedule. If possible, and practical, allow employees to work from home when they are unable to go to the office or choose their work hours.
3. Support Them
As a startup, you may not have enough resources to give your employees attractive incentives, compensation, or reward programs. But that doesn’t mean you have no way of showing your appreciation or support. Small things like conducting in-team training sessions to share your skills and technical know-how, giving them more flexibility, and promoting company bonding – all of these make a positive impact on your employees.
Running your own engineering startup can be fun and challenging at the same time. It is important to have the best tools – hardware, software, and even human capital.
Beside the mentioned challenges, there are many others that engineering startups face. One is funding. Good thing, founders can tackle their financial needs in several ways, from obtaining a personal loan online for covering small expenses to finding investors to support product development and marketing.
Alongside having a limited budget, managing employees effectively is something that every engineer-founder should focus on. You may have the skills and knowledge needed to create a profitable app, software product, or to design the tallest building, but you need people – leaders, managers, analysts, and staff who will help you achieve your goals. Finding the right people is hard. But retaining top talent is much harder. However, by setting clear expectations and promoting employee engagement, you can build a strong team who will stay with you through thick and thin.
About Jim Hughes
Jim Hughes is a content marketer at LoanStart.com. He has significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business topics. He likes to share his knowledge and insights through writing.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about employee management.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success