How to Incentivize and Support Your Employees as a Startup

two businessmen having a meeting in the park

There is no greater asset to your business than the staff. Startups need employees who are regularly on their “A-Game” to achieve rapid growth. Employees need to feel motivated and engaged. Particularly in competitive markets, start-up businesses need their employees to feel supported if they aspire for their business to excel.

One of the biggest issues for growing businesses is that their in-house talent is at risk of being poached from established competitors. As an entrepreneur, you may worry about losing your pioneer employees who once helped provide the momentum your business needed to get off the ground.

In this article, we’ll outline four major tips on how to incentivize and reward employees so you can improve employee retention in your business


Be transparent about business objectives and results

An open and transparent business is a good place for employees to work. Open communications with your staff will strengthen the work culture and help employees to feel part of the common goal of your business. You owe it to your employees and your business to be transparent about the company’s goals. In addition, the company’s bottom line and what needs to be done for improvement.

That’s why small business owners should always be honest about the financials and OKRs (objectives and key results) of the company – both short and long term. Make it clear where your business sits today and outline where you want it to be tomorrow. Organize regular company meetings to provide important updates. With these updates, employees will feel engaged and part of your business’s journey.


Offer competitive flexibility options and other perks

If there’s one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that flexible working works. In fact, millions of businesses worldwide were forced to work remotely overnight in 2020. Since then, the wheels kept on turning for the vast majority. If your top talent has embraced and even preferred working remotely, why fight against that?

Consider designing fully remote roles for your top talent if they request it, or even hybrid roles that allow employees to work from home three times a week and come into the office twice weekly. This will be particularly beneficial for those with young children to assist with childcare. After all, happy, contented staff are productive staff.

Some may even consider additional workplace perks like coffee machines, drinks fridges, and after-work socials activities. These types of low-cost, low-effort perks can really make a difference in putting smiles on faces and building team morale.

coffee machine making coffee
Image from Unsplash


Give staff the option to own equity in the business with a share options scheme

What better way to motivate your top talent than to financially incentivize them? With a share options scheme, your best employees can revel in the growth and success of the business.

Those who enroll in a share options scheme can buy shares at a later date for a price agreed today (typically much lower than they will be in the future). Employees will benefit from your company becoming more successful in the future. Hence, they will be motivated to work hard for success.

Think of it as your staff investing in themselves – and you – to succeed. There are two types of employee share option schemes. First, is an EMI share options scheme that’s considered the most tax-efficient option for employees on the payroll. Second, an unapproved option scheme. This is more suitable for businesses with a large percentage of contractors, consultants, and overseas employees on the payroll.

Whichever scheme you choose, there are companies out there that’ll make it quick and easy to launch and manage an option scheme. Companies like SeedLegals make it simple to set up and customize options schemes in an easy-to-use online platform for a flat, one-off fee.


Celebrate the positive contributions of staff to foster a positive workplace culture

Recognizing the achievements of your employees is a sure-fire way to build a productive, desirable workplace culture. This culture not only retains talent but attracts it too. Regular performance reviews and transparent frameworks help to build a powerful workplace culture with high-performing employees. Review frameworks help employees understand what they can do to be even better and how the company can help them grow, improve and make their job more enjoyable.

Many companies reward employees for great performance with awards, bonuses, and company-wide recognition. There are many ways to build a positive workplace culture. Build your work culture around community, support, and motivation. No small business owner can grow their company into an industry leader on their own. By motivating your employees to be productive and efficient, you can grow and achieve goals rapidly.