3 non-financial ways to retain your low-paid talented workforce

13th Sep 2016
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The issue of startup employees' salaries is a tricky one. While most entrepreneurs take minimal to no pay at all, they make sure that their employees get sufficient from the piggy bank. But there are times when an early stage or a bootstrapped startup may not be able to pay-out higher salaries, leading to increased employee turnover.

Finding talented employees is hard, but what’s even harder is seeing them leave for a better compensation opportunity, especially when you have spent your resources in helping them reach their full potential. So, what can you do to make them stay? Are there any additional, low-cost incentives and strategies that you can incorporate in your work culture to keep your employees motivated? Research shows that non-financial rewards are as effective and motivational as monetary benefits. If you’re not in a position to offer higher compensation or increase financial rewards, make sure that you work out intrinsic motivators that can add a sense of progress.

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Here's how you can retain talented employees without adding any burden to the recruitment budget.

Appreciate, respect and say “Thank you”

The first step is to make employees feel appreciated, respected and validated. Your employees not only want to be heard but want to know that their efforts are being noticed and not taken for granted. Show them gratitude for their contribution in making your entrepreneurial dream a reality. Beyond appreciation and praise, show your admiration for their contribution.

Research from the Wharton School of Business confirmed the power of gratitude and how it acts as a non-financial way to motivate and engage employees at all levels. To show gratitude, be specific in your gesture. For example, you could say something like “It has been a great week, and I’d like to thank all of you for putting in so much effort to make it happen,” or “We have managed to show a significant increase in the traction rate, and it wouldn't have been possible without you people.”

Also, do not wait for long to thank your employees. The more often you appreciate them and recognise their efforts, the more motivated they would feel and deliver better, regardless of the current payout.

Help them learn and enhance their skill set on the job

Another way to add subsequent value to your employees’ portfolio is to help them enhance their skill set on the job. Remember that your employees want to know that their skill sets are still relevant and helping them make a difference to the organisation. When leaders help foster the professional growth and development of their employees, the latter’s performance flourishes and, in turn, benefits the organisation in the long run. Create opportunities for them to take on new responsibilities outside their routine job. Encourage them to explore networking opportunities and performance development forums. A good way to do this is to organise webinars and training sessions once in a while to help your employees advance and grow in their respective fields.

Set an example to build credibility

Making your employees form a deep connection with the organisation is also a great way to make your talented workforce stay. Do not always focus on sales, profits and revenues when giving out instructions to your employees. Instead, explain to them why and how their contribution is going to impact the business positively, as well as help solve problems for the advancement of the organisation. Your employees want to know that the organisation is making every effort to expand operations in the coming time. If you can’t convince your employees about the progress of your company, how will you convince your investors? Make sure you keep your employees updated about achievements, regardless of whether they are big or small. Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know that the company is heading on to the right path.

Inspiring and motivating low-paid employees requires a leader who can see beyond the obvious. Motivation to perform optimally comes when employees feel that the company genuinely cares about them. Feel free to share some more techniques that you have used to incentivise low-paid workforce in your organisation.

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