Startups are small, have low budgets, maintain a small office, market with little or no budget but want to attract the top talent and keep them working to grow their businesses. They want the smartest people in the room but don’t have huge budgets to keep them motivated. Big companies offer the best benefits to smart hires to keep them for a long time.
Well there are fun things you can do in your small business to keep your employees happy too. Give them the absolute best tools and environment to do their job and they will deliver and stay happy.
Most of these ideas apply to startups with few employees. But if you can and have the resources for it, make your employees happy . Since job security is not always possible in a startup, create a plan to offer something that can create a great culture that rewards effort.
Some kind of flexibility wont hurt your business. Instead of being so strict on the time they have to be at work and how long they stay out of work, you should be worried about what needs to be done and when it needs to be ready. Make sure you get what you need to get done from the few employees you have. It’s about speed and how fast you can go to market, not how fast your employees get to work or how late they stay in the office.
Offer them a reason to stay. Give them shares or performance related benefits and they are more likely to want the business to succeed. Most startup offer equity to early employees when they can’t and know they can’t pay them. That way you are in it together to loose or gain. In most cases they will do their best to succeed.
There are just a few of you, make room for a snack budget - a few hundred bucks can buy a lot of snacks or fruits for the office kitchen. They will appreciate the effort the business is putting into their welfare. And they will give back freely and passionately.
How about breakroom games. Your startup can provide the employees with a pool table, xBox’s, ping pongs and pinball machines. (you can set to some of the machines free and others at a fee, with the proceeds going to the company’s designated charity)
Employees should have fun when they have to and work hard to go to market faster. They an open mind to stay productive. If you have the space for it, invest in a pool table. You will be surprised at what can go right for your business when people are happy at work.
You could pay for an athletic club membership. 50% payment provides the proper incentive for those who actually exercise. Many employees may never follow through with 100% commitment from the business and you could loose money. So commit 50% and let them take care of the other half to stay fit.
You can also provide training reimbursement for work-related materials, resources, apps, books, etc. that employees purchase to enhance their work.
Forget traditional rules. Create your culture that works best for your employees. You can study other startups that have created their own cultures and copy what particularly works for you. No hard and fast rules on telecommuting or work hours. Create a system that focus on delivery instead of the process of delivery. If people want to telecommute, they can coordinate with team members to be sure the work gets done.
Encourage creativity. Set aside a day to allow your programmers or creative designers to work on personal (related) projects. This idea may not necessarily add any value to the startup and could instead acts as a distraction, but some projects could be highly related to your current business.
Library - Stocked with a lot of interesting programming and business books, as well as some other light reading materials.
Birthday celebrations – The balance comes in the amount of people at the company, but cake always works.
Create a startup culture with help from employees
- it shows your trust in people
- it lets everybody help make the workplace great
- it shows people you care about what they want
Just make your office like a house.
Put a fridge (fill it in with foods too if possible), a tv, a couch, a bed (just in case they get stressed and need to take a nap), or even a laundry machine. That actually can make people stay and work better at the office because they are feeling comfortable at the office. Make an office their second home.
Sponsor a team to event. A team could attend relevant events in the interest of the company to meet prospective customers or just network with others.