What keeps early team members not just onboard, but engaged?

By John Gentry, Vice President of Marketing and Alliances –

When we first got Virtual Instruments off the ground, we had lofty goals. We looked at this concept of infrastructure performance management (IPM) and knew there was a need for a solution and technology that helped IT workers across industries solve their complex data center problems. That was some time ago, but we were right that companies need our platform. That recognition has helped us maintain a steady upward trajectory, and some of our earliest hires are among the biggest reasons for our success.

Keeping original employees during times of rapid growth is a problem for many companies. Perhaps those individuals are looking for a new challenge or their success has made them attractive candidates for larger organizations. “Early in, early out” is a phrase executives across industries know for a reason. There’s no reason founders can’t keep their teams intact, though. It takes some work and commitment, but it’s important to consider these three things to keep the most important team members right where they are.

Why did they want to work here?

Even the most qualified executive is hesitant to join a startup. Not a lot is certain, and it’s a lot for an entrepreneur to ask an established businessperson to take a chance on a new company. It happens, though, and it’s important to remember the reasons those executives took the risk in the first place. After a few months or years of success, the company changes, and it’s not easy to keep everyone that led to this progress in place. Remember the reasons initial hires wanted to work there, and it will help keep the company moving in the right direction and those same people leading the way.

Why did they choose this line of work?

Men and women often end up in their careers because their skillsets matched the responsibilities of the tasks at hand. To keep them even more specifically engaged with your business beyond the industry, make sure the role you define for them is highly in tune with their talents and ambitions. As the company changes, it’s inevitable to see parts of their jobs changing, as well, but keeping their responsibilities aligned with their abilities and goals will keep them challenged and interested in their work.

What will keep them motivated?

A man or woman who leaves a lucrative job at an established company to join a startup is likely ambitious, motivated and competitive. However, there were probably elements lacking in that original company that a smaller organization provided. Maybe there was a work/life balance or the ability to work more directly with end users and customers. Aside from money and other benefits, there are considerations that drew them in the first place. Figure out what those are, and then keep those employees satisfied and motived by maintaining those positive aspects of their job.

It’s inevitable that some important team members will choose to leave the company at different points in an organization’s evolution. No company’s retention record is perfect, but keeping the best team members in place can define long-term success. Keep these three points in mind to put yourself and your company on the right track.

Interested in joining our team? You’re in luck. Check out our careers page to find the right fit for you.