Culture Startups Workplace

3 Tips To Improve Team Building And Employee Engagement In Your Startup

Illustration of startup workers.

By Alex Axelrod

Recruiting the right team is the first step in ensuring any startup’s success. As a founder, it’s essential that you attract and retain top talent for long-term prosperity. However, that is easier said than done. Nearly half of all startups globally face difficulties finding qualified talent, and recruitment can be time-consuming and complex.

Here’s my take on what key considerations entrepreneurs should keep in mind when building a quality team.

Essential qualities to seek

In order to ensure the success of a startup venture, you need a team that possesses a diverse array of qualities, ranging from technical prowess to industry insight and creativity.

Alex Axelrod, founder and CEO Uluky
Alex Axelrod, founder and CEO Uluky

Everyone should be able to bring their own unique skills and viewpoints, contributing to the overall progress and innovation of the project. Developers drive software innovation, financial and legal experts navigate market intricacies, PR professionals shape brand messaging, and so on.

However, taking a step beyond individual expertise, having a shared vision is the truly paramount aspect.

It’s the glue that holds everything together. Members of your team should share a passion for creating something impactful that satisfies market needs. This shared enthusiasm fosters collaboration and resilience, essential for overcoming challenges inherent in any startup journey.

When everyone is committed to delivering real value to customers, it cultivates a culture of excellence in the company, opening doors for long-term growth.

Acquisition vs. budgetary constraints

When a startup is just getting off the ground, founders often find themselves constricted in terms of financial resources. Prioritizing recruitment expenses is, in my opinion, the right move to make here. The core team of developers is the cornerstone of driving the company’s initiatives forward, so they should be your main focus.

If you need to cut costs, relying on part-time freelance workers could be an option. However, as the founder, this places significant responsibility on you. It necessitates maintaining direct control and overseeing the processes across multiple departments at the same time. It’s a heavy burden to bear, and you need to give it proper consideration before deciding whether going down this road is worth it.

Personally, I would argue that securing individuals capable of consistently delivering high-quality results is more important than slimming down your expenses when you have that option available. Especially since it gives you the chance to focus on the more strategic aspects of managing your venture.

Employee engagement and satisfaction

I previously highlighted the importance of finding team members who share a genuine passion for their work. To further emphasize this point, creating an environment where that passion can be nurtured is crucial if you want to maintain their commitment to your team.

While founders may be willing to make personal sacrifices for their projects, it’s unrealistic to expect the same level of sacrifice from employees. For founders, the success of the company often hinges on its financial prosperity, leading them to take risks or endure stringent working conditions for growth. However, this expectation cannot be extended to all team members. They have different priorities, and it’s essential to acknowledge and respect that.

To foster a committed team, do not neglect their comfort and well-being. I recommend implementing transparent evaluation criteria and a reward system that gives employees a clear understanding of their value and contributions.

This can help create a positive work environment where workers feel supported and know their efforts mean something. By ensuring both material and emotional satisfaction in the workplace, founders can cultivate loyalty and motivation, driving success.

Alex Axelrod is founder and CEO of international payment platform Uluky and a serial tech entrepreneur who has led startups to successful exits. He has more than 12 years of experience in IT and fintech as well as extensive expertise in engineering, cybersecurity and software development.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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