The replacement of a highly talented employee is reckoned to cost around 200% of their annual salary. Just think of all the ways you’re forced to spend money when employee leaves — budget for hiring a new employee, onboarding expenses, investments in training, and the list goes on.

Thus, building a stable, dedicated, team with high morale is an integral part of successfully making the transition from startup to scale up. This article contains our tried-and-tested advice on how to keep teams at your base location, as well as remote software development teams, motivated, and happy.

Build trust by promoting transparency

Mature corporations already have identifiable brands, and so candidates will send their resume in for a job opportunity because of various factors, including brand recognition. However, if you're at the beginning of your journey from startup to scale up, it will take considerably more effort to build trust in your brand.

Of course advertising and business awareness are crucial, but there’s something else, too. It’s important to start from the inside. If your employees are passionate about your startup and enjoy working on developing your idea, other professionals will soon also want to work at your company. Your own people are your best word-of-mouth marketing - so make them happy.

How do you do this? Fostering transparency is a great start. In order to do this, there are a few steps you need to take.

Establish efficient communication

While scaling, your business will undergo continuous change. So it's important to make sure that each employee gets all the necessary information that may concern them. It's also crucial to provide employees with detailed answers to any reasonable questions.

Make sure you have a general team meeting at least once a month, ideally once a week, where you inform employees of the current business situation. Also, provide your employees with the opportunity to talk about their accomplishments, challenges they face, and any suggestions they may have. People feel more valued when they are asked their advice.

People generally appreciate being asked their opinion (photo: Base B)

Be honest and encourage honesty in return

Don't hide good or bad news — it’s better to share it and ask your employees to air any concerns. This is within reason, of course; there are some matters that you, as a manager, have to keep employees insulated from, at least in the short term, but as long as it is something you are able to share, your staff may have solutions. Also, make sure employees feel free to be open with their views.

Listen to your employees and solve their concerns efficiently

Make sure you have a clear organizational structure and each new employee is kept up-to-date on their place within that structure. This way, each worker will know who is the right person to report to and to speak to on professional matters.

Organize teambuilding events regularly

You're building your business with people, not hands for hire. Your employees need to feel comfortable working in their team, but also with those with whom they may not share daily chats around the coffee machine.

Be sure that your people get out of the office every so often. The change of environment can make employees more comfortable around each other, can encourage new ideas and new approaches to old business problems, and can freshen up a team that may have just been in the middle of a crunch.

This applies just as much to a remote software development team - and if you have one with Base B, we can help you formulate teambuilding events where the team is based.

Encourage work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance ensures your employees have time for both personal and professional life, which will help them stay motivated and simultaneously keep your team's morale high throughout the move from startup to scale up.

You can't crunch all the time - work-life balance is key (photo: Base B)

To ensure your employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance, take care of the following.

Enable workers to manage their own schedules

If employees have the opportunity to choose when to start their workday when they can have a break, and when they can work extra hours on their projects, they will feel trusted and relied-upon, and their productivity will take a turn for the better as a consequence.

Of course if anyone exploits this flexibility - either in terms of soft-pedalling on a project or by overworking and causing burnout, both of these situations need careful management, but in the main, employees who are trusted, exhibit trustworthiness in return.

Make your office as comfortable as possible

Accommodate employees according to their needs. To make this possible, you may wish to pass a survey to your teams. Some employees may be having trouble taking their kids to kindergarten — if so, daycare at your office is an option.

Others may be having problems with concentration — for these people, a quiet space in the office where employees can regain their focus, perhaps a ‘phone booth’, might work well.

Maybe some employees are skipping on their exercise due to work and family commitments. You can’t force anyone to exercise if they don’t want to, but you can give people the option.

Base B hubs feature a gym and other leisure facilities to make sure that staff have a place where they can let off steam before or after a day at their workstation.

Think about your benefits package

A modern benefits package goes beyond a fair salary, so at a minimum, make sure it includes a sufficient number of days off, perhaps an additional vacation allowance if you wish, and any additional extras that you feel would be motivating to your teams, whether they are in the same office as you, or they are a remote engineering team.

Invest in high-quality onboarding and ongoing HR support

Organizations with strong onboarding programs are far less likely to experience high employee turnover. It's important to provide your employees with everything necessary for a comfortable working process.

Here's an onboarding checklist that will help you, and your hiring manager, organize the process throughout that change from startup to scale up:

In short, do everything to ensure new employees gel with your working environment smoothly. Even after onboarding, make sure HR services and strategies cover the main potential risks of employee demotivation by:

  • Organizing team buildings
  • Regularly reviewing salaries
  • Promoting learning among employees and desire to teach other employees
  • Building an employee promotion plan and sharing feedback consistently
  • Encouraging people to use their own initiative if it benefits company objectives
  • Providing a competitive benefits package

Onboarding for a remote software development team

If you have a remote software development team, don't ignore the onboarding process. Try to make the early months of a team’s work as organized as possible.

In addition, you are always welcome to visit your remote developers at Base B hubs, and also to invite them to come to your base location. This will help build their morale and motivation to work on your business transition from startup to scale up.

While considering remote collaboration, be sure to use the services of an expert such as the people at Base B, who can guide you through all the necessary processes with ease.

The key takeout

Currently, the world of work is constantly changing, which means companies have to keep up to speed with the latest trends.

What we know for sure is that a competitive salary or any other factor alone isn't enough to keep employee morale high while moving from startup to scale up.

It's a whole mix of factors that ensure successful retention and high morale among your team members.

Trust, transparency, and flexibility are the qualities which candidates expect to see at their ideal workplace. Be it a local team in your base location, or a remote software development team, you have to promote openness, foster a good work-life balance, and invest in onboarding and HR support.

Do this, and you’ll have a high-performing team, wherever they’re based.

Scaling up your business? Talk to us.