StartupPain: Why did your best Employee LEAVE You?

Ever since I started up, building a healthy work environment has always taken the driver’s seat, be it for the good of the workplace or productivity of the team. We never faced a problem in highs and lows as the team always stuck together and worked towards the vision of the company. As the days passed, we had more stories to tell, more parties to hit, even more challenges to solve at work and adventure became our daily dose. With everything set right (most of them, we suffered a loss of a few best ones bidding goodbye! From my own experiences, apart from any kind of failure in ensuring the most favorable and interesting work environment, there could be several reasons behind your stellar performers leaving you. I have tried to explain a few interesting ones here.

Why did your best Employee LEAVE You?
This is not a question every founder may like to ask her/himself, as we do not like to believe it the way I’ve phrased it. We would never let the best ones go! We would want them to stay and grow with the company, become an intricate part of the product/ services that we’re offering and what not!! Here comes the mind jolting truth!

Your employee wants to grow faster than you!
It’s not a strong statement just for the sake of making one, but yes! Your employee wants to grow faster than you. So if you’re not outpacing the amount of learning you can provide to her/him, she/he will certainly outpace you in in this pipeline of learning and look for more or better.

Everyone has a Startup Fever
Startup Fever is catching up so fast in the world at the moment and with abundant sources to learn and implement, get motivated, plan and execute, starting up a business is becoming easier and moreover fashionable. If you fail to give your best employee a feeling of ownership, the motivation is gonna soon sprout out as a denominator.

Challenges have turned into liability
Now this one is a little tricky to explain but needs to be addressed. We as startups boast about the challenging environment and the kind of marathons we have to run in problem solving, but beware! Are you expecting more than even the little extra mile your best employee is looking to run for the company? Is this the situation that you think is a great learning opportunity but in reality scaring your employee and pressurizing her/him? You need to know your best employee well and judge where to pull back and give’em a chill.

Poachers in the Park
Oh Yes! Your best employee, your asset, your stellar team member is certainly making noise and becoming a part recruiter’s target over the next block. Star recruiters have become no less than Human Resource poachers and they would not leave an effort undone to lure your best employee to join their band wagon. Be it better perks, better work environment, or better X, Y, Z. She/He is gone the day your touch fades.

Have you become too busy?
Remember!! Your best employee believed in your vision, your idea and your conviction. That’s what she/he looked in your eyes and behavior at work and ignited the flame in them to be who they are now in your team! If you are getting too busy handling the processes and have forgotten those daily/weekly chats or improvement sessions, you are walking towards the cliff. As the level of communication drops day after day, your best employee stops to feel special like before and the negativity may trigger anytime.

Financial Crunches in your company
It’s pretty much obvious for many to feel this reason to be at the top, but I have kept it towards the end as of my personal experiences in my startup have narrated a different story all together. Though your best employee understands the nature of risk involved in a startup and uncertainties of financial arrangements and cash flows at certain times, but hanging around too long with a determined but blank face would certainly lead to the unwanted. This is where none of you (you and your star performer) would have anything to expect or explain.

Peer Pressure
Peer Pressure is another reasons, one of the long lists that you cannot control. Only thing you could do is make your product smarter, workplace coolers and timings flexible. In a country like ours (India), it’s harder for your employee more than you to explain to her/his parents about what a startup is and what is the meaning of chasing a vision. The ignominy of not having a brand name on your resume haunts a professional equally as lack of validation in the society hurts a founder.

Though, there are far more reasons but a good level of communication, happy work environment and continuous feel good factor eradicates most your best employee might leave you for. While running a startup, one needs to juggle and take care of multiple things at a time. At any cost or point of time, do not take your team’s effort for granted. Expect them to understand your vision and enthusiasm, do not let the pressure you’re handling seep into the team and impact the thought process of your team members. Be the wall with a face and a head you need to be. I’d love to hear your thoughts from any point of view,(employee’s or employer’s) or your experiences that might improve my learning on the subject.

First Published here:

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