Startup Employee Motivation  

Startup Employee Motivation- The need and how to do it?

The CEO of a  startup company has to play the role of HR till he can afford to have functional heads. Had the startup entrepreneur been a corporate executive earlier, his experience may not entirely help in motivating employees.

 Is there a difference in approach to employee motivation between a startup CEO and that of a large company CEO? A large organization can afford to have a few employees who are not on board. An autocratic CEO can still deliver results based on well-established systems and processes. The reality of corporate world is that the longevity of CEO is limited.

“Whether startups should devote precious time and money to staff training (yes, because one of the main reasons great people leave jobs is that they feel they are not learning anything.)-Ben Horowitz

 Startup Employee Motivation -How To Keep Employees Motivated In A Startup Culture-Jackie Edwards

The Need

Keeping employees motivated not only makes them happy, but it also keeps your bottom line healthy . A motivated employee is an efficient employee, and you need as many of those as you can get to stay competitive in today’s markets. 


Startup Culture has proven to be different than that of older corporations, and the techniques used to motivate startup employees are just as diverse. Here are a few ways you can make sure the workers at your startup are driven to work with their peers at peak efficiency.

 Startup Employee Motivation -Four Ways to Motivate Start-up Employees-Howard Greenstein    

Keeping motivation high in a start-up is important everyday, but it's especially crucial during crunch-time.

Start-ups are often a risk-reward scenario, and by taking a job at one, employees are aware that there's less of a safety net, support system, and back stop. As an owner, manager, or teammate, you may have to do whatever is needed to succeed. But you can't do it alone. So keep that excitement high even when things aren't going well, and remember that motivated employees are going to turn around and go to bat for your and the company when you need them the most.

 Startup Employee Motivation -10 Actions That Will Kill Startup Employee Motivation-Samuel Athlan

Your people are the key to your success—Here is how to avoid killing their motivation. 

The main conclusion of this post is to value people you convinced to join you and the common links of all the previous points are trust, goodwill and respect.

Indeed, if you trust people you hired, this will translate through into great employee motivation.

Sure, they can fail time to time, like yourself and everyone else, but they will do whatever they can to succeed.

Remember: they made a choice to wake up every morning to pursue your dream, to grow your company.

These people are key to your success.

  Startup Employee Motivation -Employee  Motivation-Pitfalls to be avoided

1.    Employees involvement in decision making

A CEO of a large organization launched a massive expansion program in one  of the factories. A project team was formed with the GM of the factory as a coordinator to finalize the specifications for equipments, installation and commissioning of the project.

The project team recommended purchase of  equipments considering the current performance of existing equipments.

The factory head was shocked to find that orders for one of the crucial sections was placed on a foreign vendor. This particular vendor’s equipment has not been working satisfactorily and had always resulted in poor quality. It was 20% cheaper than similar equipments from reputed manufacturers. Over a three-year period ,the extra cost could have been recovered, due to higher yields.

 When this was discussed with the CEO  he replied  as the  capital was short he could not accept the recommendations. He retorted, that at his level, he had to take ‘a helicopter view’

The equipment gave poor quality products and the market acceptance from that factory suffered, eroding the brand value.

 A startup entrepreneur is a lifetime CEO.As such, he should not emulate the CEO under reference but listen to his employees’ 

2.Honesty & Integrity

Employees look up  to the startup CEO, as a role model. He has to walk the talk.

A CEO of a large organization, with operations spread across the country had functional heads reporting to him,  The team at HO of HR & Internal audit  got information, from anonymous sources, on short receipt of materials at factory stores and the factory placing orders at a huge cost for routine jobs like maintenance and other services. This was  brought to the attention of CEO. Instead of taking action, the CEO lost his cool. He asked an irrelevant question if he sacks the Manufacturing Head would these two could  run manufacturing and manage unions. Finally, when things went beyond control he had to sack the head of  manufacturing.. 

The CEO of a startup has to set high ethical standards and any information on integrity should not be pushed under the carpet.

3.   Preparing future leaders

A Director ,Manufacturing Operations, had five factory heads across the country reporting to him. One of the factory heads brought to his attention the conflict of interest issue of the local IR& Personnel head supplying materials to the factory canteen. He asked a few questions and after satisfying himself he instructed the IR head  to be fired  immediately. 

The factory head, who had never sacked anyone, requested the Director’s presence at the factory. The Director agreed on the condition that he would only be a silent spectator. According to him if the factory head had aspirations to grow, he had to take tough decisions on his own. 

 This incident gave confidence to the factory head  who eventually went up the corporate ladder. 

 Startup Employee Motivation- Conclusion

Get personal and take into account the human element  and this approach can get your employees motivated and lead you to success. 

A startup CEO needs to encourage, motivate and build trust in his employees.

Startup entrepreneurs should give autonomy to employees if they want to grow leadership pipeline. This will help the startup CEO to focus on future growth and strategic issues that cannot be delegated.