How do startups get the best out of their team? By harnessing their motivation

How do startups get the best out of their team? By harnessing their motivation

Unleashed from the shackles of institutionalised hierarchies, individuals in start-ups operate more freely, fluidly and dynamically, but, crucially, all linked by a common objective: growth.

In a world where the pace of change is fast and unrelenting, start-ups must devise a framework that gets the professional best out of their talent as quickly as possible to drive their growth. Here are a couple of tools that we know from our work at The Talent Stack pack a power punch.

Create a strong alliance using the PEARL model

Companies and individuals must co-create a framework that benefits both parties. From a company’s perspective that means kicking off with a string of PEARLs.

Productivity and success markers – Define clear goals, stating role responsibilities and accountabilities, establish timing milestones and outline what success means to both sides.

Engagement and well-being – Help your colleagues be well while they are at work. Co-create their ideal working patterns, so that they can sustain high energy, productivity and motivation.

Alignment and feedback – Establish an effective communication and feedback loop between the company and each individual. This should be frequent, direct and succinct, as close to real-time as possible, focused on ‘impact’ and positive in intent in order to maximise performance.

Reward and recognition – Find out how each individual likes to be rewarded and recognised for their work by asking them about what hard assets matter to them most and when and how they feel most valued and thanked.

Learning and development – Co-create a personalised skills acquisition and development plan with each individual, which satisfies personal career progression goals and also has tangible benefits for the company.

Map out the year in terms of performance milestones and feedback check-ins

With the trend for short tenures showing no sign of letting up and a strong likelihood that your top talent will quickly want to know “what’s next”, start-ups need their people to push their own boundaries within half a year. As such, companies should put themselves in the shoes of each individual and map out their projected progression, aiming for the following timeline:

Week 1 – Onboarding

Month 2 – Ramp it up

Month 3 – Get stuck in and deliver

Month 6 – Reach peak performance

Month 9– Stretch targets

You’ll also need to think about an individual’s year-journey and devise a plan to check-in, review performance, give and receive feedback, as well as track learning and development. At the heart of this plan is dialogue: it’s the most important contributor to progression and performance.

However, this only works if individuals know what they say will be taken on board and acted on. From the outset, companies should therefore sit down with new talent and discuss their PEARL and make clear that you aim to provide for it. Help them work out what matters to them most and then devise regular management interventions (in keeping with these drivers and your culture) to ensure you harness their motivations and get the best out of them.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are as simple as 1,2,3.

Number 1: Engaged, productive and motivated individuals will drive your company forward.

Number 2: You’ll be known for it. Your team will be proud to shout loudly; they’ll stay with you and other top talent will want to come and work for you, knowing the mutual advantages that will occur.

Number 3: Add the first two together and it’s a compound win: growth for all.