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How to keep your start-up team engaged

Well Connected

How to keep your start-up team engaged

A lot of Pioneers start as a team of one. And to run a start-up, you have to have a strong belief in what you’re doing.


123].JPGThe tricky bit comes along when you start to grow.

How can you teach your new employees your purpose, and how can you make sure they stick with you as you grow?


I asked Dale Smith, Director of Creation at Bridge Talks, what being engaged in a start-up actually means for those working in one. His immediate response was “engagement comes from an internal drive”.

Entrepreneurs are often engaged by working towards a purpose and a goal that is personal to them. Leslie Onyeso, founder of Kwanji, explained he launched his business because he felt that he couldn’t “not do it”.

The energy, passion and self-motivation needed to start up in the first place will fuel you to finish the job. So, as the company grows and more people come on board, how can you transfer these traits to the people that will join you in your entrepreneurial journey? How can you create a culture of engagement from the start that will ultimately benefit both your growth?

Scott Northcutt, Senior VP of HR at Bacardi Limited explained during a Bridge Talks event that people want:

  • A sense of belonging to something
  • To feel proud
  • To feel valued
  • To be able to contribute

So how do you create engagement with your new team members?

Look at it like this. Developing employee engagement is a very similar process to launching a new product. You need to know what your customers buy and what will keep them buying in the future.

So what do your employees want?


The advantage for entrepreneurs is that you can think about this whilst you are still creating and growing your business. If you start by treating any new recruits as your internal customers, then this is your starting point:

  • Keep communication high and stay transparent
  • Have a clear sense of purpose
  • Give open and honest feedback
  • Give clear objectives and goals to achieve
  • Make them feel part of a unified group

As Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup said: “To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.”


If you’re able to create a start-up environment, brand and culture that is exciting to work for, your people will be able to embrace the start-up journey with you, because the more passionate you are about your business, the more passionate your team will be too.