Turnover in a Startup: the Revolut Case

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Turnover in tech is notoriously high at around 13%. It’s even worse in startups, where normal turnover can mean double that rate and high turnover exceeds even that staggering figure. Those are the kinds of numbers that can leave a founder in a cold sweat at night.

While not everyone sees turnover as inherently bad, it often means losing high-performing employees that prove difficult to replace. If you’re unhappy with the current turnover rate in your startup, keep reading. We’ll offer several tactics and strategies that you can deploy that can help stem the tide of lost talent. 

Build a Culture of Recognition

A lot of companies talk about recognizing their employees and understanding the importance of recognition. Yet, a lack of recognition is an oft-cited reason for poor employee satisfaction.

You must build a culture of recognition. What does a culture of recognition mean exactly? What are best practices in a culture of recognition?

A culture of recognition is one that bakes recognition into the everyday activities of the business. Founders recognize excellent work on projects, while supervisors and peers recognize teams and individuals.

It also means enabling recognition with options for nominating people for recognition and even empowering supervisors to hand out rewards. You should set reasonable limits on the cost of rewards, but not so strict that the rewards feel like a joke.

Get Your Values Figured Out

Startups struggle a lot with values because the entire business structure is often in flux after the first or fourth pivot. If you move from a B2B model to a B2C model, that can upend your initial values. That doesn’t make it impossible, as some values transcend any given business model.

For example, you can make one of your values consistent excellence or constant improvement. You can make one of your values service-oriented, such as doing good in your community. A clear set of values helps you attract and keep the right kind of employees.

Development Opportunities

A startup company enjoys a unique opportunity for offering development opportunities. In big companies, strictly defined roles often limit development. For example, a graphic artist can get training on a new design program, but can’t get help paying for marketing classes.

Giving employees a chance to stretch beyond their job title and providing tangible support for that expansion can keep employees engaged. Engaged employees stick around for longer than employees who feel stuck in their current position.

Limiting Turnover at Your Startup

Nothing will stop turnover at your startup. The startup environment often proves too stressful or takes people too far outside their comfort zone. Yet, you can limit the turnover at your startup with some basic employee benefits, clear values, and some recognition.

Benefits like subsidizing education for role expansion can keep employees invested and engaged. Clear values can help people connect emotionally with your business and mission. Recognition is a baseline task you must embrace for maintaining employee satisfaction.

Struggling less with turnover than you are with recruitment? Check out our post on startup recruitment for some tips.

The Revolut Case

Revolut is the fintech darling known for its impressive growth, but also notorious for being a terrible employer, and a perfect example a company perpetuating toxic startup culture.

Why is there such high turnover at Revolut?

Elena was asked to pick between two documents: one said she was being terminated for underperformance, the other, a “mutual agreement”, offered her a small severance and stated she was choosing to leave the company of her own accord.

Emiliano Melino, WIRED UK

When it’s clear your employees are just a number to you, and their wellbeing does not compute into your plans at all, you get Revolut.

Get $h!t done may seem like the perfect motto for a quickly growing unicorn, but the human cost that this ruthless approach has is undeniable. Is it worth it to work at a company like this? Is extremely high turnover always a bad sign? or is pain necessary for growth, as CEO Storonsky says?

When looking at Revolut’s job openings, once gets the same sense: a company with unrealistic expectations of its employees, exhibiting absolutely no interest in the person they’re hiring at all, beyond making sure they fit a ridiculous set of requirements.

No wonder they have such high turnover!

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