How to Engage and Motivate Mid-level Talent
Teagan O’Donovan, April 27th 2022

There’s lots in place to attract and motivate junior talent. And startup founders understand the need to bring in senior talent to their team. But mid-level candidates are often left jumping from job to job, slowly climbing the career ladder with less direction.

What’s driving mid-level candidates to leave?

Low salary, poor communication, lack of career progression opportunities and poor company culture are just a few reasons that mid-level candidates cite for leaving their jobs.

Job hopping has been a pandemic of its own over the last few years.

But if you provide the right tools for success now, your mid-level talent will grow with your business and become ambassadors for your brand as you scale.

So how can you nurture your mid-level talent?


It might not be the most important factor when it comes to staying in a role, but salary does have a large part to play.

The cost of living is rising, and the average salaries aren’t rising to meet them. If you’re not having conversations around salary with your mid-level employees, then they’re going to look elsewhere.

And if you’re interviewing potential mid-level employees and you’re not at the stage where you can put a high number on the table, discuss other benefits that you can offer.

Our retention report found that salary isn’t the be all and end all, but unless you’re offering someone the role of their dreams, they’re going to be hesitant to take a salary cut.

Be proactive not reactive in your attitude towards salary- but don’t rely on a last-minute counteroffer to keep your team members from moving on.

Flexible working arrangements that work

Flexible working might’ve been a pipe dream pre-pandemic, but it’s now a reality for millions of working people.

People like the freedom that comes hand-in-hand with flexible working. If you’re bouncing back to pre-covid structures, then expect a hit to your retention levels.

You might be reluctant to say goodbye to the office culture you’ve carefully cultivated, but if your employees can’t find the freedom they want at your company, they’ll be welcomed with open arms elsewhere.

And in today’s market, it’s a struggle to get tech candidates invested in a company that requires 5 days in the office.

Opening your mind to the possibilities of flexible working will open doors for your company.

Map out progression routes for your mid-level employees

At this stage in your startup, you might not have a clear view of what roles will be needed or when.

But don’t let this hold you back from having these conversations with your team. Find out what drives your mid-level employees, where they want to go and the steps they need to take to get there. People are drawn to the non-traditional career routes that startups offer, but it’s not a great fit for everyone.

The best time to have these conversations was at the start of your journey. The second-best time is now.

Inevitably you won’t be able to cater to everyone’s plans, but make sure you’re all pulling in the right direction.

Give your team the tools and time to learn

Upskilling has become a bit of a buzzword, and for good reason.

Give your mid-level employees the opportunity to learn new skills, and the confidence to learn.

People value jobs that give them the means and the room to grow. And when you’re interviewing, make sure conversations about learning come into play.

Mid-level candidates are coming to you with experience, you don’t need to start from scratch. You can provide them with the time and space to grow in their roles and flourish into senior-level talent.

What have you got in place to keep mid-level employees?

Take a look at your business. What do you have in place to keep hold of your mid-level employees?

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Set goals with your team that align with your business
  • Look at salary- set salary reviews in the diary- don’t wait for your employees to receive a higher offer before pulling a counter offer out the bag
  • Set dates in the diary for regular 121 reviews with your mid-level employees- build a culture of trust where everyone feels their voice is heard
  • Put opportunities to upskill in place- upskilling isn’t just for junior talent!
  • Hire for culture- people stay in their jobs because of people- get your hires right and you’ll see your retention levels boom
  • Have a clear company org. chart and arrange personal development plans with all your team members to help them set long-term and short-term goals that align with the company
  • Focus on employee wellbeing- what initiatives do you have in place? Give your team the freedom to decide what wellbeing looks like to them
  • Focus on your employer brand to attract talent, and don’t push them away with your hiring process

You’re never going to hold on to all of your people. But putting strong support systems in place and being open and honest about opportunities for the future will help you to attract new mid-level talent and retain and motivate your existing mid-level team members.

Mid-level people don’t stay mid-level forever. Nurture your talent now and lay the strong foundations of success for your startup.

If you’re struggling to attract and hire mid-level talent, check out our Talent Guide for Founders- addressing the biggest hiring mistakes and how to fix them.





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