Practical pointers on retaining top technology talent while scaling

A sustained ability to attract and retain top talent has always been a substantial competitive advantage. It decreases costs and increases velocities, so it makes sense. Turnover is often discussed as having a high cost, but the actual costs are hidden, which are not shown in the P&L statements. These include lowered productivity, overworking the remaining staff, and potential business losses. And let’s not forget the cost of recruiting, assessments, interviewing, and training new talent. When hiring is tight, a company’s ability to keep its talent has profound implications for its ability to operate at high levels without the disruptions that employee turnover brings. 

While companies are blitzscaling hiring due to the surge in venture capital funding, retention ensures that the bucket doesn’t leak. However, recent trends have been worrisome with a recent CNBC US Survey mentioning that 26% of workers are planning to leave their employers after the pandemic. A similar increase has not matched job growth in the number of technologists available to fill the positions. Understandably, technology teams have intensified their focus to retain employees in the face of ongoing talent shortages.

In the recent episode of Hiring Diaries, we asked Praveen about his approach to retaining top engineering or data science talent. Praveen is a seasoned talent leader with experience in leading talent at organizations including Flipkart, Ola, Bounce, Diageo, and now Meesho.

Mudit Srivastava, Host:

It’s worthless talk about hiring when we cannot retain our hires. It becomes even more challenging when we’re talking about hiring some of the best people like what Meesho does. So what do you think has worked? In your experience, is there something that a company can do to increase the retention numbers and metrics out there?

Praveen Nair, Guest Speaker, Meesho:

Yeah, I think I think it’s a very relevant question. And it is so because, like I was saying, you know, the whole aspect is finding the best possible talent. We at Meesho use a powerful word called Talent Density. We measure ourselves as to what that density is. What is the talent density that we can work along with? And this is a factor of the high-performing engineers you can hire and the high-performing engineers you can retain. So it’s a combination of those two, those two metrics. And the question correctly asked one part of it right, how do you retain high-performing engineers. 

Again, because there are multiple opportunities, everybody is working on the most advanced technologies. The differentiator you are left with is the story that you tie along. And that story is what you are trying to solve. How does it matter to you? And what is the impact that you’re making plays an important role here? 

For example, you will find that quite a few engineers love gaming, and therefore they associate with that part of their passion. Then they go and work for gaming companies, and then retaining such talent in the gaming companies becomes very material. The same thing, for example, in Meesho scheme of things, our value proposition to the engineers is the sort of Build Tech First for Bharat that you don’t regularly see, which is not just in the tier-one cities, but in tier two, tier three cities, and you talk about mom and pop stores, where you’re enabling people to list their products on a platform and bring it to consumers across the world. This sheer opportunity to work on an impactful social statement creates a high in these engineers. 

So, this I mean, this is one key anchor point that helps us retain engineers apart from this, I mean, you, but just being like a point does not allow you to retain. You, of course, have also to be there as far as benchmark practices like having some best benchmark practices. You give them the right benefits, and you respect them; you give them their due when they want, like.

For example, in Meesho, we were inclusive and empathetic during the COVID times. We enabled our employees to take no questions asked to leave at that point. Even if they were suffering from COVID or were caregivers to other people in their family and others. We allowed time without even questioning them on what basis they were taking this legal stuff. Plus the fact that we were there to cover the back in terms of their financial assistance, giving them all sorts of supports, we created certain specific partnerships, strategic partnerships with hospitals to be able to take care of their loved ones, when it was becoming difficult to find hospital beds and all that. So this is one part. I mean, I’m saying not just your company’s purpose and story, but also collecting the people at that level where a person feels valued as a human being. Then, creating that right opportunity for the employee helps you retain people.

Mudit Srivastava, Host:

Regarding benefits, our live viewer Karan has asked one short question that I’d like to pick your brains about: do you think that ESOPs are a differentiating factor in terms of retaining talent? It’s a specific question, but what do you think about this?

Praveen Nair, Guest Speaker, Meesho:

We are steadfast believers and perpetrators of the fact that employees are firm partners in growth, and therefore, they hold quite a bit of equity in the company. I mean, this company is five years old. And in the last five years, there are very few startups that have offered the opportunity for people to liquidate their stocks. So we’ve repeatedly repurchased stocks from the employee to give them financial independence whenever they wanted to use that wealth; we believe in offering supplies. And this matters in terms of retaining talent. Most employees at Meesho get a stock option today. And, you know, we also avail them to commute some part of the CTC to become stock. So this is a unique proposition that many companies have thought about, and we should have been having trouble getting that we have we open not just one.

Still, we open multiple windows for employees to offer their stocks back and take cash value for that. So a stock option is, again, not just like a benefit of it, it is more of a way of telling the employee that hey, you know, we value the work that you do for our company, and therefore, we remain invested in you. And so you stay invested back in us. So it transcends beyond just the point that it’s a money-making instrument altogether. Of course, it is money-making and not to have to point out that Meesho’s stocks, for example, for employees, have grown beyond 10x In a brief period in about 10-12 months, or maybe a little more than that. So, of course, it is an excellent opportunity for you to create wealth, but it is also an opportunity to remain invested in a company and be a part of its growth. And therefore, you know, you continue to be a part of that journey of the company as it grows as.

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This is an excerpt from a recent episode of Hiring Diaries with Praveen from Meesho. You can view the entire episode on-demand as it covers several other topics, including:

  • The best practices for optimizing hiring funnels at scale.
  • Culture-first tech hiring in a time of skewed supply-demand.
  • Practical Pointers on retaining top technology talent.
  • Surging recruitment with the right technology stack
  • Forging the right partnerships at high velocities
  • Preparing for hiring sprees at growth-stage startups 
  • And more.

To view it now, visit here –

More about and Hiring Diaries helps you deliver better experiences for end-to-end technical assessments at scale. This is meant to improve hiring and retention metrics for growth-stage companies. On, you can conduct employee engagement initiatives and you can hire tech talent through coding assessments, AI challenges, take-home assignments, 1-on-1 interviews, and much more. All of this is offered in a highly condensed and simplified manner. From early-stage startups to Fortune 500 companies such as Cisco, Alibaba, and Capgemini, we have earned the trust of companies across all industries. Further also helps in creating gamified internal employee engagements as a means for internal hiring and retaining top technology talent.

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