To keep it simple, let's say you have an employee who is about to fully vest into getting 2% equity in your company. They're a critical part of your engineering team and you want to try to retain them without having to shell out more equity. Especially since the startup is not in its early stages anymore. How would you retain them in this situation?
First of all, kudos to both you and the employee for staying this long. It's very rare these days for someone to stay until all their equity is vested. I've seen some co-founders leave before that happens!
You have to ask yourself how valuable is this employee to the business for another 4 years?
Here are some things you can do to retain them:
Apart from my suggestions for that specific employee, here is a long list of low-cost benefits you can offer your entire team.