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Staff Retention: Why your best tech talent keeps leaving

Staff Retention: Why your best tech talent keeps leaving
11th January 2017 Amy
staff retention - exit sign

Staff Retention: Why your best tech talent keeps leaving

Staff retention is a big priority for any business, and can also be one of the greatest assets to your marketing strategy and on-going recruitment when staff who are happy, are successfully retained.

Not only is the process of hiring and retraining new staff; as well as delegating workloads; laborious and time consuming, it can also negatively impact on your remaining team members who can wind up feeling over-whelmed, over-worked and under-appreciated.

There will always be circumstances that cannot be prevented – such as someone who is a bad fit for the role, someone has to move away for personal reasons, or someone is offered an opportunity they cannot refuse.

However, there is a way to stop the rest from leaving your business.

Employers now need to not only consider how to make their staff happy in the present, but also in the future in order to make them want to stick around.

With that in mind, we’ve listed the top five reasons why your best tech talent keeps leaving.


1. Your staff can’t see a clear career path and are stagnating

Professionals like to feel that they are moving forward and progressing in their career, and the idea of doing the same thing for 20-40 years is not appealing to them.  If there is no career ladder or structure to allow individuals to progress, they will find this somewhere else.

In 2012, Jacquelyn Smith discussed this in her Forbes article “What Employers Need To Know About The Class of 2012”. The graduates she spoke with cited career advancement as the number one thing they were looking for, above anything else. Those graduates have now been in professional careers for five years, and they will certainly make up some of your workforce.

For any employee that is worth retaining, it is vitally important that they know how and where they are able to move forward within the business. Ask your team where they want to go in their careers – some of them may not know, but they will appreciate the question. Knowing what your employees want to achieve in five, ten and fifteen years as well as what skills they wish to refine and acquire is fundamental to assisting you in staff retention.

In 2015, LinkedIn surveyed more than 10,500 workers who had recently changed jobs and found that 59% had sought a better opportunity and a better career path. Only 54% took the new job for a better salary.


2. Lack of recognition / Impersonal recognition

Every member of your team, even the most selfless person, wants recognition for a job well done. It isn’t always about offering them a higher salary, a word of appreciation is free and goes a long way. In addition to financial reward, the role of feedback is something that should not be overlooked. By delaying, omitting or providing ambiguous feedback, the risk of the employee losing engagement increases. Showing a team member that they are valuable is paramount, and integral to staff retention.

In addition to this, not tailoring feedback to the individual is also a recipe for disaster. By offering rewards that are unique and personalised to the team member’s individual goal, they are unlikely to look elsewhere. Letting your team members know that their work is valued is key to retaining staff.


3. No connection to the big picture / Vague visions

It is fundamentally important to any technology business that the company vision, and each team members’ role to play within it, is clear. Talented people do not want to spend their working time supporting something that is undecided and vague. They prefer to utilise their skills towards a common goal, or creating something exciting.

The Q12 employee engagement survey by Gallup found that there was a direct correlation between how employees rated the following statement and employee retention. “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important”. By providing a sense of purpose to your team, you are more likely to retain them.


 4. Poor culture, unattractive culture or no culture!

Instant gratification has become the new normal for many people in the workforce due to the evolution of the internet and social media in line with mobile phone technology. What does that mean for your business? To attract and retain top talent, a company must provide a stimulating and engaging work environment as well as a positive and team-orientated company culture.

An excellent example of a company with a great culture is Best Buy. In 2003, their HR Managers began piloting a new approach – releasing employees from mandatory meetings, 9-to-5 scheduling and commuting time. The pilot was continued, and in 2006 Best Buy were included on Fortune’s list of America’s Most Admired Companies. By injecting some fun and flexibility into the work environment, Best Buy were able to make impressive changes to their company culture. Ten years on, it would be hoped that companies were now able to find creative and dynamic ways to keep employee engagement and retain staff.


5.Overworked and lacking empathy

Periods of high-stress and high-pressure are normal within most careers, and your employees becoming overwhelmed can also happen from time-to-time. However, periods of overworking that last a long duration can begin to have a negative impact on your workforce. It’s often the most successful members of your team – those that are most efficient, hard-working and most trusted that are overloaded the most. In this situation, it is critical that you take the time listen to your staff, and ensure that their well-being is your first priority. Your employees will respond better if they think their voice is heard, so take the time to listen. If you don’t, they may just find another role elsewhere.

Do you have another key reason why top tech talent leaves? Do you have a suggestion for how to retain them? Let us know!


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