The rate at which technology is spreading into almost every industry – particularly over the past year – has brought with it fierce competition for top tech talent. In today’s economy, if skilled tech pros are not satisfied with their current places of work, there are plenty of other options out there.
It is vital for leaders to understand not only what tech professionals value in the workplace but also what frustrates them. This is important if they want to keep on board the tech team they have worked so hard to recruit. Below, 15 members of the Forbes Technology Council shed some light on policies and practices that lead to high turnover among a tech team.
Members of Forbes Technology Council share the policies and practices that can lead to discontent among your tech team members.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS.
1. Enabling a Poor Company Culture
Poor culture drives high employee turnover. Overloading employees, not providing professional development opportunities and enforcing rigid work structures; all of these drive down retention. While we cannot protect employees from attractive opportunities and aggressive recruiters, we can invest in developing a positive culture to combat the lure of a new job. – Hanno Ekdahl, Idenhaus Consulting, LLC.
2. Not Engaging In Two-Way Communication
The key to retention is providing opportunities for growth, and a lot of that comes from understanding how the business scale affects the growth of individuals at every level. This requires an emphasis on layered communications and interactions to enable everyone to understand how they could influence the overall business and their career as a result of the business’ success. – Pratik Bhadra, Bluecore.
3. Maintaining Siloed Management and Departments
When companies are siloed, employees do not see the big picture. They do not see how they influence company results. Silos also lead to a collapse in communication, which may lead to frustration, rework, missed deadlines and more. These effects leave employees less than proud of their employer, which in turn encourages them to move on. – Carolyn Jenkins, EPSoft Technologies.
4. Not Leading In a Way That’s Consistent With Stated Values
People accept an offer because they like the company, but they leave because they eventually don’t trust their managers. Companies have gotten really good at publishing feel-good company values statements. Unfortunately, the words that we speak and write don’t matter. Employees trust management when their words align with their actions. How we act defines who we are as leaders. – Kathy Keating, TextUs.
5. Treating Skilled Individuals as Commodities Rather Than People
Within cybersecurity, there has been 0% unemployment for over a decade, and the economics of supply and demand is driving salaries north. If organizations do not invest in their staff through learning, development and staff welfare – creating a positive culture – then finding a job elsewhere is easy and often financially beneficial. – Mark Brown, British Standards Institution (BSI).
6. Not Showing How Tech Staff Can Grow
The major reason for high turnover among tech talents is the absence of tech leadership and clarity of vision around technology-led business makeover and upskilling/reskilling plans for tech talent. A closed-door culture and the practice of pushing teams to work long hours without showing them a growth path, the opportunity to transition to new roles and investment in their learning plan is not going to work. – Gaurav Aggarwal, Avanade Inc.
7. Lacking a Compelling Vision
In addition to being a tech executive, I have the privilege of being a senior officer in the U.S. military, where turnover is very low even when members make a lot less money. A compelling vision, a clear mission and a sense of working for a greater cause – beyond profit – are among the main reasons for employee retention. – Bob Fabien Zinga, Directly, Inc./U.S. Navy Reserve.
Refusing people the liberty to make their mark and put their own talents and fingerprints on projects demotivates them and ultimately causes them to feel dissatisfaction with initiatives and their jobs. It is critical to hire correctly, onboard and train appropriately, familiarize individuals effectively to your culture, and then, most importantly, get out of their way! – Craig Powell, Motus, LLC.
9. Not Providing Learning Time
It is imperative to give tech employees space in their week to learn and develop new skills. Knowledge workers are eager to explore, and the best employees are the curious tinkerers. If you do not afford them room to grow – by providing a professional development budget and/or setting aside 10% of their time for professional development – then they will move on to places that will. – John Gist, Fidelity International.
10. Not Getting To Know Team Members Personally
Failing to understand the personal dynamic of the individual as well as their daily pressures and stresses will always lead to high turnover. Part of this is failing to have regular meetings to check up on the team, which hinders the personal bond and results in many flying the coop. – Oren Eytan, odix.
11. Not Offering Learning Opportunities
Failure to provide opportunities to learn new platforms – and more importantly, exercise what they’ve learned – is a key factor when it comes to high turnover. Tech professionals are instinctively reluctant to continually handle break fixes or maintain legacy platforms day in and day out. A good approach is to let them focus not just on maintenance but also on surgically rebuilding and improving any legacy products they oversee. – Kartik Sakthivel, LIMRA LOMA LL Global.
12. Poorly Managing Workloads
A lack of discipline around utilization measurement is an element that drives turnover. Organizations that staff employees to full capacity might maximize utilization over a short period, but it comes at the expense of morale, driving burnout and talent attrition in the end. Setting both a minimum and a maximum target per employee helps managers keep a pulse on turnover, project profitability, revenue per employee and customer satisfaction. – Denis Whelan, Projector PSA.
13. Being Inflexible
Schedules that lack flexibility and aren’t aligned with employees’ personal needs drive turnover. It is imperative that employees are empowered to balance their work and life and unplug from work when they need to. Today’s tech professionals are partners in the success of the business, and they need to be enabled as the CEOs of their own areas of responsibility to support long-term retention. – Mike Morini, WorkForce Software.
14. Not Aligning On Strategies
A practice that drives high turnover is a deviation from or misalignment on strategy, whether at the onset or midstream. With alignment comes the expectation that each member gains a deep sense of appreciation and understanding for other business units and their functions. If this does not happen, trust is difficult to come by, and unity falters. – Amelia Quan, RollKall Technologies.
15. Locking the Tech Team into a Single Focus or Project
Tech folks love to solve problems, learn new skills and be part of a team where they are recognized and provided with opportunities to have different experiences. If you keep tech teams working on one application or project for more than one to three years, provide no opportunities for learning, and have them do monotonous tasks, they’ll likely decide it’s time to jump off your bandwagon. – Buyan Thyagarajan, Eigen X.