Top technologists have a choice: 5 tips for employee retention

Top technologists have a choice: 5 tips for employee retention

IT managers recommend getting to know each employee personally and offering them individual opportunities for flexibility, growth and well-being. […]

Today, developers, test automation engineers, site reliability engineers, and other technologists have more job opportunities than ever before. Although the competition for talent has been going on for more than a decade, technologists today can look for work opportunities that go far beyond the commuter distance and may no longer have to move for new work opportunities.

According to a recent study entitled “Leveling the Playing Field in the Hybrid Workplace”, 58% of professionals who work with data, analyze information or think creatively are likely to look for a new job during the year. This figure rises to 72% for employees who are dissatisfied with their current level of flexibility.

Everyone who holds a leadership position, a managerial position or the leadership of a team must be aware of the risks associated with the loss of employees and take measures to retain key employees.

Recently, I took over the moderation of a SINC Southeast round of IT managers on the topic of talent acquisition, diversity and employee retention. During the six round table discussions, all three challenges were addressed, but the main problem was the retention of technologists. When I asked those present who is currently hiring employees, almost all IT managers raised their hands.

The panelists gave several good ideas to consider for their teams and companies.

Find out how people prefer to work

IT executives felt that they have a strong partnership with the HR department and executives to create guidelines for a flexible way of working. Some companies plan to support hybrid forms of work on a permanent basis, others want employees to return to the office, and still others are slowly moving from remote to face-to-face models.

Although IT managers have a say in these guidelines, they still have to coordinate their management approaches with the employees in their teams. The heads of large IT teams interview their team members to identify common patterns, but all of them are increasingly trying to identify individual needs. If the company supports hybrid forms of work, you should ask employees about their personal work preferences:

  • Some employees need flexible working hours to take care of family matters.
  • Many want to turn off the notifications in tools such as Slack and Microsoft Teams at certain times so that they can concentrate on their work and be interrupted less.
  • Some hope to reduce commuting times or take into account other personal factors.

With working conditions likely to change over the next year, IT leaders have recognized the importance of learning best practices. For example, in this Harvard Business Review article entitled “How to Do Hybrid Right”, it is recommended to learn about the individual productivity factors, about the times when employees are most active, and about the time when coordination events should be planned. In addition, if hybrid work is an option, team leaders should consider which variant of the hybrid model is most suitable for their teams and complies with the guidelines.

Development of leadership skills through training

An IT manager reported on a training model that her company offers to new employees. This is a three-year program in which employees can learn new skills and try out various IT functional areas. After fulfilling the training requirements, participants receive a salary increase of 15%.

I like this approach because it can also benefit the technologists and executives who volunteer as mentors or take on other tasks within the framework of the program. It shows the commitment to the future of the company and to new employees who are essential for the transition to new working methods. The best trainings are also bidirectional learning models: the trainees learn skills and business acumen, and the mentors learn what the learners want and need to succeed.

Reduction of meetings and creation of meeting-free times

At the conference, few participants indicated that their companies are willing to set up conference-free Fridays or other blocks of time so that employees can concentrate on their work without distractions. Setting a meeting-free period may be impractical in many companies, but is it unrealistic for every employee to enter a four-hour meeting-free block in their weekly calendar? Is it impossible for managers and managers to respect this period of time?

Keep in mind that meeting managers have the ability to record meetings and make transcripts. If someone cannot be present, there is the possibility to view the recordings and to continue working afterwards.

Another option is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of meetings.

Setting a good example in social and wellness programs

In recent years, most companies have realized the importance of reformulating their missions beyond their customers, products and services. Some companies have been recognized for their charitable programs, others for their wellness programs.

The IT executives agreed that the existence of these programs is just a start; it is up to the executives to participate in them and lead by example. Participating in social and wellness programs is a way to foster employee community and belonging, and retention can help keep employees who expect more from their employer than just a job.

Finding ways for people to pursue their passions

The IT managers on the podium agreed that the most important thing is to know the interests and passions of employees. In many companies there are more tasks than employees. Although priorities are determined by business needs and strategy, leaders determine how much work their teams take on. Top managers recognize a decisive success factor by using their employees according to their interests and motivations and forming different teams.

Managers and managers need to communicate regularly with their employees to find out what interests they have, what work they enjoy and what development opportunities they would like to have. If technologists know that their leaders understand their goals and motivations, they will be more likely to engage in tasks that correspond to their interests. They are also more willing to look past times when work is less interesting, knowing that their leaders are likely to find better opportunities in the future.

Leaders who support self-organizing practices, experimentation, and learning can build lasting camaraderie. The panellists reported how some of their employees left the company to return shortly afterwards because they missed working together in a more collaborative culture. People want leadership and freedom to do their jobs, and avoid command and control cultures or bad managers. There are ways to lead people and teams without micromanaging them.

The key thing is that employees have a choice. Recruitment may start at the time of hiring, but the best leaders realize that the long-term retention of employees is a constant task.

*Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO and author of the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital: The Leader’s Guide to Business Transformation Through Technology and Digital Trailblazer: Essential Lessons to Jumpstart Transformation and Accelerate Your Technology Leadership. He deals with agile planning, devops, data science, product management and other best practices for digital transformation. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO and influencer in the field of digital transformation. He has more than 800 articles on , , his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation and other websites.

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