How To Retain Tech Talent

Two happy managers shaking hands because they have successfully managed to retain tech talent

69% of companies have reported experiencing an acute tech skills gap. To beat the tech talent shortage plaguing most businesses, you need to both attract AND retain tech talent.

The talent shortage has created a situation where 36% of decision-makers report that this issue has been the biggest barrier to digital transformation in their business.

My colleague previously wrote about attracting tech talent, however, no matter how many professionals join your company, the inability to retain them will inevitably cost you time and money. In this blog, I’ll share my core advice on how to retain tech talent and how to ensure that your company is growing with the help of your people management.

The cost of high employee turnover

The recruitment and onboarding process for new hires and/or the replacement of key talent costs large amounts of money and time. Especially for tech talent, where it takes on average 49 days to hire an IT professional.

The issue of high employee turnover is not uncommon for some businesses. A recent leadership report stated that 4 in 10 firms are struggling to retain tech talent, with many professionals resigning to work at a company that offers a better employee package.

But by assessing your current processes and offering, you can establish a recruitment and retention strategy that will allow you to work towards closing your internal tech skills gap effectively.

How to retain tech talent: Key approaches

Don’t let the UK’s tech skills gap limit your company’s IT expansion plans. The prospect of recruitment and onboarding costs, coupled with potentially dodgy retention shouldn’t impact your decision to hire tech talent and expand your business. Below I discuss some of the key methods you should explore in order to retain tech talent in your company.

Create an effective recruitment and onboarding strategy

Retaining a new employee should not begin once the individual has started working for you. It should be part of your recruitment and onboarding strategy. An effective recruitment campaign that actively promotes your company culture and values as well as communicating what the real day-to-day experience is at your company, will help candidates settle in better with your business.

Around 48% of workers have left a job because it didn’t meet with the candidate’s expectations of what the office environment or job responsibilities would be. You want to make your business seem attractive, especially if you are struggling with a tech skills gap, but overpromising will lead to talent leaving.

Additionally, the first 6 months of a new starter’s career at your company are usually the most unstable, with 1/3 of employees resigning before this milestone. A smooth transition to your company is essential. IT and/or admin issues, a lack of formal introduction to a company, and limited training can lead to a negative onboarding experience.

A recruitment agency can greatly support this transition, by being the point of contact for the new starters before joining and being a friedly ear in those first few weeks. However, it is important to be cautious of the recruitment agencies you engage with. After all, incorrect information or overpromising from a recruitment agency could leave your business with an unhappy new starter. A good recruitment agency will look to truly understand what working for your company looks like by studying your EVP and conducting on-site visits, and will accurately set this out to every candidate. This way each new starter will join with a realistic picture of  what to expect from your company and their role.

Offer flexible working

A flexible work policy can help retain tech talent. In fact, 46% of tech professionals have said that they would consider leaving a company if their ability to work remotely was severely limited or removed altogether.

In recent months, many large companies such as Google, Meta and Salesforce have been making mandates to return to the office, with the move having various responses and levels of success. If you are considering enforcing staffing levels in the office, consider a managed approach with your HR team to limit a potential backlash. Additionally, if you are hiring, make sure that your internal hiring team or recruitment agency accurately conveys what flexible work options are available and are not overpromising.

If you do not currently offer flexible work, but have experienced issues in retaining tech talent, you might like to consider implementing the policy to stem the flow of resigning IT professionals.

Invest in new technologies

A reluctancy to invest in new technologies and IT capabilities could disenchant your IT team. I know many tech professionals who love their job because they are passionate about the technology they are working with. A recent study found that 46% of IT professionals agree that if they did not see their business committing to upskilling and training they would leave the company. Bringing in new technologies and allowing your employees to progress in their skills is an important way to retain tech talent.

Furthermore, with technology constantly evolving, tech professionals, especially younger tech talent, don’t want to get stuck working on legacy tech and systems, as it will not have a positive impact on their long-term career.

Have a clear career structure

Statistics show that 41% of IT professionals cite a lack of career progression as a key reason for resigning. This is combined with additional data that shows that 55% of tech talent surveyed joined a company due to its career opportunities. The feeling and prospect of progression and career mobility is important to many professionals.

Setting and communicating a clear career structure to your team can help you to retain tech talent, as they will be able to envision what their future will look like working with you.

Use employee wellbeing surveys

It may sound simple but asking employees if they are facing any issues in the workplace is an effective method to retain tech talent. An anonymous survey can allow you to understand how your employees are feeling and expose any potential common pain points in your business that might be causing your tech talent to leave.

It’s also a good way of understanding where, as a business, you can improve employee experience and engagement. These may not be areas that are causing bad tech talent retention alone, but could be adding to problems.

Celebrate success

Everyone wants to feel like their work is valued by their employer, and tech professionals are no different. Consider using prizes and rewards for tech professionals who hit their targets or who are performing particularly well. Whether this includes a monetary bonus, vouchers or something more creative, this can make the tech talent in your company feel motivated and less likely to leave.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to monetary rewards, just acknowledging hard work and sharing success internally through comms channels are good ways to make professionals feel proud of their work and recognised by management.

Remember…

A bad retention rate can be a never-ending circle of hiring and replacing. People in the tech industry know one another, just like any other sector. You don’t want to gain a reputation for having bad retention as you’ll struggle to hire and people might view you as a stop gap between good roles. Make sure you are analysing and adapting your current strategies to improve your retention.

 

If you need bespoke support and advice on the best ways to retain tech talent or solve your tech skills gap, contact our IT consultants for assistance.

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