Employee attrition and retention in the tech world
As we move beyond a difficult period of unprecedented challenges, companies are looking both backward and forward to assess the state of employee attrition and retention and understand exactly how to move ahead. Many news headlines have sounded the alarm about a significant shortage of workers, especially in the technology industry.
In fact, a recent Korn Ferry study predicted that tech advancement across all sectors could be slowed by a shortfall of 4.26 million workers by 2030.
Yet as we've seen over the past year and a half, the global COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated this trend — leaving every company to quickly pivot to a remote work environment along with other virtual means of doing business. In turn, this has changed the way companies approach the issue of employee attrition and retention.
More employees than ever began working from home when the pandemic hit — and the need for cloud and VPN support skyrocketed. For the tech worker's role, this created a whole new sense of urgency for the survival of businesses everywhere.
Today, these tech workers are in higher demand than ever before, and as a result, they're driving a new work reality where they can leverage their own experience to make the best move.
However, the resulting turnover can be costly to an organization, especially when employers invest in — and work hard to retain — high-potential employees that they hope will one day fill succession pipelines.
So how can talent acquisition professionals make their own organizations stand out among the competition? Here are five ways to address employee attrition and retention in this complex labor market.
Timing is everything in today's market. If your hiring process is bogged down by too many stages and too much red tape, it's time to streamline your approach to employee attrition and retention.
Traditionally, tech workers were given a technical test where candidates had to successfully complete a coding exercise before they were even scheduled for a live interview. But in today's fast-paced hiring environment, this process could cost you valuable time — and valuable candidates.
Once you've identified a promising candidate, it's best to schedule and conduct live interviews as soon as possible, then give the most qualified candidates a chance to complete the required technical tests.
A good interview should be a conversation, not an interrogation. Instead of using a rapid-fire style with unexpected questions designed to catch candidates off guard, change things up and allow them to interview you.
Make them feel respected and heard. This is a great way to make the candidate understand what it's like to already be an employee, making it easier for them to envision working for your company — and staying there.
Let your candidates feel what it's like to be in the driver's seat. Questions about career advancement, office culture, workload and more should all be on the table. Be transparent and answer honestly.
Your candidates will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about potential roles — and you'll get a chance to see them in action.
Forget the ping-pong tables. Today's most qualified tech professionals are looking for more than everyday office perks. Competitive salaries are an important starting point, of course, but how else can you give candidates a sense of direction in their new roles?
Start by making the big picture clear. Show — don't just tell — how their contributions and input can shape the way your organization solves problems and works together more effectively. This increased autonomy makes their work about more than just writing code all day. It offers real buy-in as a valued member of the team.
Don't be afraid to ask workers about their passions and pursuits outside of their specific area of specialization. Consider allowing them to carve out time on a regular basis for these non-billable projects that help them hone their skills or simply recharge their own personal battery — it's just one more way your company can stand apart from the competition and address employee attrition and retention.
Think outside the box by looking beyond the established talent pool for tech workers. Instead of limiting your search, expand it by bringing in nontraditional employees with unique backgrounds.
With the popularity of so-called "coding boot camps" on the rise, these candidates and new employees can quickly pick up necessary skills while learning your company's internal processes and culture.
While your competitors are vying for the same set of candidates in a strained labor market, your "new collar" program can create a completely new approach for addressing employee attrition and retention.
Just as technology isn't a singular part of your business goals, tech workers aren't just another part of your team. They are integral to your entire organization's success — so it's critical to value agility and business skills across the board.
Give your tech workers increased insight into other divisions and units of the company, like sales or research and development. Make your most important strategic business objectives clear. Not only will this enhance the sense of loyalty, pride and teamwork among your employees, it will help create a more unified culture with everyone heading in the same direction, regardless of their title or job role.
When workers enjoy this level of transparency into your company's greater goals, it incentivizes them to stay — reducing employee attrition and boosting your chances of retaining the best talent for years to come.
Another key driver of employee retention is the ability of workers to make lateral moves within the organization. According to a recent analysis by Korn Ferry, lateral moves were also vital to building desirable leadership characteristics.
By identifying groups of individuals that have not yet made lateral moves, your company can invigorate career planning, close developmental gaps, solidify strengths in critical leadership competencies and ultimately reduce turnover.
To learn more about Korn Ferry's analysis and solutions regarding employee attrition and retention, contact us.