How tech leaders are raising the bar on company culture and how you can, too.
Demand in the IT sector is high and there’s no shortage of competitive offerings when it comes to salary and perks. So how do you attract and keep the best talent? The answer is actually pretty simple – start by focusing on these three things.
If you’re not paying attention to employee retention, start now. The lifespan of your employees is a key indicator of what you’re doing right and what needs to change. If you notice a few resignations around the same time, take a close look at what’s going on operationally. Was new leadership recently put in place? Did you make policy changes to benefits or perks? Is overtime on the rise? Draw logical connections and make use of exit interviews to get a true picture of what’s happening below management level.
When changes are made to support high-level deliverables, think about how those changes will affect employees – who are often not privy to the big picture. If it’s a change that requires them to adapt, develop a change-management strategy to help with the transition and make transparency a priority. Employees are more likely to stay on board and support the process when management is honest about what’s going on, even if the news isn’t great.
The bottom line is: Companies with high retention rates offer a competitive edge when it comes to benefits, career development and training – and when retention is high; you know you’re attracting the right talent.
There’s a reason catch phrases like ‘work-life balance’ and ‘employee wellness’ have been flooding workplaces – it’s because they’re important. Perks like working from home, paid volunteer days and wellness credits used to be ‘nice to have’ but are now ‘must haves’. There’s a massive skills gap in the IT industry and the salary and perks being offered to fill positions have improved significantly.
But…these things cost money. We get it. So how do you make sure you’re getting the greatest ROI on your soft benefits? Do your homework. Approach it like a marketing campaign and take the time to understand a) your target audience and b) what motivates them. This is the fun part – it’s the process that lets you define a set of perks that are completely unique to your business and culture. Are your technologists required to meet tight deadlines and put in extra hours to debug after a launch? Maybe they’d appreciate one free Friday each month to compensate for the overtime.
The key here is to figure out the kind of people that would fit best with your team and culture, and then create a combination of salary and benefits to make you their top pick.
Development and training
When choosing a career path, no one looks at any one job as the be-all end-all. We’re human; we need to grow, learn and evolve. The opportunity for training and development is something a lot of companies miss. They hire someone to do a specific job with the expectation they’ll stay in that role and continue performing for a long time. The odds of that are unlikely, but they increase dramatically when employees can engage in continued education and training to keep them agile and interested.
Something as simple as leadership development or a mentor match-up can make staff feel like they’re advancing, even when their role stays the same. You’ll need to consider that each position has its own expectations and deliverables, so make sure the opportunities for growth match the role – you want people to feel challenged in a way that makes sense for them.
Putting it all together
Creating an innovative culture that lasts is no easy task, but if you take stock of your current strengths and weaknesses (evaluate current retention); plan with a goal in mind (who do I want to attract?); and execute with passion and consistency (be proud of your perks and make sure they’re attainable for staff), you’ll see results.
Been there, done that and have wisdom to share? Pass it on in the comments below.