Many think hiring the right employee is the hardest part of tech recruiting. In reality, that’s only the first hurdle. If you want your new tech employee to stick around for the long haul, you’ll also need to provide plenty of support, motivation, and development.
Retention is a challenge for companies in all industries, but when it comes to tech talent, keeping turnover down can be uniquely difficult. Tech has one of the highest turnover rates of any field, in part because IT skills are in such high demand and unemployment is so low. Employers are vying for a limited pool of people, and they won’t hesitate to lure your workers away with promises of larger salaries and more engaging work.
In tech, retention has to be a proactive concern. Rather than waiting for employees to submit their resignations, companies should be actively working to keep their tech talent satisfied and thriving. Unfortunately, many organizations do the exact opposite.
If you’re having trouble getting your tech employees to stay on board, it might be because you’re making one of these mistakes:
1. The Unintentional Mis-Sell
This is probably one of the most common reasons why tech employees jump ship. With the best intentions, recruiters and hiring managers often mis-sell the roles they are recruiting for. Competition is fierce, so organizations pull out all the stops to appeal to tech candidates. Unfortunately, that often means they paint a somewhat idealistic picture of the role and company. When the candidate accepts the offer and starts working, they realize the job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be — which motivates them to start searching for something better.
While every company wants to make a good impression on potential hires, it’s important that hiring managers and recruiters stick to the facts when selling the role. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or exaggerate the reality. Sure, some candidates may decide not to work for you, but the ones who do accept your offer won’t be in for any nasty surprises.
The opposite scenario can also happen, where the company’s leadership team expects too much from the new hire. Perhaps the company doesn’t offer the new hire the resources and support they need to get tasks done, or perhaps the company’s leaders don’t quite understand the technology and are asking for literally impossible things. Whatever the case, the employee is bound to leave sooner rather than later.
Before making a hire, it’s important to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what will be expected of the hire. This allows recruiters and hiring managers to accurately convey the scope of the job to interested candidates. Moreover, if a company is looking for tech talent who can help them move into new territory, it’s important that company stakeholders understand what this new territory will look like. That includes understanding what resources a new project will require and what success would realistically mean for that project. It’s a good idea to get your new hire involved in this process: Ask them to map out a strategy for how they can achieve your goals, and follow their lead instead of making impossible demands.
For more expert recruiting insights, check out the latest issue of Recruiter.com Magazine:
2. Command and Control
Tech employees tend to be curious, creative, and autonomous. They like to have a say in how they do their work, and they like projects that let them flex their muscles and stretch their skill sets in new ways.
Unfortunately, many companies take a command-and-control approach to managing tech workers. They box their tech employees in by assign tasks from on high, offering little opportunity for employees to direct their own work. In that kind of environment, tech workers are likely to feel stifled.
And even if you do give your tech workers some control over their work, make sure you’re giving them the opportunity to make a real contribution to your overall goals. Tech workers like taking on meaningful tasks. They don’t like toiling away on inconsequential projects.
In general, it’s best for employers in all industries to remember a simple piece of advice: Don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do — let them tell you what to do. Tech employees know their fields. Let them use their cleverness and creativity to your advantage.
3. No Training
Most workers look for professional development opportunities, but tech employees are particularly keen on learning. The industry moves quickly, and they don’t want to be left behind, so they look for employers that will help them keep up with the latest advances. If your company doesn’t actively invest in its tech workers, don’t be surprised when they start leaving for your competitors.
But prioritizing learning isn’t just about retention — it’s also good for your company. If your workers have continuous learning opportunities, they can keep your tech up to date and operating efficiently. Employees who are encouraged to grow aren’t just more satisfied — they’re also better equipped to contribute to your product or service.
4. Generational Misunderstandings
While it shouldn’t be hiring criteria, an employee’s age can tell you a lot about what they’re looking for at work.
Millennials are the largest generation in the workforce, so chances are some of your tech workers are millennials. Among employees of this age, purpose and professional development are particularly important. Make sure millennial tech talent has the chance to develop professionally and really impact your mission.
Meanwhile, Generation Z is also starting to enter the workforce, so do your homework on what they’re looking for as they hit the talent market. While millennials are known as job hoppers, it may surprise you to learn that their younger counterparts are looking for stability. That makes sense, given that they grew up in the aftermath of a devastating global recession.
Additionally, the digital natives in Gen. Z are well-acquainted with technology, so they’re likely to expect cutting-edge equipment. Asking them to use an outdated laptop would be like handing them a typewriter, as far as they’re concerned.
You can’t take your tech employees for granted. Given the state of the talent market today, your best workers are most likely already fielding calls from competing employers.
If you want to retain your tech employees, you need to be willing to go the extra mile. A high salary isn’t enough. Appeal to your tech talent’s cultural, personal, and professional values as well, and you’ll build a long-term team.
Kaylee Parkinson is people and culture manager for SparkBeyond EMEA.