4 tips for retaining key software and IT talent

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While recruiting in-demand tech professionals is difficult, the real challenge is figuring out how to retain those professionals. It’s not an easy problem to solve, but it’s possible and worth it when adding up just how much high tech talent turnover is costing your business.

A quick glance at Payscale’s recent report on employee tenure and you’ll find Amazon and Google at the bottom of the list with 1 and 1.1 years as their median employee tenure, respectively. In the tech industry alone, it’s rare to see employees, especially developers, stay with one company longer than two years. Consider these four tech professional retention tips as helpful insights into the minds of your most valuable employees.

To get the software, app, or web development talent you needed, you most likely had to look into the average salary ranges, benefit plans, and additional incentives competitors were offering for the developer roles they wanted to fill. This research shouldn't end once you find the hire you need.

Stay on top of the hiring trends for tech talent. Salaries for specific tech roles are on the rise depending on their specialization. New, innovative benefits are being offered by competitors constantly. Some companies have begun offering 3-day work weeks to attract top tech talent.

Google has their 20 percent policy to encourage developers to experiment and innovate on the projects that matter most to them. Ensuring your business is on par with what competitors are offering minimizes the risk that the talent you fought hard to attract gets poached out from under you.

Learn What Matters: Top Employee Perks

A core component of retaining your employees, regardless of their position, is learning what matters most to them. When it comes to tech professionals, remote work options and autonomy are the most in-demand perks.

First, prioritize remote work options. If entirely remote positions don’t mesh well with your collaborative company culture, consider allowing tech-focused employees to work remote for three to four days per week. With the emergence of group chat apps like Slack, having employees work remotely doesn't have to mean decreased communication or collaboration. In fact, it might actually lead to increased collaboration, productivity and innovation.

Second, give your employees the autonomy they need to get the job done. The reason that many tech professionals are paid so well is because they have niche skills that most other people don't. Trust them and the knowledge they have to get the job done well. There's rarely, if ever, a need to micromanage high-end software development talent.

If developers or software engineers feel like they are constantly asked to do things a certain way that doesn't make sense to them, they won't stick around long enough for you to solve the management problem. Instead, avoid it entirely by allowing your employees the independence they need to work best.

Prioritize an Inclusive Work Culture

The tech industry continues to struggle with toxic work environments that have negatively impacted retention rates among minority employee groups. While not every tech company has the time or resources to work on their inclusion issues, it’s crucial to do so given the impact it has on not only the ability to retain hard-to-find talent but attract talent as well.

To rethink your company culture, the most effective strategy starts from the top down. Which is why onboarding a chief diversity officer (CDO) is a great step toward prioritizing and fostering an inclusive work culture.

CDOs are responsible for not only increasing a company’s diversity but also overseeing your company-wide diversity training to curate a work culture where all employees can be productive, respected, and feel safe in their work environments. A recent study by McKinsey & Company also revealed businesses that create more diverse work cultures are 15 percent more profitable than their competitors who saw inclusion as an unnecessary soft skill.

Incorporate Meaning

Last but not least, find a way to clarify your company's vision and incorporate meaning into the work your tech experts do. While creating an app that minimizes the amount of time sales has to spend adding in data won't save the world, it could save your business.

Make sure your tech employees see the impact of the work they do each day and are recognized for it. Identifying meaning in day-to-day tasks can help improve retention rates.

In-demand, niche tech experts are crucial to the continued success of your business. Attracting them is tough, but the real challenge is retaining them. Overcome the industry’s average tenure rates by incorporating these simple strategies and reap the rewards of having your tech employees continue to grow with your business.

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