HR/recruiting pros, what is one tactic you swear by to retain the best technical talent?
To help you best retain tech talents you have in your organization, we asked HR managers, recruiting professionals, and tech business leaders this question for their best tactics. From highlighting the achievements of tech talents through internal recognition programs to equipping them with the best technologies in the market, there are several tactics that you could adopt from the pros to help you keep top tech talents working in your organization.
Here are 14 tactics these leaders are committed to in retaining the best tech talents:
- Highlight Achievements of Tech Talents Through Internal Recognition Programs
- Give Tech Talents Freedom to Explore and Be Creative
- Award Bonuses and Celebrate Their Wins on a Regular Basis
- Make Tech Employees Feel They Are Part of the Team
- Offer as Much Flexibility as Possible
- Listen and Be Open to New Ideas
- Focus on Staff Engagement Through Various Means
- Offer Them Workplace Transparency and Autonomy
- Create a Specialized Succession Plan for Tech Talents
- Give Them a Deserving Compensation Including Perks
- Offer Better Incentives Than the Competition
- Equip Them With the Best Technologies in the Market
- Offer Training Programs for Career Development
- Focus on Employee Wellness Programs
Highlight Achievements of Tech Talents Through Internal Recognition Programs
The technical talent of a business will often fly under the radar which can lead to their important contributions going unnoticed, and this is why as a part of our retention strategy we implemented internal recognition programs that highlight their accomplishments. Tech talent does not launch flashy marketing campaigns or showcase impressive sales numbers, however, they are the backbone that allows all other departments to function as one seamless machine.
Therefore, we make sure we recognize our tech talent through newsletters, in-house emails, and at company functions. In addition, we make certain that we inform our entire team of how our tech talent’s contributions positively impact their ability to do their jobs, further emphasizing their importance to our business. By taking the time to regularly recognize the contributions of our tech talent, we ensure that they know how much they are appreciated while at the same time help retain these vital team members.
Cody Candee, Founder and CEO, Bounce
Give Tech Talents Freedom to Explore and Be Creative
One specific example of how to retain technical talents in your company is to allow them to have the freedom to be creative. Let them come up with methods of their own and support their ideas. Their field can be quite experimental, and most often than not, leaders hesitate to go beyond the concepts they are familiar with. This thinking will affect your other employees and inhibit their growth. Allow them to explore – at best, they will find new methods that will significantly work for your business, and even if the strategy they come up with fails, you’ll be fostering their growth and creativity. You can always think of that as a long-term investment for the development of your employees’ skills.
Award Bonuses and Celebrate Their Wins on a Regular Basis
A fatal flaw that happens a lot with tech leadership and HR is a tendency to only focus on problems. When tech talent is only aware of what they are doing wrong, problems they need to solve, or feel like their contributions aren’t being acknowledged, they will leave eventually. The stereotype of the stoic, robotic tech person is simply untrue, and these people need their contributions to be recognized. When your job is to constantly innovate and solve problems, you need the payoff of a pat on the back. Celebrate their wins, award bonuses, and give public acknowledgement on a regular basis and you will have amazing retention rates.
Make Tech Employees Feel They Are Part of the Team
Spiceworks estimates that one in three IT employees are currently looking for new jobs because they don’t feel like they’re part of something bigger. It’s just a tedious job that pays the bills. This is why I try to make my technical employees feel part of the team even though they’re spread across multiple cities and countries. As a founder, consider holding monthly town hall meetings so all the engineers can get to know each other and feel part of a higher purpose. You could also update tech employees on what’s happening in the boardroom so they understand the company’s greater vision and direction.
Offer as Much Flexibility as Possible
The #1 way we retain our best technical talent is to offer as much flexibility as possible, ensuring that the employee does not feel tied down by stringent office procedures or protocols. With tech talent in particular, we’ve found that they thrive best in these setups. As soon as they feel like a business is trying to ‘force’ a corporate agenda or way of working, then it’s very likely you’ll lose that tech talent to a company that is willing to be flexible with aspects such as working hours or working locations (e.g. fully remote and flexible times).
Dawn Wood, HR Manager, Woodyatt Curtains
Listen and Be Open to New Ideas
One tactic I swear by to retain the best technical talent is to listen and be open to new ideas, no matter how crazy they may sound. I try to be as approachable as possible and make sure that any feedback I get is well-received and taken seriously. After all, if your employees don’t feel like their opinions matter, they are likely to look for work elsewhere.
Focus on Staff Engagement Through Various Means
One tactic that I absolutely swear by to retain the best technical talent is focusing and making sure of complete engagement by the employees. It is very important that the people working for you are dedicated to their work and the company they are working for. This can be achieved by providing them with a well-structured training program during the recruitment period as well as upskilling sessions once in a while. It keeps their competence and determination in check, as they can see that the company is actually investing in them, for which they will yearn for profits. Also, they need to be acknowledged and appreciated constantly for what they do. It will make them feel cared for and considered. On some level, they will always feel motivated. This way, one can effectively retain the best talent in their workplace.
Offer Them Workplace Transparency and Autonomy
From the hundreds of candidates I have interviewed I can tell you that top talent doesn’t chase monetary incentives because they aren’t after what’s shiny, instead they chase the potential to shine themselves. They seek self-growth, creative freedom, and value. In my opinion, the best tactic to retain the best technical talent is by offering them workplace transparency and autonomy.
Workplace transparency enables them to see their worth in the company, they have a clear understanding of salaries, promotional criteria, and organization expectations. Workplace autonomy gives them the creative freedom to pursue goals and find solutions in their own way and at their own pace without being micromanaged. Both of these tactics together help your company stand out and ensure you retain your best technical talent while keeping them motivated and productive.
Create a Specialized Succession Plan for Tech Talents
Research has shown that nearly half of all technical workers are dissatisfied with the professional development and advancement opportunities at their current job, which is the reason why we swear by our special succession planning to retain our tech talent. Succession planning is common to many businesses, however, many do not look at the specialized needs of their tech talent as they view tech jobs as being static.
However, we talked with our tech talent to find out what they felt was needed in terms of mentoring, skills training, and continuing education, and then designed a comprehensive succession plan specialized to them. In addition, we schedule regular meetings to make certain that we learn of new developments and to track their progress. In implementing specialized succession planning for our tech talent, we provide them with an appropriate program that has increased their satisfaction and our retention rates.
Give Them a Deserving Compensation Including Perks
With the ever-changing IT industry dynamic, talent retention doesn’t come easy. Undercompensation tends to be the driving factor for employees seeking new jobs. It helps to be on top of industry trends. Do your research and make sure that the amount you’re paying is on par with the work they’re doing and how they would be paid industry-wide. If need be, throw in some additional perks to retain your best technical talent.
Offer Better Incentives Than the Competition
In our industry, we have to stay ahead of the curve to retain top-tier tech employees. We offer them paid vacations after 2 years. 401K’s and a point system of rewards like gift cards for reaching company milestones before deadlines. With extra and motivational incentives, we have been blessed with some really good long-standing employees.
Offer Training Programs for Career Development
Those who aren’t invested in their work or who don’t see room for advancement will eventually turn elsewhere for employment. However, a workplace that is both stimulating and rewarding will attract the best and brightest employees. When it is obvious that employees are valued and that the company will make an effort to enhance their day-to-day job and their professional development opportunities, the workplace becomes more “sticky.”
Focus on Employee Wellness Programs
Technical talent, like developers, tend to work in industries where regular days mean crunch time, and crunch time means you’re never sleeping again. Understandably, these professionals are prone to burnout and some job hop often. One of our most successful retention tactics is a strong focus on employee wellness.
For a wellness program to work, you should offer everything from gym memberships and meditation app subscriptions to flexible scheduling and stress management programs. When you prioritize your team’s well-being, you empower them to do the same. A great wellness program keeps employees physically, mentally, and financially fit, so aim to include it all (within reason). Overtime should be something required rarely, if ever. Most importantly, we ask our employees to contribute to our wellness programs with regular feedback. When we know what will help our team feel balanced, we strive to include those options in our wellness packages.
Equip Them With the Best Technologies in the Market
If you want to retain your top technical talent, you need to equip them with the best tools and software that makes their jobs easier. By offering them ready access to the best technologies in the market, you allow them to grow in their field by mastering new tools and platforms. After all, they are the best talent because they are genuinely interested in their area of work and are passionate about tech. The obvious upside to this is that you can now rely on your technical talent to stay with you as they now have the opportunity to work on the latest technologies. The added benefit that is equally beneficial is that your organization also benefits from the advancements these employees experiment with.