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How to Get Top-notch Tech Talent to Stick Around

Published on Jul 10, 2015 at 2:48 pm in Tennessean Articles, Tips & Tricks.

Hiring a new employee is a time-consuming process. Employers spend countless hours scouring resumes and vetting potential candidates, but building and maintaining a phenomenal team doesn’t stop there.

Trollback_officeThe tech industry is notoriously competitive, especially in Nashville. With more than 20,000 open tech positions in the city, as reported by ZipRecruiter, short-supplied tech talent is prized and often poached.

Losing a team member always hurts. Employees are any company’s best assets and many businesses lack an understanding of how much turnover really costs. According to Forbes, studies have estimated it costs roughly 150 percent of an employee’s salary to replace a mid-level worker, and for highly specialized positions the figure can climb as high as 400 percent.

It’s crucial for organizations to not only focus on finding the right employees but also on keeping them around. While most business owners already understand the importance of employee retention, many get hung up on executing a plan.

So how do employers create a workplace employees want to be a part of?

Develop a vision. Start by developing a clear vision for the company and then allow this vision to guide all decision-making — big or small. For example, when I started Concept Technology back in 2003, I knew I wanted to create a place where employees genuinely enjoyed working. We’ve integrated this principle into all aspects of the company, right down to the design of our office.

We place an emphasis on family and community and it was important to us that our office space was reflective of this. We worked to create a space that fosters this sense of community, with plenty of open and inviting communal areas for employees to gather.

Establish an onboarding process. A culture of retention begins on day one. The first few weeks at a new job set the tone for the remainder of an employee’s time with an organization, so establishing an onboarding process to provide a seamless transition is crucial.

Setting new hires up with a mentor and taking them out for lunch on their first day is a great way to make them feel like a welcome addition to the team.

Listen to employees. No organization is perfect. Gathering employee feedback allows you to keep a pulse on what’s working and what isn’t. The sooner you’re aware of potential issues, the sooner you’ll be able to address them.

Technologies like TINYpulse probe for ongoing employee input. Employees respond anonymously, providing genuine and insightful feedback. Reviewing these responses is a great way to start a dialogue and address any employee concerns before they spiral out of control.

Celebrate victories together. Deep and supportive work relationships encourage people to invest in a company long-term. Employees often feel undervalued for their contribution to an organization. Setting aside a specific time to recognize individuals is important for creating an environment where people stick around.

And people want more than just a pat on the back from supervisors. They desire genuine friendships among co-workers. Encouraging casual, non-business related gatherings gives employees opportunities for team bonding.

Emphasize employee growth. Team members want to see that they’re continuing to grow while at an organization. Consider hosting “Lunch and Learns” to provide employees with a chance to learn from one another and develop new skills in a peer-to-peer format.

Challenge employees to better themselves personally and professionally, from pursuing a certification to picking up a new hobby. Keeping employees happy and fulfilled is one of the best ways to boost productivity and reduce turnover.

Not every decision will be a home run, but good leaders recognize mistakes and focus on how to improve in the future. While it may take some trial and error to create a culture that promotes retention, establishing a plan to keep your all-star talent around will be well worth it.

This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.