More than 25% of developers who had been working for more than a year began new roles in the past year, and another 42% who had stayed in their jobs are considering a change, according to a recent Digital Ocean survey. Despite murmurings that the Great Resignation has been subsiding, in the tech industry, where competition for top talent is intense, it shows no evidence of slowing down. The fact is, for individuals with highly technical skills — skills that are in demand more and more as the world becomes increasingly digital — the options are pretty much endless. How, then, do businesses retain their best talent? Which talent retention strategies actually work?
These six talent retention strategies will help you cultivate loyalty and reduce attrition.
1. Offer competitive salaries to retain talent
It may sound obvious, but it bears noting: software developers and tech professionals expect to earn a high salary. In fact, and according to a survey by Stepsize, this is the main reason why software engineers quit their jobs. 82% of them stated this as a motivation for leaving.
Tech professionals have many options when it comes to choosing where to work. If you don’t offer a competitive salary to your talented employees, you will inevitably find that another employer will scoop them up.
2. Bolster your reward and recognition programs
Everyone wants to be recognized and feel appreciated. Establish reward and recognition programs to demonstrate how much you value your talented employees’ hard work and the commitment they show to your business.
For example, you could establish a loyalty program to offer your employees a small gift as a token of your appreciation for their services after a certain number of years with the company. It can be extra vacation days or a monetary bonus. You might also recognize employees for exemplary work by honoring them with awards and commending particularly notable achievements.
3. Create referral programs
Existing talent draws new talent. When you establish referral programs, you demonstrate that you value your employees, so much that you trust them to bring like-minded and equally talented professionals on board. This is a strategy many top companies use to both retain and attract qualified individuals.
Again, offer a token of appreciation to existing employees who refer individuals you ultimately hire. It can be a bonus or another gift. Make sure you acknowledge the effort they put in to recommend the peers in their network.
4. Boost career development
This is a pivotal point when thinking of ways to retain talent. Everyone wants to grow in their careers. There are so many tech professionals leaving in droves to build their skills and even start their own companies. You have to show that you are invested in your employees’ future. That means helping them evolve as professionals, regardless of their level or current position.
Offering learning opportunities is one way to do this. People appreciate having the chance to learn new skills and gain competencies, particularly when it’s at no cost to them. Of course, your employees gaining these skills will benefit you, too, as well as instill a sense of loyalty in the team.
Additionally, consider providing career pathing. This will help your workers see a way forward and understand future opportunities for advancement, as well as how you envision them progressing in their professional journeys. Few people want to remain stagnant, so this will allow them to see that there are plenty of ways to grow with your company.
According to the same Stepsize survey, 51% of engineers said they have considered leaving their jobs because of technical debt, and 20% of these professionals called it the main reason for leaving.
This suggests several things. First, software engineers want their employers to trust their approaches, valuing their abilities to produce excellent code over encouraging them to reduce time to market by cutting corners. Second, these professionals want to be proud of their work and will become frustrated if they are constantly asked to prioritize speedy delivery over putting forth a truly high-quality product.
That means you will need to consider your priorities and trust your developers when they tell you how and when they will best be able to do their work. The health of your code, it seems, is more important to these developers than reaching the market in record time.
6. Engage and inspire your employees
Ultimately, you can do everything in your power to retain your talent, but all of this will be for naught if you aren’t engaging and inspiring your professionals. Gen Z, the youngest generation in the workforce, seeks work that they see as important and inspiring. LinkedIn’s latest Workforce Insights survey finds that a staggering 80% of Gen Z workers consider leaving their roles to find employers who better align with their values. Millennials also seek value alignment, with 59% underscoring this motivation.
So, it’s not enough to deliver great products and services — your employees want meaning from their work. That’s why making your workplace one where your people are proud to work is critical. Does that mean you have to be a nonprofit aimed at solving the globe’s most pressing problems? Certainly not. But you should demonstrate that you’re working toward something more significant than improving your business.
Some ideas for demonstrating your values include:
- Sustainability initiatives
- Measurable improvements in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) — beyond corporate statements
- Paid time off for volunteering
- Engaging benefits and programming
Your business needs to appreciate its employees and invest in them. These efforts will go a long way in ensuring that your people thrive within your organization.