How to make sure you retain your tech staff and keep them engaged in 2018

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Losing staff is an expensive business in more ways than one. The loss of talent, knowledge and skills is bad enough, but add to that the recruitment costs of finding a replacement and subsequent training costs, and you can see that losing tech staff can leave large holes in the organisation.

Those holes can be difficult to fill because even you are lucky enough to find a like-for-like replacement, the true cost can be difficult to quantify. Team dynamics can be disrupted and there is also the danger that one departure causes a domino effect, prompting other members of the team to look elsewhere.

Will you be able to replace tech staff who leave?

It’s a question that companies should ask themselves because talking about the cost of replacing an employee is all very well, but that’s assuming that you can actually find a suitably qualified replacement. With digital skills in such high demand, outstanding developers and tech staff are hard to find.

They can be hard to keep hold of too, so here’s how to make sure you retain your tech staff and keep them engaged in 2018.
High staff turnover can be an indicator of shortcomings. It can impact on business development and growth – even putting off potential investors. Employers need to value, reward and actively take steps to retain their best tech staff.


How to retain and engage tech staff

There is no rule book or fool-proof template that you can follow that will ensure you always hold on to your tech staff. Everybody is an individual and should be treated as such. Finding out what the individual wants and doing your best to accommodate their wishes will always be the best approach. However, there are some useful general guidelines to bear in mind.

Flexible working is one employment trend that isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Companies should embrace it. Working from home, at least for part of the week, is usually viable for tech teams. Flexitime options are also likely to appeal.

Opportunities for professional development will be appreciated – indeed expected. The more skilled a worker is, the more fulfilled they become. Allowing a certain amount of time in the working week for staff to spend time on personal projects is another option. The idea, obviously inspired by Google’s 20% time, might be a luxury that few think they can afford but it could prove to be well worth it. Just as Google staff were allowed to spend 20% of their time on projects that would benefit the company, reportedly spawning some of Google’s best ideas, tech staff can spend time getting creative or developing their skills. It is only going to benefit the company.

Thinking outside the box can be the key to engaging and retaining tech staff. Pay reviews, regular feedback and flexible working options are fairly conventional (but crucial) aspects to consider, but there are plenty of other ways to do it.

Offering some sort of equity or share scheme can really promote a sense of ‘buy-in’ to a vision (or a business) and is likely to breed loyalty. Working conditions need to be attractive and perks need to be embedded into the work calendar in some way – whether it’s paid nights out or free tea and coffee in the workplace – and can make all the difference.

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