Tips for retaining your top tech talent

A strategy for retaining your top technology talent and curbing turnover has many positive outcomes for a business. 
It can help to prevent the cost of unexpectedly having to replace highly skilled staff. As most hiring managers know, the cost of such turnover can add significantly to a company's expenses and derail important projects. 
When an employee leaves there is the loss of not only valuable knowledge and skills which can contribute to your businesses’ future success, but IP about your company, your customers, current projects and past history, which can take a long time to regain. 
However, the rate of turnover can be reduced by implementing a few simple retention strategies – and they don’t always involve money.

Our top retention tips:

Training and development

Courses aren’t always what training and development is about, nor do they have to take place in a formal classroom. Mentorships are a useful retention tool and can also be used to pass on corporate insight to other employees. One-on-one training and taking on additional duties can also be just as effective.
Investing in your employees’ skills development allows them to be the best they can be, which has obvious rewards for both them and you.

Eliminate red tape and meaningless toil

Top tech talent is ready to get to work and wants to achieve results, but if their attempts are stymied by red tape and onerous work practices they won’t stay around. Organisations should focus on removing as many barriers as possible for the top technology workers. Consider offering high-quality, reusable code and provide world-class planning and development tools to make engineers work lives easier. Also create state-of-the-art production and preproduction environments that are well integrated with testing and development environments – and trust your teams to deliver good work in good time.

Your leaders

Front line managers are also key to retention, so you should evaluate the capabilities of yours. Your managers are at the coal face. They should be good at motivating and inspiring their team members, managing performance – good and bad, and setting useful goals. They also need to provide useful performance feedback, including positive reinforcement or suggesting solutions when things have not gone well. Remember, people join companies and leave people.

Good interpersonal relationships

If an employee has good relationships at work, they are more likely to stay with a company and feel engaged with their work. So, employers need to focus on how they understand, communicate and build good relationships with their employees. It’s good practice to ask employees for their opinion on key engagement factors such as career progression and performance feedback through employee opinion surveys, online forums or regular reviews. And it is best not to assume anything about an employee’s career path as there can be many factors at play – just maintain open and honest communication to find out what your employees’ goals are.

Room to play

Top engineers don’t just want to bang out new tech features, they want to experiment, innovate and partake in projects that are meaningful to them.
Organisations can build in extra buffer time to allow for experimentation and, for example, allow tech employees to try out new languages or tools that aren’t necessary ‘in scope’. Creating an environment of psychological safety can encourage teams to experiment, and fail or succeed, while learning from the experience. Leaders of technology teams should role model specific behaviours such as concern for the individuals on their teams by actively soliciting for their input.

Growth pathways

Not all brilliant technology workers want to become managers – they may just want to be excellent at their jobs. Consider designing both managerial and non-managerial career pathways for tech talent and include lateral career moves across multiple products and projects to promote skills development and new career options.