If your company is like most, the tenure of your technical employees seems to be growing shorter year after year. Five years used to be the average recommended length of time for employees to spend in one position or at one company. Now it’s shrunk to a measly 1-3 years depending on who you ask.
With so many opportunities open to them and an increasingly low unemployment rate, it’s more difficult than ever to get your technical team to stay for the long haul. If one of your goals for the year is to take steps to lengthen technical employee tenure, try out these 10 changes.
1. Set Goals Together
First, set goals, but not just any goals. Setting arbitrary goals to lengthen employee tenure might or might not work. Letting your employees set their own work goals is better, but it’s still not perfect. If you want to lengthen employee tenure, the best thing you can do is designate time to set goals together.
Ask them where they’d like to go within the company. What kind of projects would they like to work on? What kind of technologies they’d like to learn?
Then, shape their goals to fit both their wants and your needs. Make these goals more enticing, rewarding, and motivating for technical employees. Once you’ve taken an interest in your success they’ll take more of an interest in the company’s success. That way they are less likely to leave.
2. Set Rewards Together
What does it mean when going the extra mile, meeting goals, and delivering exemplary results are met with a lackluster response? It means your employees are getting discouraged. If that is left to fester, it will result in those valuable employees looking for another opportunity. An opportunity where their contribution is acknowledged, celebrated and rewarded.
So, be that kind of company!
When you’re setting goals with your technical employee’s set enticing rewards. Rewards like bonuses, charitable contributions in their name, free catered lunch from their favorite restaurant, the chance to work from home, etc. The specific reward (and monetary value of the reward) matters less than offering it.
Additionally, acknowledging team accomplishments with fun rewards will help foster a sense of unity. That unity will lead to your technical employees feeling like they’re a part of something. This feeling is a strong motivator to stay where they are.
3. Increase Transparency
When technical employees feel like they’re left in the dark, they are more likely to leave. An employee left not knowing the direction of the company, the specifics of project requirements, or the business side of technical projects, with feel undervalued and insecure. If you want to promote an environment of longer tenures, you need to increase transparency.
4. Increase Opportunity
Another important tip is to increase opportunity. Feeling stagnate is often the kiss of death.
It leads your technical employees to search somewhere else. If they aren’t finding opportunities to grow, expand their skill set, learn, and improve at your company they will start looking for it elsewhere. Find ways to increase opportunity for your technical employees and they’ll be more likely to stick around.
5. Promote Continuous Learning
From bringing in an expert to teach a course on the latest technology to offering tuition reimbursement to hosting hackathons, there are a lot of ways you can promote continuous learning. Most technologists are hungry for new technical knowledge and the opportunity to implement that knowledge on the job. Don’t let your employees be stuck learning in their free time. They won’t learn and progress as quickly. Initiatives in the office that promote continuous learning are valuable and a reason to stick around!
6. Promote From Within
If your company has room for growth in Lead, Senior, or Management level positions, consider promoting from within. This obviously helps lengthen tenure for the employee or employees you promote because it keeps your technical employees around longer but it also promotes longer tenures across the board because it gives people something to work towards and strive for. Plus, as an added bonus, it makes the hiring process and transition much smoother and easier for your organization.
7. Improve Work-Life Balance
Another key factor that causes technical employees to leave quickly is burnout. So, what is the antidote to burnout? Improving your technical employees’ work-life balance. This can range from simple shifts in policy like flextime or making sure employees only stay late if absolutely necessary, to more ambitious feats like implementing unlimited PTO and transitioning your team to partial or full telecommuting.
8. Implement Employee Ideas
Whether you have a suggestion box or your managers keep an open door to new ideas, employees will stick around longer if they feel they can contribute more value to the company and see those valuable ideas actually implemented. If you’re not tapping into your technical employee’s ideas, you’re wasting a valuable resource and sending them signals that they’re not really a necessary part of the company.
9. Offer Truly Constructive Criticism
While you may not think that constructive criticism has anything to do with lengthening employee tenure, it really can when handled effectively. No employee wants to be the one pulling all of the weight on a team or working three times as hard because their coworkers are slacking off.
Your employees need the tools to learn how to do it effectively in the first place. Offering truly constructive criticism and effective training to your technical employees will alleviate these headaches that often lead employees to leave your company quickly.
10. Make Room for Exploration
As the last tip, avoid employee burnout. When your technical employees have to meet fast-paced project deadlines after fast-paced project deadlines with little to no variety in their daily work, monotony and burnout can sink in. Burnout will leave them wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere.
Find burnout by finding time for exploration in everyday work life. It’s essential if you want to foster an environment where creative, innovative, inspired technologists want to stick around.
Whether you designate Friday mornings so employees can work on side projects or tinker with new technology or you let an employee use a new technical language on a portion of a project to see if it works, making room in their schedules for more technical exploration will certainly lead to longer tenures.
Keep your technical team around longer by implementing one or more of these 10 valuable tips. Let us know how they work out for your organization! If you need more career advice, check out our blog!