The Why’s and How’s of Building a Long-term Technical Team

By Chelsea Babin

Employees often look for stability at the company they work for. Why? Because that feeling of security is incredibly valuable for their work-life balance and reducing their stress levels. The same can be said for building your own long-term technical team! Why is building a technical team with longevity in mind beneficial to your company? Here are 5 key reasons.

1. Reduce Expensive Turnover: Let’s face it, the main reason companies want to avoid turnover is because of how expensive it is! The hiring process, particularly for technical employees, is lengthy and costly. And, the more you have to go through it, the more costly it is. If for no other reason, building a long-term technical team is a great idea because of the money it saves your company in the long run.

2. Create Family-like Camaraderie: Company culture is incredibly important to a lot of employees and, when they’re spending so much time collaborating together, they want to work with people they really like. It’s hard to create that desired family-like camaraderie without building a technical team that’s in it for the long haul. This strengthens coworker relationships, collaboration, and overall company culture.

3. Keep Projects Running Smoothly and Meet Deadlines Easily: A piecemeal technical team that is often short staffed or switching out employees will always have a hard time keeping projects running smoothly and meeting important deadlines. One of the best things about building a long-term technical team is that, due to reduced turnover, they can more easily make project progress on schedule and meet deadlines.

4. A Pool of Reliable Talent: A candidate for your open position may look qualified on paper but then show up and not really fit the job, especially if you’re working with subpar recruiters or no recruiter at all. Instead of struggling to find a pool of reliable technical talent who can get the job done right with minimal manager intervention, companies without long-term technical teams are forced to instate micromanager-like guidance over their less than reliable pool of talent. That creates a toxic work culture that turns off top technical talent and will send them running for the hills.

5. Deep Understanding of Each Other’s Work Styles: One of the hardest parts for new employees or teams who frequently change up their employees to adapt to is the differences in work style. No two people work exactly alike and the process of adjusting to and adapting to a new work style can slow down project progress and provide a lot of distractions at best or friction at worst. When you build a long-term technical team, they’ll have a deep understanding of each other’s work styles, making the process of collaboration a breeze. Managers will also get a deep understanding of each team member’s work styles and be able to play to their strengths or suggest areas for them to improve throughout their tenure.

Now that you have a better understanding of why building a long-term technical team is so beneficial, use the following 5 tips to build your own long-term technical team.

1. Hire for Cultural Fit: While you need to pay attention to each employee’s skills and experience during the hiring process, you shouldn’t forget the all-important evaluation process of their personality. Why? Because if you want to build a long-term technical team, you need to place importance on hiring for cultural fit as well as ability to perform the required tasks for each position. Camaraderie and effective collaboration go out the window if you hire someone who doesn’t play well with others or doesn’t fit well within the company culture you’ve created.

2. Train and Promote from Within: If you want to keep technical employees around for the long term, you need to give them opportunities to grow. This growth can come in many forms but the two most effective forms are training and learning opportunities and promoting from within. If a talented technical professional knows that they have a lot more to learn and have skills they can develop within your company, they’re more likely to stick around for a while. If they know they have the potential to move to a senior or lead or manager level role down the line, they’re more likely to stick around rather than looking for career growth elsewhere.

3. Offer an Effective Work-life Balance: Even the most dedicated technical professionals need a proper work-life balance if you want to keep them around long term. If you’re overworking employees, not offering enough flexibility in their schedules, or limiting the PTO available to them they may burn out and look for refuge at another organization instead of sticking around and building a reliable long-term team. Without work-life balance, your hopes of creating a long-term technical team aren’t sustainable.

4. Open Communication with Employees About Company Goals and Direction: Transparency and keeping technical employees in the loop on company goals and direction will go a long way when it comes to building a long-term technical team. Why? Because they’ll feel like they know what’s going on and will join in on the team, working hard to help the company reach those goals and new heights. Like a soccer team vying for World Cup victory, knowing the prize, the stakes, and the direction keeps a light at the end of the tunnel during particularly busy work seasons and keeps everyone motivated to perform to the best of their abilities.

5. Listen to and Value Their Ideas and Opinions: Technical professionals don’t stick around for the long term if they feel like their ideas, contributions, and opinions aren’t appreciated, valued, and heard. Plus, your long-term technical team could come up with awesome project improvements you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of. When they feel like they’re making a bit impact, talented technical professionals are more likely to stick around and feel intrinsically rewarded.

Companies who aren’t focusing on building long-term technical teams will experience increased turnover in the coming years as the IT unemployment rate continues to sit at incredibly low levels and open positions sit vacant for longer periods of time. Use these 5 tips to build the long-term technical team your company needs and reap the aforementioned 5 benefits (plus many, many more).