How to Tackle Employee Retention Issues
As Richard Branson once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” In this period, post-covid, I have dealt with employers who have mentioned employee retention as a point of concern. Retaining staff is a huge challenge when market salaries levels keep going up, and employee’s are constantly bombarded with job opportunities.
While there are a few standard classic reasons for why one loses their employees, I conducted research to see if the expectations of employees in the IT market have changed over the course of the pandemic which has led to retention issues! I was surprised to see a few changes which are new, yet, are based on conventional ideas.
Coming out of covid, one significant change across the market is the wide acceptance of remote working models. As every employee has had the joy of working from home and saving time on the commute, our expectations have changed. With the onset of lockdowns, many employees moved and settled outside the main cities which not only allowed them to save money but also adapt to a better and maybe a more peaceful lifestyle. Organisations have also realised that, for the most part, productivity of employees has increased as there was a greater emphasis on comfort.
As things began to settle down and normalcy crept back into our lives, many companies tried to bring back the five days in office model, which received widespread criticism and has been considered the biggest threat to employee retention.
This brings up the famous question: Why go to the office, and spend money and time commuting back and forth when I can get work done from my comfort zone, at home? It is clear that a flexible work model is one of the major ways to encourage employees to stick to a company.
What's the best solution? A little catch-up with the team once in a while is a good team-building exercise. Hence, the hybrid model is undoubtedly the best, in my view.
Although there are debates around a 4 days a week work model or a fully remote model being the first choice, I believe that a hybrid model serves the best interest of both the employee and the employer.
With rising inflation and its effects on the standard of living, there is a significant rise of salary expectations all across the market. Today, employees either expect a generous increase in their current salary or are ready to switch jobs easily.
The market is so candidate-driven at this point that every employee feels empowered to demand a higher salary as they know they will end up getting it. In cases where they have 5+ years experience in any area across IT, they would be considered one of the most sought after candidates.
A quick revision of the current salaries for all the positions can be found here in our IT salary guide 2022.
It is interesting to see how benefit packages are being refined with each passing day. A decade ago, a yearly bonus based on performance, a pension scheme and maybe health insurance was all that the benefit package included. But today along with them there are lots more that an employee is offered.
Equity and shares for instance are very common part of a benefits package today and this benefit is offered not only to the management positions but is offered across all levels. So every employee today looks out for a share in the company and any company offering this immediately gets the preference of choice.
Based on my recent conversations with my candidates, I have come to conclude that a good benefits package is a package including a good number of holidays, a standard health insurance, a bonus of some kind or any reward/recognition structure and it motivates them to work harder to achieve them.
Even when candidates are interviewing, I have noticed a huge emphasis on the benefits and have also experienced candidates accepting one offer over the other based on the same! Benefit packages not only help an employer to retain their employees, it also helps to sell their company in this candidate driven market as the benefits package directly correlates to the company’s culture.
A company's culture plays a very important role in employee retention. We can clearly see how millennial employees are so out-spoken about preferring a flat structure over micro-management.
A flexible environment with autonomy to work on their own motivates employees to not only perform better but also stick to a company. Gone are the days when structured management was the classic form of an institution. However, if an organisation is relatively bigger, establishing a flat structure can be difficult.
It’s all about balance. An environment where every employee across any title, if treated equally, will undoubtedly perform well and remain loyal to their commitments, which will then result in better performance of the company as a whole.
Apart from the structure, the organisation needs to initiate ways to improve the work culture of the company as a whole. Fun activities, team-building exercises or any form of outings/gatherings with the entire team helps a company to improve the relationship between every employee which further makes work an enjoyable experience. Employers should always try to create an environment that looks after the well being and happiness of the employees.
It is very important for a company to grow with time. Growth and development of a company means there is a career progression opportunity for every employee working there. For IT companies specifically, keeping up with the latest technology gives their employees the opportunity to learn and upgrade their skills.
Having clearly defined career paths within an organisation is critical for retention. People want to see where they can get to and strive for. This is motivating and engaging. . If a job has no scope of progression, then an employee out of boredom tends to seek other opportunities.
Not only is career development important but also learning new things. Introducing the latest technology or methodologies into an organisation creates an exciting learning opportunity which in turn makes an employee stick with a company because knowledge and new skills are always welcomed. People want to be challenged and take on new responsibilities.
As an IT Recruiter, when I speak to candidates the one common question I ask is ‘why are you looking for a change?’ and all the answers I get are all based on the above-mentioned points. It's either a stagnant career or culture or salary and benefits or work model that makes a candidate lookout for other opportunities.