10 Key Employee Retention Strategies In Tech
Goodbyes are dreadful. Especially, when they come one after the other—from your employees who joined just 6 months back.
“They are just running after a competitive salary.”
“They are just underperformers who don’t have the skills to work with us.”
“They weren’t ready to work 12+ hours.”
Excuses are lame when your employee churn rate is high. Many times, employees don’t leave for a higher paycheck or because they prioritize a healthy work-life balance. They leave because of unorganized company culture, failed growth, and hampered emotional health.
If you picture yourself in this scenario, it’s time to look back at your processes and create strategies that help you retain your existing employees.
In this article, we talk about:
- 10 employee retention strategies
- 4 employee-first businesses to take inspiration from
Employee retention strategies for job satisfaction
Ready to learn the strategies that wow your employees and help you build an ecosystem for employees where work would be fun? Keep reading.
Strategy #1—Create an interactive onboarding process
The next step after the new hire accepts the offer letter—creating a seamless onboarding process.
With an engaging onboarding process in place, employees feel included by the company.
In a general onboarding scenario, companies introduce new hires to the reporting manager, assign them tasks, and share the resources. But the right way to onboard employees requires more education and effort.
At HackerEarth, new hires are introduced to each department and the work they handle through weekly onboarding video sessions.
To make the onboarding process interactive at your company:
- Set up a meeting where you can introduce the new hire to all the different departments of the meeting.
- Give new hires access to all the relevant resources they need to accomplish their tasks. For example, get them to set up their company email ID and invite them to the company’s Slack channel where all the major communication happens.
- Provide interactive training and immerse the new hires into your work environment. To do this, assign training to team leaders of each department where they talk about how their department functions.
- Encourage the buddy system. With a buddy on the side, the new hire has someone they can rely on and reach out to every time they have concerns.
Strategy #2—Recognize your employees’ hard work
How do you support your employees when they deliver the work—appreciate them or highlight their weaknesses?
Here’s the thing: you don’t always need big paychecks to appreciate your employees.
For example, Dribble orders short cameos from celebrities to give a shoutout to employees for great work.
A few ways to show appreciation to your employees include:
- Check in with your employees regularly. Talk to them about non-work related things. A simple “how was your weekend” and listening to what they say is a great way to start.
- Celebrate their success with the entire team and highlight the things that you like about them and their work.
- Say thank you to make the employees feel happy and confident and to encourage them.
- Give them non-cash gifts. For example, sponsor a course they have wanted to take for a long time, take them to a fancy dinner, or gift them an exotic trip.
Strategy #3—Give your employees flexibility with their schedule
Along with the different work options, employees want flexibility in their schedules. They don’t want to continuously glare at their computer screen even in a remote job.
- Do they want to work remotely?
- Do they want to work from the office?
- Do they want to work from 9-5 or from 12 to 7?
- Do they want to take a break between work and drop their kid at daycare?
Sidenote: Offer your employees a flexible work schedule.
Here are three ways to introduce a flexible work schedule in your organization:
- Pick a 3-4 hour time slot when your employees are available—for meetings, messages, or time-sensitive tasks
- Offer employees the opportunity to swap one working weekday with a Saturday or Sunday
- Introduce the 4-day workweek policy
Strategy #4—Provide learning and upskilling opportunities
Companies with the motto to constantly empower learning for themselves and their employees grow effortlessly. But the sad truth? Only 40% of companies invest in upskilling their employees, according to a 2022 PwC survey.
By working with an organization, employees aspire for their financial and professional growth.
When you offer them upskilling opportunities, you strengthen their skills.
For example, Workday supports the development of its employees by leveraging its technology platform. In 2021, the company rolled out a skill-based HR strategy that allowed the employees to find their weak areas and work towards the specific skill by connecting them with opportunities within the organization—like gigs, new roles, or extracting skills from experts.
Just like Workday, you can offer upskilling opportunities to employees. Here’s how:
- Organize weekly or monthly training within your organization and invite experts from different departments to share their expertise
- Run educational workshops and invite external experts to share their expertise
- Sponsor a learning program for the employees based on their skills
- Buy an online course, watch it with your team and learn together
Strategy #5—Stick with remote work options
When Apple transitioned from working remotely to hybrid work, many employees started quitting their jobs. Why?
The hybrid policy of the company. In his letter to the employees, CEO Tim Cook shared that employees would be working from the office on set days—Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and can work remotely on the remaining days only if approved by their manager. He also mentioned that the employees will be permitted to work from anywhere for up to two weeks per year.
Because of this strict hybrid work policy, employees started quitting their job as they did not have a remote or location-flexible work option.
Employees love working remotely. According to Flexjobs’ employee engagement report, 48% of employers are maintaining some form of remote work for their workforce.
Bottom line? Remote work will continue to exist.
Even if your company is moving to a hybrid or in-office work model, give employees the option to work remotely.
When hiring for new roles, highlight the different work options in your job description and communication the new hires and employees can choose from.
Strategy #6—Be transparent with compensation packages
Who doesn’t love compensation? And competitive compensation packages play an important role in attracting and retaining employees. Here’s the proof: 55% of employees leave their job for higher compensation, according to Lattice’s SOPs report.
Many times, it’s the compensation package that makes the employees feel undervalued—because they feel their efforts haven’t been rewarded with the compensation they *actually* deserve.
So make sure you study the salaries other organizations are offering for the same role, check your budget, and roll out the salaries.
Strategy #7—Empower moonlighting
Picture this: your employee works as a web developer during the day and runs a small business selling handmade soaps at night.
Would you be offended at them for making extra income or be happy for them?
Moonlighting has gained momentum in recent times—but in a negative light. Saurabh Deep Singla, HR Officer of UpGrad notes:
We do not encourage moonlighting as it has a huge potential of distracting employees from their end goal which in our case is even bigger, as we work tirelessly to positively impact the lives of millions of our learners.
However, HackerEarth has a different take on this.
HR Director, Swetha Harikrishnan says,
Moonlighting is seen as a positive indicator for the hiring process or for attracting potential highly skilled talent. This also increases our pool for hiring and allows us to look for more neuro-diverse and passionate people. Organizations that continue to structurally resist this phenomenon could be at risk of losing out on that pool of diverse talent.
Employees who moonlight are passionate people and bring in multiple skills making them high-value employees. When employers support their choices, they feel valued and likely to work with the organization for a longer period.
But, the big question for organizations is how to support them while making sure they focus on their primary job too.
The solution? Create permissive moonlighting policies.
- Set expectations that the employee will consider their day job as the primary job and will not allow other jobs to interfere with the performance of their primary job
- Make sure the employee does not work with your competitor while they are working with you
- Make sure the employee does not reveal the techniques, strategies, and programs they learned in their company either to competitors or any other organization
- Make sure employees get approval from their employer to conduct their moonlighting work
Strategy #8—Provide job security by improving the turnover of the organization
Who enjoys being laid off? Literally, no one! Layoffs happen when the company is reducing business costs, or shutting down.
In both cases, one factor remains constant—company turnover. If a company’s turnover decreases, it impacts employees’ job security.
To make sure employees feel secure, focus on improving the organization’s turnover. For this, companies need their employees’ support. That’s why it’s crucial for companies to educate and be transparent with them.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Educate your employees on how their contribution can help in increasing the business turnover
- Implement open book management practice and share the organization’s financial information with the employees
Strategy #9—Practice two-way feedback
Two-way feedback makes space for the employer and employee to improve and grow together. With constructive feedback, employers and employees achieve two things:
- Employees: They know the weak areas they need to work on.
- Employers: They know how to make their employees’ experience better at the organization.
At HackerEarth, we ask for feedback from the new hires once they have completed their 15 days of working in the organization. They receive an email from HR and a notification from the bot on Slack where they have to fill out the survey—which they can do anonymously too. These surveys are conducted every month to keep a constant check on employees.
Doing this helps the HR team understand the employee’s experience in their early days.
To make sure the feedback culture keeps moving, encourage each department to give and receive feedback internally.
Here are a few ways how the internal team can conduct feedback:
- Ask your employees the “hero” questions to help them reflect on important moments and understand what it took to reach that point
- Run employee pulse surveys and anonymous QnAs to get your employees to share their ideas and concerns
- Conduct virtual town halls where employees can ask questions, share feedback face-to-face and offer solutions.
Strategy #10—Maximize performance management programs
With a performance management program, you help the underperforming employees polish and improve their weak areas so that they can perform better at work. This is a great way to uplift these employees instead of analyzing them over a one-month period and announcing whether they are the right fit for the company or not.
To ensure yielding the best results with a performance management program, here are a few best practices:
- Set goals with the performance plan. For example, based on the employee’s role, set a goal of 3 months to help them polish their skill
- Monitor the progress of the employee regularly
- Coach them and help them identify the areas they lag on and what steps they can take to be better
4 employee-first companies to take inspiration from
Here are 4 businesses that share how they have been building an employee-first company and community for their employees.
Motivosity: Form employee resource groups (ERGs)
One of the employee retention strategies that Motivosity supports is forming employee resource groups (ERGs).
Logan Mallory, VP at Motivosity says,
One way that we’re building a community where all employees feel safe and engaged is by creating many different opportunities for people to connect. We do this in the form of ERGs (employee resource groups) and activities. The activities are very good bonding opportunities where people can get to know each other as people rather than just coworkers. They also help to break down silos in the workplace, as they’re done company-wide rather than just team-wide. ERGs are another great way to create safe spaces for employees in the workplace because employees can choose to join groups where everyone has a shared interest.
The results we’ve seen from hosting activities and ERGs are increased employee engagement and productivity. Employee satisfaction scores also increased. When surveyed, employees felt that they were better able to connect with their colleagues as a result of these activities, and felt a stronger sense of community and belonging in the workplace.
Hable: Be vulnerable with employees
When leaders become vulnerable with their employees and show how they feel, think and function, employees get to know them better—which strengthens their bond.
Rosie Hall, Communications Manager at Hable shares the core values of her organization—honesty, and bravery—which has led them to build a safe space for their employees.
There’s something quite special about the culture at Hable. Honesty and bravery are two of our core values, which underpin everything we do. They’re regularly encouraged, with those who display them rewarded. I see the values in action all the time through the openness of my colleagues. But it starts with our leadership team.
Our leaders aren’t afraid to talk about their mental health issues or personal issues publicly to the rest of the business. If they’re struggling, or if something is going on with the family. Seeing that almost gives everyone else ‘permission’ to do the same. And it’s quite powerful really.
You’ll often see people opening up on public channels in Microsoft Teams or webinars about their struggles. We have this real top-down approach to well-being which creates a safe space for everyone.
Monterail: Supports emotional well-being
Supporting employees emotionally comes in different phases. You could check in with them by talking about non-work related things and their challenges.
According to the People’s team at Monterail, talking about employees’ challenges and things that may not be working well helps them build a safe space for their people. They further add.
We have created a so-called Trust Team within our organization, with dedicated team members to whom our employees can report any unwanted behaviors from others within our teams or our client’s team, and get these addressed and resolved. The Trust Team members will also step in and act on behalf of the person impacted by an undesirable behavior in case of discrimination, mobbing, or any type of harassment. We very proactively protect our team members against these situations and we have an anti-discriminatory policy in place to prevent any of them from happening.
As a company, we also have a mental health support program with our team members able to access free mental health services, including therapy sessions with certified therapists, psychiatrists, and career coaches. We also encourage openly talking about mental health issues, with our co-CEOs and C-level executives proudly promoting our mental health support program and talking about their struggles out in the open.”
Also read: 7 Ways to Reduce Burnout in Your Tech Teams
HackerEarth: Encourages diversity and inclusion
HackerEarth is an employee-first company that focuses on diversity and inclusion.
D&I is not just another number that our targets have to hit. It is baked into the DNA of our company. We believe inclusion should be placed at the heart of everything we do as a company. The culture here is inherently non-judgemental.
We fiercely champion the cause for LGBTQ+ inclusion from the front by giving our people the correct language to use, asking them to call out behaviors that are not ok, and educating and sensitizing others towards these behaviors. We have also partnered with an insurance company that provides coverage for same-sex partners. We believe in investing time, maintaining an open dialogue, educating people on ‘ally-ship’ and support – and not restricting their education to only the marginalized groups.
We also continuously modify our internal leave policies to better take care of our employees. We added 12 period leave days per year to our policy, which can be availed depending on how the employee feels. Our paternity leave policy has been extended from the usual 5 days to a month—our way of ensuring that our Hacksters and their families can experience the joys of parenthood without any hassles.
No more goodbyes…
You have all the employee retention strategies to build an employee-first ecosystem—focusing on giving back to their employees. Start small. Audit your ongoing processes and strategies and find the areas where you need to rework. Is it communication? Bonding with them? Giving work flexibility? Or, focusing on their emotional well-being? Once you find out the right answer, go back to the retention strategies you read above and start using them as a framework in your organization.
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