So You’ve Bagged Top IT Talent – Now How Do You Keep Them?

  • February 3, 2020

In case you haven’t heard – and we’ve been banging on about it enough that you certainly should have – there’s a war for talent happening in most sectors in the UK, and tech is certainly feeling it.

One of the hardest battles to win in this war isn’t even attracting the right candidates. The true battle is keeping them once they’ve signed on the dotted line.

According to LinkedIn, IT professionals receive twice as many InMails as mere mortals. Software engineers receive even more – up to 2.5 times as many in fact. So we aren’t over-egging it when we say the competition is truly fierce – and it’s not just your employees with long service history you need to worry about – even your fresh meat is fair game.

What’s to stop your new hire being poached before they’ve even passed their probation?

Losing a recent hire before they’ve completed a decent length of service is going to cost your business in multiple ways.

  1. You’ve stopped looking for new candidates, missing out on potential talent you could have been someway through the recruitment process with already.
  2. You’ve potentially paid a fee depending on whether the hire came direct or through a recommendation or recruitment firm. Depending on the terms negotiated with the recruitment firm, and the length of time your new hire stayed with you, you might not get all or any of it back.
  3. You’ve spent time, money and resources onboarding and training your new hire. Having to repeat these processes will affect your cost per hire metrics when you have to make multiple hires for the same position.
  4. You’ve lost out on commitment and ROI from this hire, and there’s probably a forward-reaching effect on productivity as frequent staff turnover is demoralising in many ways.
  5. You need to start the ball rolling again, potentially from scratch as any candidates you were considering alongside the lost hire will likely have moved on.
  6. You need to now duplicate all these costs with a replacement.

So how do you keep your talent once you’ve recruited it?

Since the hard costs of replacing a staff member can be as high as six to nine months of their salary, decreasing turnover and increasing tenure pays dividends. Here are our top tips for how to ensure your employees, new and old, can avoid the temptation of your competitors’ persuasive voices in their inboxes.

1.  Provide opportunities for learning and advancement

Create a culture that develops and promotes from within. Provide training programmes, make it a priority to develop and grow your own talent, and make this advancement visible and achievable through your entire organisation.

2.  Solve your employees’ existential crises

Millennials are notoriously looking for the meaning of life through their jobs. They want to feel purposeful, and 6 in 10 people fitting in the generation Y bracket claim they work for their current employer because of the “sense of purpose” they get from the job. This strongly relates to how listened to and valued your employees feel, and how much they feel their views, opinions and perspectives influence how your business operates.

3.  Develop your employee’s leadership skills

There’s a saying that people leave managers, not companies – and there’s a lot of truth to it. An American study showed that 75% of employees claim that dealing with their direct line manager is the most stressful part of their job, and half of the people who have a poor relationship with their boss claim they will be looking for a new job because of it. Developing great people managers will help you protect your workforce and improve tenure.

4.  Consider a mentorship programme

Mentoring is a strategic people management and development tool that has been proven to attract and retain high-potential talent and achieve leadership development in both mentors and mentees. Mentoring is a hugely powerful employee engagement tool that can transform an organisation’s culture into a collaborative and mutually supportive one, where goals of individuals align with core business objectives.

A 2017 study that took place over 7 years showed that in organisations adopting a mentorship programme, employee retention rates climbed 69% for those mentoring and 72% for the mentees. That increased retention translated to savings of USD6.7billion in terms of staff replacement costs.

Improving employee engagement is easier said than done, but the pay off is huge

There’s a huge link between organisational efficiency, operational excellence and employee engagement. Frustrating processes and inefficiencies can quickly lead to a disengaged workforce, and nothing is more disheartening to a new recruit than new colleagues who’re less than enthused about their current work environment.

Through listening to your employees and making process transformation an open forum, you can craft workflows and create a working culture that speaks your employees’ language and makes them feel heard, achieving all of the above objectives.

Remaining an attractive employment prospect long after onboarding is the aim of the game in a fast-moving, highly competitive environment – you don’t need to just attract the talent you want but out-perform your competition to remain attractive to the talent you have.

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