4 Strategies For Retaining Quality Talent In The High-Tech World

Asaf Darash is the founder and CEO of Regpack, an online payment management platform. He holds a Ph.D. in New Media.

The “Great Resignation,” rising inflation and growing concerns over another recession have rocked the talent market, especially in the technology industry. With so much demand for digital skills, tech workers are becoming ever more selective about which companies they work for. In an attempt to be adequately staffed and retain staff, business leaders are aggressively searching for tech experts, causing serious competition in the marketplace.

According to a Gallup study, the cost for companies to replace an individual employee adds up to roughly one-half to two times their annual salary. The biggest components that impact this expense are the loss of expertise and the time it takes to onboard new employees. In some cases, multiple new hires may be needed to replace one talented worker, adding tens of thousands of dollars to your turnover bill.

4 Ways To Retain Tech Talent

As a business owner in the tech world, I know how vital retention is for stability and productivity. At my company, Regpack, we have an inside joke: “Once you’re in, you’re never out.” This should be the norm in the high-tech world, especially among startups. To adopt this mentality, here are four tips.

1. Let your employees fly.

According to a study conducted by Rockbridge, employees reported higher job satisfaction (87%) when working for a company they perceive as highly innovative. The higher their satisfaction, the more likely they are to stay with the company a year into the future. But how do you continue to create new ideas and add fuel to the innovative fire? Simple: You don’t. Your employees do.

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Employees can be the root of your innovation and growth—if you let them! People want to create, be part of the bigger picture and feel meaningful. This can be in the form of setting up new processes, suggesting improvements or deciding their work hours and methods of communication with team members and clients.

The bottom line is you need to let go, which can be easier said than done for executives. Mistakes will happen, especially as employees are learning to trust themselves, but eventually, you will see a surge of ideas, innovation and renewal in your company. Moreover, when you give your employees the ability to make and execute decisions, they’ll realize how much they matter.

2. Get everyone involved in goal setting.

Most managers think they need to oversee their employees to ensure they’re actually working, arriving to work on time, performing, etc. No one likes being treated like a child. For happy, empowered and productive employees, transition from monitoring actions to monitoring outcomes.

When working with your leaders and their teams, share the goals they’re expected to reach and how those goals will ultimately benefit the company. Hold regular meetings with managers and teams to review metrics and monitor progress toward their goals. This will enable you to figure out what’s working and how to help them stay on track. These collaborative outcome-focused meetings will foster innovation and help employees remain accountable. Now instead of a few big thinkers in the company, everyone is an innovator.

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3. Realize that you don’t know best.

No one knows your business better than you do. You know how to move your business forward and adapt to challenges. And just like you know what’s best for your company, your employees know best when it comes to their roles.

If you want to run a successful business, don’t tell your employees what they need—ask them! For example, they’d know better which education courses would help them fill skill gaps or what type of support they need to reach their goals. You will be surprised at how much your employees grow when they are empowered to speak up.

4. Learn to overlook biases

In the hiring phase, leave the biases to others. When interviewing, imagine your camera is off, and the voice you hear is computer generated. If you can do that, you’ll see the qualities of the person rather than a set of attributes disconnected from the role they would hold. The result: You will get the best person for the job. The long-term outcome will be a company that fosters excellence and innovation based on merit and ability.

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Some will say a blind hiring approach will give privileged groups the advantage. But I find that this is only true if you allow yourself to be biased against the traits you need to overlook. If you base hiring decisions purely on skill, personality and credentials, your workforce will naturally diversify. Once these new employees are welcomed onto your team, that’s the time to acknowledge and celebrate every unique thing they bring to the table.

A McKinsey report found that gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to financially outperform less diverse companies—specifically, companies with 30% more women. The report also found ethnically diverse companies to be more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts by 36%. This kind of performance happens because these companies function on egalitarianism, which will consistently outperform prejudice.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts self-actualization at the top of the pyramid, and talented people look for that in everything they do. Companies that embrace their employees as individuals who are creative, responsible and want to contribute are the ones that will attract and retain top talent. By adhering to this belief, you will help ensure your company stays filled with productive, happy people.

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