Stay Ahead of the Curve

Thought I’d write a quick post about employee attraction and retention in Tech companies – meant to relate to technical hires (since this is what I know about!).

Common Reasons Technical Employees Leave Their Job…

  • The company is directionless/failing/weak leadership
  • The company does not care about technology and ‘doing things right’
  • The projects have become repetitive and boring
  • The employee is not getting the chance to use a technology they love
  • The employee sees no progression potential and feels unrecognised
  • Logistical issues – money/location/commute

How Can You Counter These?

#1. Business Plan

This both relates to you wider business, and the employees’ career path within it.
If you’re a start-up, you need to have a clear business plan which is founded on facts and research rather than just enthusiasm and passion. Whilst start-ups are always risky, you will significantly minimise the risk for prospective employees if you can prove your idea has legs and you’re taking it in the right direction. You need to have an idea of where funding is coming from and be honest with your staff about this.
If you’re an established company business plan is as, if not more, important. You can’t rest on your laurels, and must demonstrate how you intend to keep your offering fresh in the face of competition. Increasingly, start-ups will spring up to fill the gaps in your business model so, the more you grow, the more you need to demonstrate you’re constantly improving your business model and remain receptive to industry changes. Companies whose business models do not change to reflect the trends in technology (for example, those who remain driven by Waterfall workflows and can’t become agile) will find it very difficult to attract top talent.

#2. Technology

Where possible, take risks with interesting and new technologies in order to make sure you’re always using what is most relevant and efficient. This is obviously easier for smaller companies than for large ones with established platforms but, saying that, I have clients with teams of over 60 developers who are experimenting with a variety of new technologies and in some cases totally rebuilding their platforms to better cater to market demand. Obviously this is also dependent on your budget and agenda, but one of the best ways to attract top talent is to demonstrate you are heavily investing in new technology.
Top developers want to work for companies where coding standards are a priority and where they can continue to improve themselves and innovate.
It isn’t always possible or desirable to move away from your current platform, but successful tech companies engender a community around their brand and innovate outside of their day-to-day work. You could encourage employees to work on their own projects every Friday afternoon, or collect suggestions for an experimental project that the whole team will then vote on and build together. Even if you’re unable to innovate on your current stack, encourage innovation.

#3. Listening and Responding

In the best companies, process is not more important than people.

Process has its place, but attracting good people will yield far more in the long-run. Listen to everybody in your business and encourage them to voice ideas – create a democratic, meritocratic environment, not a dictatorship.
Hire strong Technical Leadership, and listen to them. Encourage pay reviews that are suggested by the employees, not the manager. I see so many times people who leave because they feel undervalued and underpaid, and this is such an avoidable problem.
You should build your business around your talent, not the other way around.


Message me if you want to chat more about anything I’ve written! 

I’m on char.poynton@gmail.com      

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