Act Now to Retain Your IT Staff Before its Too Late
As we race towards the end of a somewhat eventful 2020, we’ll soon be bracing ourselves for the annual surge in people all over the country reflecting and deciding to change jobs. Twice a year, in January and September (ish), people return to work following a break with new-found and ambitious plans to further themselves and their careers. With less than a month to go before Christmas, here are some immediately actionable IT staff retention ideas highlighting what to address before it’s too late.
Job Role Growth and Progression
It is human nature that we want to better ourselves. The strive for growth is a natural progression all employees go through during their careers. It would be unrealistic to expect an employee not to toy with the idea of moving on to a better position, whether it be within your company, or elsewhere, no matter how loyal they are. Internal flexibility is a favorable attribute that, if you have the means to implement, is likely to enhance employee retention.
This is the idea of being open to moving employees around and letting them find their talents and discover what they are best at. You may find that an employee you originally placed in one role, finds their niche and performs to a higher standard elsewhere just by giving them some flexibility to try their hand at new projects. Obviously, it is not always possible to offer that level of flexibility to employees, depending on the size and scale of the business. In this case, challenge your staff, and provide them with a higher level of responsibility. This will alleviate the tedium and create a feeling of purpose and worth.
Although it may be frowned upon by some employers, it should come as no surprise when people say they would prefer to work only standard or flexible hours so that they can spend more time focused on other commitments.
It can be easy for employers to overlook the bigger picture – a poor work-life balance will not only impact employee but their spouse, family and many other aspects of their life. According to the Mental Health Foundation, over a quarter of employees in the UK feel depressed due to their work-load, and a further 58% feel irritable because they struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Workload plays a significant part in employee satisfaction and ultimately can influence an employee’s decision on whether they stay or leave. Projects are often time-oriented, do not assume that if an employee continues on with tasks beyond scheduled working hours that it is because they love their job and want to be there, which of course can be the case, but not in all instances. A feeling of pressure will profoundly impact upon an individual and force them into working beyond their contentment. If an employee is showing signs of stress and continue working beyond what is expected of them, then perhaps it is time to discuss with the individual ways to manage their time more effectively.
Lack of Recognition
Measuring how appreciated an employee feels is one of the most difficult things to gauge, but one of the most important. According to a recruitment survey conducted a few years back, a simple “thank you” to your employees is worth £1,608 a year. Lack of recognition or appreciation can cause an employee to feel undervalued and unsure of how they are performing, which can ultimately lead to anxiety and stress. People perform to a much higher standard when they feel valued and a boost in confidence can have a staggering impact on the standard of work produced by your employees. If you are finding that employees are disengaged, yearly appraisals simply will not suffice. Higher engagement levels will greatly benefit both you and your employees. Making small alterations such as implementing an open door policy, and setting goals and targets for your staff to reach, will get conversation flowing, and feedback and recognition can be easily carried out.
“The Job wasn’t what I expected”
This is the age-old tale of someone who has taken a job with certain expectations, and has been left feeling disappointed, or worse, misled when the role they undertook was not as it was expected to be.
As a recruitment agency, when we ask why people are looking to move, a large number respond with “the job didn’t meet my expectations”. Often the problem is that the job description that was presented to the employee doesn’t match the role. The ambiguity of a role prior to an employee starting with your company can be far more critical than you would anticipate. People place a large amount of trust in the employer to provide them with the most accurate depiction of what they will be undertaking as part of their new role. Often it can simply be that the employee has misunderstood the job role, however, sometimes the employer has deliberately misled them into a job.
To prevent your employees from making a move, take measures to ensure that they have a clear picture of what is expected of them. If you have a resentful employee, address it now before the situation becomes irreversibly toxic.
Training and Development
If someone is feeling dissatisfied with their ability to complete their duties due to lack of knowledge, satisfaction levels will suffer and you are likely to lose them from your team. Providing training and development at work poses great benefits to both you and the employee. It is crucial in keeping your employees engaged while, at the same time, benefiting you with duties and tasks being completed to a greater standard. Enhancing knowledge through the appropriate training will increase confidence, and ultimately help you to retain staff. It will give the employee the opportunity to address weaknesses and to improve on those weaknesses before they make the decision to leave on their own accord.
The bottom line – ignore these things at your peril. It can be easy to miss the red flags, especially if you have a large team, however, staff job satisfaction is an emotional issue and requires an emotional, empathic response. Best advice would be to assume that everyone might be dissatisfied and to explore everyone’s situation equally. Tackle it now and you stand a good chance of cooling your staff’s motivations to leave.