Finding talent is hard work, but sustaining it is even harder.
Companies, especially those in the tech sector, spend significant resources finding talented employees who are driven for success.
The finding process involves much tedious work in itself, from reading stacks of resumes to hours interviewing to determining compensation and making a final selection. Sometimes the wrong employees are hired and you’re forced to let them go and quickly find a replacement.
Other times (though, not often enough) the perfect employees are hired — the ones who check all the boxes of a rock star employee: They are disciplined, motivated for growth and make major impacts on the company’s bottom line.
These are the employees your company obviously wants to retain. But with competitors constantly poaching and other opportunities arising, the most valuable employees often leave.
How do you retain the exceptional employees? Here are six essential tactics that my companies — UM Technologies and Taylor Consulting and Contracting — have used over the years to retain top talent in the software sector.
1. Quarterly Progress Reports
Many businesses perform annual employee performance reports, but much goes on throughout the year. Instead of letting an entire year lapse without feedback, create quarterly progress reports.
This shows that you are interested in your employees’ performance and are willing to provide assistance where needed or give recognition where deserved. A positive quarterly review will provide an incentive for employees to outperform themselves throughout the year instead of weeks before the reports are scheduled.
2. Proper Mentors
Pair your employees with the proper mentors. This process begins with hiring an optimal leadership team. If you have a good VP, pair a director with him or her. Follow this down the chain until every employee has a suitable mentor. Cultivating mentor relationships supports the growth and development of your staff.
3. Constant Education And Development Training
Education and training should not focus exclusively on your employees’ particular positions. For example, your software developers should be fully educated on the latest in coding languages, but they may also need improvement outside the scope of their jobs, such as time management, supervisory training or communication skills.
Companies that not only provide education on the tasks at hand but in regard to personal development will have more satisfied employees. It’s not only about the work — a fulfilling personal life means a more satisfying work life.
4. Influence Open Communication
The best companies have open communication among everyone, from the CEO down to the employee who does the most basic functions. Create software that allows for complaints/recommendations, and make it clear that no disciplinary action will be taken regardless of how intense the conversation gets.
Fostering open lines of communication has helped UM Tech and Taylor Consulting and Contracting with internal office conflicts that upper management was unaware of. Employees may not always be in the most suitable positions or some may have personality conflicts with their fellow coworkers. Having open communication helps resolve such issues. It also gives employees a more authoritative voice within the company, which helps them feel valued.
5. Learn All Elements Of The Business
The more an employee knows, the better. Some of the world’s largest companies, like Salesforce, start new hires in other positions such as in the call center. If you’re hiring software developers, assign them to do some training with top customer service and salespeople. This will provide them with more knowledge about customer needs and wants as well as company expectations for its staff. An overall understanding of company operations will increase efficiency and improve the progress of their software development
6. Finally, Compensation
The best talent is not cheap. If you have stars on the team and want to retain them, then pay them well. Base salary should be on par with your top competitors, and always sweeten the deal with performance and holiday bonuses.
Remember this also when hiring. Some companies find it more beneficial and less expensive in the long run to find mid-level talent with the drive to succeed and develop that talent with ongoing raises. Otherwise, if you’re hiring based on stellar human capital, the entry salary may be extremely high.
You don’t want to lose talented team members. Hiring and training employees only to have them leave is expensive and time-consuming. Most entrepreneurs experience this too often in their careers. Some simple tactics like the ones above can vastly improve retention of the top players. Take notice of who is making a difference in your company. Keep them satisfied so they can keep making that difference.