Why You Can’t Hold on to Your Top Tech Talent

With the best will in the world, hiring managers often mis-sell what the role and responsibilities will be.

Many think hiring the right tech employee is the most rigorous stage of the process, but in reality, hiring is just the first hurdle. Employers also will need to support, motivate, and help employees develop in order to retain them. Although companies face a few common pitfalls with employee retention, they also can apply a variety of tactics to lower the chances of their top tech talent looking for jobs elsewhere.

The Inadvertent Mis-Sell

This is probably the most common reason that comes up when speaking to candidates about why they are looking to leave their existing technology role. With the best will in the world, hiring managers often mis-sell what the role will be. The reality for employees upon joining is that the work they are doing is nowhere near what was offered in the interview process. An opposite scenario also can happen, with the leadership team expecting too much from new employees, with the tasks from the role outweighing what actually can be delivered. This can be due to resources, infrastructure, data, and politics, among other things.

If your business wants to bring new employees into a new sector, make sure your leadership fully understands what this means and what new employees in this sector need to be tasked to do. That includes understanding what needs to be done to be successful, and what success in this space actually looks like for your business. If you don’t know this, it’s a good idea to task your first hires in a new sector with setting this strategy out—which means making sure they have this experience.

Getting organized and aligned here is going to help you recruit, too. It’s a major red flag for candidates to get a loose answer when it comes to their potential employer explaining the details of the work they will be doing.

Command and Control

By nature, new employees—and specifically tech employees—tend to be curious and creative. If you box them in and don’t let them flex their creative muscles, they’re going to feel stifled.

Even if you are a cutting-edge company, make sure your team has the ability to impact and contribute to your overall goals. Regardless of your business, don’t hire smart people and tell them what to do—let them tell you.

“Once You Stop Learning, You Start Dying”

People generally aim to be lifelong learners. Prioritizing learning will be important—both for individual professional development and ensuring your functions don’t get left behind. This is a two-way street: Invest in making sure the team is always learning and up to date on the latest trends, and, in turn, not only will your peers feel valued and be more likely to stick around, they’ll be better equipped to contribute to your product or service.

You don’t always need to think technical skills here—all learning is relevant and sometimes the “softer” skills more so.

The Generation Game

A footnote, not to be overlooked, is the generation your employees sit within. Currently mostly Millennials, the labor market soon will be awash with Generation Zers, so do your homework on what they value.

Generation Z has yet to dominate the labor market, and as such, thoughts on what they will value in the workplace are still to be defined, but there are a couple of safe bets. First, after growing up in a world that has seen a global recession and political turmoil, they need stability. Additionally, we know they are digital natives and are going to expect more cutting-edge equipment—asking them to use an outdated laptop would be similar to handing them a typewriter.

This may feel like a lot of effort for a new hire, but in the foreseeable future, this will be extremely important when looking to retain talent. With the constant stream of recruiters calling, there always will be someone willing to go that extra mile, so consider appealing to what this population values from a culture and development perspective and not just their wallet.

Kaylee Parkinson is the People and Culture manager for SparkBeyond EMEA . She has a background in people programs, business partnering, and recruitment. SparkBeyond is an AI-powered problem-solving platform that generates enriched insights that drive action and impact.

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