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Employee Retention Ideas

September 2017- By Erica Woods, Contractor and Community Relations Mananger, Principal

As the demand for strong technology professionals continues to increase, it’s vital that managers continue to focus on making their team “a great place to work” to retain current talent and attract new candidates in high demand. Below are some suggestions to influence your environment, reputation, retention, etc. Note that every person’s motivators and job satisfaction criteria are different. Soliciting input from team members via surveys, 1 on 1s, or meetings following a LEAN format will be the most impactful exercise to generate the best employee retention programs!


  • Compensation Package
    It will be incredibly difficult to attract talent, and then retain it, if your salaries and additional compensation aspects aren’t up to par. Have you done comparisons, or asked Rep/HR to run data on the market to determine if the salaries you offer are market rate? Do you offer any sort of bonus structure? How do you compensate employees who go above and beyond? What other special incentives could you provide?


  • Evaluate and Expand Training and Development Offerings and Mentor Program(s)
    Training and development, leadership, and mentorship opportunities are one of the top consideration criteria when candidates evaluate jobs, and strongly correlate to high job satisfaction. A study found that 91% of employees who were mentees believed their company’s level of interest in their development was strong and were twice as likely to stay at the company. Evaluate current training/learning offerings, and determine how you could expand on those. Seek input from your team. Options could include:
    1. Leadership development progrma
    2. Monthly/quarterly training breakfasts or lunches
    3. Technical training licenses
    4. Paying for conferences
    5. Supporting certifications
    6. Formal mentorship program


  • Make a “Social Investment” and Enhance Culture
    One study found that employees who felt they worked in a creative, inclusive, and collaborative culture experienced 76% job satisfaction. As a manager, consider “creating, fostering, and maintaining” a positive, innovative, and collaborative culture as a key job responsibility. Invest time periodically to evaluate state of culture, and identify one to two improvement opportunities. Seek and involve two to three senior team members who are strong team contributors and invested in team success.
    1. Could you be doing anything else to better orient, acclimate, and welcome new team members?
    2. How else could you make meetings more fun, collaborative, etc.?
    3. What sort of social events and/or team buildings do you currently set up?
    4. 4. Do you have team learning opportunities (i.e. a regular cadence such as a quarterly ‘Lunch n’ Learn’)?
    5. 5. What other fun social experiences could you offer your employees? Do you have an annual family-friendly BBQ? A holiday party? Start team traditions that employees look forward to!


  • Create Steering Committees
    People value teams and companies who consider their feedback and suggestions, and many of your best employees want to be part of the technical decision-making process and other improvement initiatives. Consider implementing committees to seek, evaluate, and prioritize input.


  • Provide Play Time
    A lot of companies are now offering employees “Play Time” where they can spend a certain amount of work time on pet projects, writing publications, working in a sandbox environment, etc.


  • Provide Time for CSR/Philanthropy/Tech4Good
    Purpose, especially feeling strongly about individual contributions, is a huge driver of job satisfaction! Giving back to their community, especially through skill-based volunteering, is a major motivator and contributor to enhanced purpose. Do you offer any time where employees could contribute to charitable initiatives or have charitable-focused team buildings? Many companies offer one to five days of ‘Philanthropy Time.’


  • Establish Sandbox Environment
    Especially for technical professionals, giving them the opportunity to play with new technologies or versions is a huge advantage and of high interest and value to them.


  • Implement a Recognition Program
    How do you currently recognize individuals? Do you celebrate accomplishments/milestones? Do you have a peer-to-peer recognition program? Employee of the quarter? Where could you acknowledge them (i.e. wall of fame, corporate newsletter, discussion board, big meetings, etc.)? If you have a ‘Culture/Team Steering Committee,’ task them with researching recognition programs, presenting two to three recommendations and rolling out a program.


  • Facility/Environment
    An instant appeal is the quality of the facility and the perks of working at that site. A trend has been sprucing up locations with things like free coffee/tea and food, gyms, patio areas, game rooms, open and modern work spaces, white board walls, etc.


  • Increased Flexibility and Work/Life Balance
    Do you offer any flexible schedule arrangements, remote work, or condensed workweeks? Could you offer after employees reach a certain tenure? Some sort of flexibility in when and how employees work is a huge benefit and motivator, especially amongst millennials! A study found that 88% of employees want a flexible schedule and 75% want some sort of remote work option.


  • Improved Sense of Meaning and Purpose
    A feeling that their work is making a difference is a major motivator to top employees. Ensure employees understand the contributions their role is making. If mundane, see if there are any other tasks you could add to their plate to increase the overall purpose. Make sure the connection is clear consistently on how their efforts are making a positive impact on the organization and its macro goals and initiatives!


  • Innovation
    Is your organization, group, or team considered innovative? Are you using newer technology stacks? Are you considered an early adopter of technology? In the technology world, working with newer approaches and technologies is imperative to retaining strong technology talent! Do a pulse check on what you’re using, and how you’re doing it against the industry trends, and strategize on ways you can add more innovation.

In summary, evaluate your team and what you offer, and determine ways you can increase satisfaction for your team.

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