Keeping Employee Attrition Rates Low in a Tight Market

As of 2016, tech industry turnover rate was 560,250 professionals per month, reaching a ten year high in the United States. With no sign attrition will naturally decrease, organizations are compelled to consider hiring and retention strategies that prevent the expensive turnover of their technical assets. The following strategies are those that achieve the best results.

Get Strategic about Hiring IT Consultants

On the surface, the decision between direct hire or contract employees might appear to have no bearing on your employee retention strategies. However, hiring an IT professional as a direct hire employee when the position should be contract can actually trigger employee attrition.

The most common reason IT professionals search for or take a new job indicates the subtle influence employment type can have on turnover. According to a Spiceworks survey, 69% of IT professionals leave their job to advance their IT skills. How many of those IT workers leave because of their own evolving technical interests versus a lack of sustainable technical challenges for them from the start? The exact number is hard to gauge, but the problem can be lessened by giving careful consideration to which positions are made direct hire and which are contract.

For example, if a position only requires a circumscribed skillset or does not provide many opportunities for technical growth, companies are often better off hiring IT consultants. That way, they can get the best performance out of a candidate while maintaining control over unexpected attrition. Contracts can always be renewed to meet ongoing needs. Plus, consultants are less likely to leave a position before a contract expires.

Use Management to Spark Engagement

Strong employee engagement often corresponds with higher employee retention rates. Tech employees who are energized by their daily challenges and work environment are less likely to seek out other opportunities. Yet companies cannot leave that level of engagement up to chance in the current candidate market. Management teams needs to be proactive about how they interact with IT professionals if they want to limit their employee turnover.

Gartner employee engagement studies show that managers who practice these habits are more likely to have a higher percentage of engaged employees:

  • Being Open and Approachable – The extent to which a manager makes his or herself accessible and available for feedback has an impact on engagement. At least 54% of employees who strongly agree that their manager is open and ... are engaged compared to only 2% of those who strongly disagree with the statement. When employees feel comfortable in their work environment, they are naturally more willing to explore new solutions and challenge old assumptions, further investing them in their work.
  • Setting Performance Goals – Giving proactive guidance to employees increases their engagement significantly. About 69% of employees who strongly agree that their manager helps to set... feel engaged compared to only 8% that strongly disagree. Not only do employees feel accountable, but they feel that their work is recognized when they hit those performance targets.
  • Focusing on Employee Strengths – Allowing IT professionals to engage in their strengths more regularly might seem obvious, but the results when done right are exceptional. Approximately 67% of employees who strongly agree that their managers focus on th... are engaged compared to 1% that strongly disagree. Managers who are conscious of their employees’ strengths not only garner the best ROI from projects, but reinforce the value of their work.

Recruit in Ways that Lower Employee Attrition Rates

The work of lowering employee attrition rates starts long before you hire an IT professional. The sourcing and screening process are indispensable to finding candidates from the get-go who will remain with your company for a longer tenure. The exact strategies will vary between companies based on their industry and culture, but the following tactics continue to prove successful for top tech companies:

  • Using Data in Your Candidate Search – Data on your workforce is an incredible resource for lowering employee attrition rates. Information on the source of candidates, historic levels of employee engagement, performance metrics, and other data can help to develop improved hiring criteria that predict who will remain with your company long-term. Hiring with predictive analysisnot only cuts down on attrition rates, but has the potential to improve employment overall.
  • Pipelining Candidates in Advance – Out of necessity, most companies are reactive rather than proactive with their hiring practices. They lack the time to engage in marketing and engagement activities with technical and cultural candidates prior to an immediate need. When they do pipeline prospects, often with the assistance of IT recruiting companies, they have better success eliminating candidates from consideration who will contribute to premature employee attrition.

Want to learn more about competitive hiring strategies that limit your future employee turnover? Get your free copy of 11 Hiring Tactics That Get Tech Companies the Best Talent, our eBook exploring the different hiring strategies that get the best long-term results.

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Comment by Keith D. Halperin on September 25, 2017 at 5:21pm

As long as a company has money to pay recruiters, a high attrition rate means job security for us.

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