Keeping Good People

In the world of IT it can be challenging to keep good people. The demand for skilled developers and other IT professionals is booming and more companies are upping their game and offering better perks and “à la mode” cultures to match those of the bigger companies such as Airbnb, Google and Facebook, to name but a few.

With this demand come the vultures, circling outside your building ready to dive on any employee that shows any sign of doubt or itchy feet. They use all tools available to them including things like LinkedIn or even trying to smart their way past the receptionist on the phone by coming up with some elaborate story of why they need to talk to so and so.

But when an employee does plan to jump ship, does throwing more money at them in the hope of retaining them actually work? Are you just delaying the inevitable? Is money really everyone’s first priority?

Obviously money makes the world go round and it’s always going to be high on our requirements, but it’s not what drives most people. A question worth asking yourself is “would you value an employee whose only motivation was money?”

Don’t get me wrong; money is high up there on our list. Many of us live to our means and become accustomed to a certain income, having mortgages, car loans, childcare outgoings, and if like me a healthy shoe obsession to keep funded.

However, when I look at my colleagues and those that apply to work for us, there are more important factors in keeping us satisfied and happy at work.

These are:

Job stability

Recently during interviews I’ve been asked more often about what customers we have, what’s our growth strategy and what are our long and short term goals. With Brexit driving further economic uncertainty employees are looking for stability.

Sadly, I’ve heard a number of times about employees taking a new job and then finding the situation quickly changes due to buy outs, new management and redundancies.

Additionally, particularly in smaller companies the rumour mill turns quickly. Ensuring employees have visibility of change and the goals and aspirations of the company will make sure you can control the information and message that gets put out there.

 Training and personal development

Structured personal development and training opportunities are a must for most career focused employees. Annual reviews are a great time to set clear objectives that meet the employee’s career aspirations but also follow the company’s strategic goals.

Employees can get caught up in the now and sometimes objectives get set aside so monthly reviews are a great opportunity to take the time to discuss how they are getting on, adjust objectives if their ambitions change direction and renew focus.

Having this focus and structure on personal development ensure that the employee feels they own their career progression and enables them to climb the ladder.

 Poetic licence

There is nothing a developer likes more than to be given free range to tinker with new technology and get the opportunity to do new things. Finding this opportunity for them to whet their creative appetite without high costs to the customer or high risks to us is a sure way of keeping developers happy. Well, that and lots of tea!

 Working environment

Ok, so I’m not saying you need to go installing a fireman’s pole or slide in your office for employees to get downstairs but having modern furnishing and an area for employees to get away from their desks really goes a long way to promoting employee well-being and productivity.

It’s also great to build relations within the team but sometimes team building exercises can feel forced and have little impact. Instead having an optional Friday lunch at the pub or activities such as games nights, climbing, laser quest or bowling have proven to have higher participation.

Participating in charity events such as ‘Giving Tuesday’, ‘Macmillan Coffee Mornings’ and maybe the local 10K race are also great opportunities to get everyone mingling whilst also raising money for charities. One of the favourites at PXtech is the Marie Curie Charity Quiz Night that always gets a large number of people putting their name in a hat to be part of the yearly team.

Most importantly don’t forget to celebrate events such as birthdays, marriages and births with a bit of cake!

In conclusion, never forget that while money is important, basing staff retention purely on wages gives competitors an easy target to beat when attempting to poach employees. By giving people multiple reasons to stay, woven into every facet of their work life, you can operate with much more confidence that employees are building a future not only for themselves, but as part of the company on a long-term basis.

Kerry Townsend, Director of Hospitality Business

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