It’s difficult to argue that there’s a faster-growing industry than technology.
Technology, by definition, is the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. We live in a world in which knowledge is power; we’re inundated with information daily from our smartphones, social media, podcasts and television, all of which are competing for our attention. So it’s no surprise that when it comes to a technical career, people jump when they find themselves in a stagnant, easy and unmotivating role.
Tech employees want to work for a company that stands out from others. It’s 2017. If you run a tech company, you’re competing with names such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and Expedia, to name a few. It’s very common to meet someone who, for example, started at Microsoft then jumped to Amazon, worked for a startup and then returned to the corporate world at Expedia. They’re constantly chasing the next big thing and when they find it, they soon grow bored because within a few months their competitor has launched an even better product or service.
If you’re reading this and think “I’m not in the tech industry so this doesn’t apply,” think again. While your industry may not be considered “tech” now, it soon will be (or should be!). Retail, healthcare, energy, education, manufacturing, government and finance are all turning into “tech” jobs. It’s the future. And if you don’t get onboard, your job will soon be nonexistent.
If you’re an employer in the tech industry, studies show it’s a struggle to keep your employees for more than a year. And we all know, 2 years in tech is like 10 years in other industries. So how do you keep your employees happy and wanting to stay at your company?
At Blueprint, we combat this behavior by focusing on our why. Every project we take on, every employee we hire, every internal message we send, we ensure we’re in alignment with our mission and core values. The four core values are not just words displayed on a poster in a rarely used conference room, nor are they only referenced on a PowerPoint deck when you first get onboarded, which I’ve witnessed at other companies. Our mission and core values are our north star. They’re what guides a company of 600+ employees and help us with our strategic planning, identifying which initiatives to deploy, and reminding us why we do what we do.
Research shows when a tech employee joins a company purely based on their skillset alignment or fit to a role, they most likely will leave within one year of joining. But if an employee joins a company because they’re passionate about what the company is doing, and they believe in what the company believes in, you’ll gain an individual who will dedicate their heart to the company. When this happens, attrition no longer becomes a dynamic metric and therefore becomes irrelevant. Purpose, initiatives, engagement and culture can then remain the company’s top priorities, as they should be from the start.
If you lead a company, team or even a morale committee, consider your company’s why. When values and beliefs are actively managed, trust is maintained. It should start with your CEO or President being able to articulate this clearly, effectively and on a recurring basis. Then, the next level of leadership in the company will soon be communicating the same messaging and the trickle effect begins. When this happens, various departments starting with Recruiting, HR and Marketing, can help deploy various programs both internally and externally to extend the company’s mission. These programs, if created with careful consideration, can help provide unique and meaningful ways for employees to get engaged and reassure them that they truly do belong to your company’s culture. They stay motivated and inspired.
At Blueprint, we’ve launched several programs that tie to our why: our Innovation Cup, an internal contest where teams at all levels join together to collaborate and create something extraordinary. Our Next Big Thing Happy Hour, an afternoon dedicated to discussing what the next big thing is for particular industries or technologies. Our Internship program, intended to offer challenging, real-world experience to college-age individuals with great potential. And lastly, our Mentorship program, an internal matching program that provides all employees the opportunity to seek out a mentor or be a mentor. All of these programs speak to our why and continue to provide our employees opportunities to get involved and invested in the company.
So, instead of asking “how can I prevent employees from leaving our tech company?” consider “how can I continue inspiring employees?” You’ll open yourself to an entirely new perspective and your employees will be the first to benefit, then your customers and then the company’s stakeholders.