Keep Your Best Talent

Are Your Best People Quietly Looking for a Career Change? What You Can Do Now to Keep Them

It is human nature that people use the New Year as motivation to kick off life changes. In today’s business climate, in my twenty-plus years as a recruiter, I have never seen the velocity for career change for I.T. professionals as I do today.

JOB DIS-SATISFACTION DRIVERS: Although Wall Street is charging ahead like never before, the quality of work environment in many companies has depleted due to mergers and acquisitions, lack of communication from the top, lack of recognition of staff for a job well-done, lack of career-path vision for staff, wage stagnation, and generally “do more with less and get the product out the door, who cares about quality”.

SOOO: as a result, technical people who are really good at what they do are quietly seeking new places to work. Based on my conversations with software developers who are quietly seeking a job change, the biggest drivers of job dis-satisfaction today are lack of concern by management for the quality of code being released as well as an unrealistic workload, no vision from the top, irrelevant technology stack and a lack of opportunity to learn new skills. Great for me, bad for the companies that will lose these folks to their competition.

Here are effective ways to shore up the work environment and keep I.T. staff motivated:

  • FOR YOUR STAFF: Act locally and control the quality and tone/temper in your area. Even though things are crazy-busy, be the buffer between the pressure from the top and your team. Articulate the level of quality you are all striving for and encourage your staff to operate with a quality mentality even though there is pressure to deliver quickly. Make sure and articulate the vision for your team and how it ties to the vision of the company. Take your team to lunch, have frequent “sprint” huddles to check in with people and see how they are doing, just like you check in on their work. Keep your door open and walk around. Squash gossip or negativity and be vigilant in solving problems quickly. Challenge junior people with technical problems to solve, move people up as opposed to hiring someone new when you can. Assign mentors within the team to help train others. Celebrate successes and victories! Recognize people for their contributions often even just verbally.
  • FOR YOU: Keep yourself motivated by recognizing the impact you are making on your team and the good work they are doing. Keeping staff motivated during trying times is a great accomplishment and will help you grow as a leader. Celebrate your own small victories when people on your team overcome adversity, when they feel a sense of accomplishment by delivering quality products or services. Don’t be the manager that complains about the company or state of affairs to other managers. That spreads like a disease and does not do any good for anyone. Make sure you take time to get fresh air, exercise and restore your energy. Rely on your support network to have a sounding board. Find a mentor who can provide perspective for you during tough, trying times. Breathe!

If you lose someone really important on your I.T. team and need an experienced, well-connected recruitment firm to tap into the network of those who are quietly seeking a change, email me!