We all know that the IT industry has a significant skills shortage. Consequently, there is more demand for IT skills and therefore retention policies are vital to prevent churn creeping upwards.
Flexibility policies are one component of a retention strategy. Zucker cites a survey that shows that 20% to 50% of employee turnover is because of burnout, and therefore flexibility needs to target a better work-life balance. Our IT space is often project based, where scope and deadlines get out of hand, resulting in long hours with little or no perceived appreciation from the employers. There is a lot a company can do to help
1. Success is a marathon not a sprint (despite the unfortunate Scrum pun).
2. Encourage your team to take their time off in sensible staggered way - How many times do employee's leave balances get out of hand and you end up forcing leave or paying it out? Neither option is good. We need to be proactive in leave planning and not make it a year end exercise.
3. Work distribution - Lumping all the challenging work on a few stars guarantees two things. The stars will burn out and leave and the others won't grow their skills.
4. Encourage a happy work-life balance - Managers and staff need to have a healthy work-life balance. Managers have to lead by example and encourage their teams to do the same
Fryer showed that Work From Home allowed employees to be more productive and less stressed whilst improving work-life balance, recruitment, diversity and retention. IBM have 45% of its 400,000 employees working remotely (Johns and Gratton).
However, such flexibility has its challenges. Middle management are known to be particularly resistant (Bloom) as managers often don’t believe someone is working unless they can see them (Gallo). Abuse can happen, especially if the program is poorly implemented but these issues should not distract from the overall benefit.
If you wish to chat about your career, please don't hesitate to email us and we will call you.