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Many companies struggle to retain their talent, but there is an easy solution: invest in training. I talked to Richard, Director of Tech at Publicis Sapient to see how employee retention techniques centre on training, progression and investment.
How much does it cost to hire a new employee? If you’re in the development field, you’ll know that it can be pretty expensive to find the right employee to fill your vacancy. Some estimates put the average cost at £3,000 per new hire.
You would expect organisations to make a lot of effort to retain as many staff as they can to offset this substantial cost, but you’d be wrong. Staff turnover rates in the technology sector average at 18.3%, according to Monster.
So how can companies improve their staff retention rates?
In a recent conversation with Richard Bultitude from Publicis Sapient, I discovered the answer: training and investment.
Developers are ambitious, are hungry, they get up in the morning because they want a new challenge, they need to work on something interesting. - Richard Bultitude
If you struggle with staffing, the reason could be that your staff don’t feel valued. Without the motivation to continue, staff will seek out better opportunities elsewhere.
Motivation can come in lots of shapes and sizes, including the offer of promotions and opportunities to improve. It’s about empowering your employees to get better at their jobs. Ultimately, if you invest in training opportunities for your staff, they’ll feel more valued and will deliver better work for your company.
We have two promotion rounds in a year, so you don’t have to wait for too long to be promoted. We encourage people and their managers to use our career framework document. If people are really engaged in it, and they’re given the opportunity and responsibility to make decisions, they’re more likely to stay. - Richard Bultitude
The reasons why companies might be averse to training junior employees are varied, but one of the main reasons is that they believe juniors are more likely to leave.
However, Richard believes that this isn’t entirely the case. In overseas markets where Publicis Sapient has a presence, like India, Richard explained that although competitors might offer higher salaries, many juniors stick with Publicis Sapient because of the unrivalled training opportunities. Because Publicis Sapient invests in its employees, it simultaneously solves the staff retention problem while acquiring better, more skilled employees.
Richard was keen to point out that those companies who don’t train their staff are effectively saying:
We’re not training our people to do a better job for us. - Richard Bultitude
The answer for your company? Invest in specialised training opportunities for your staff to retain junior staff. Richard also noted that well-trained juniors go onto become skilled and loyal mid-level to senior staff, enriching your company for years to come.
We’ve invested a lot in grads and in junior developers, as we’re quite a large company we also have the infrastructure to cope with that. But I’ve also worked in smaller companies where they were taking some juniors. I suppose the smaller the company, the higher the risk, because every junior needs to learn from someone, and it can take quite a lot of a manager’s time to do it. But for companies of 100+ employees, I really can’t see why you wouldn’t hire juniors, I think you’d make a problem for yourself if you don’t.
Small companies have an alternative now: they can delegate this mentoring part to companies like React GraphQL Academy which provides public Bootcamps and remote training to help upskill developers in specialized technologies, supporting them in a quick and effective learning.
Finally, even if juniors do leave, Richard noted that real investments in training are hard to come by. If your company offers specialist training, juniors may come back to your company to enhance their career prospects and feel more valued.
Some companies are afraid of training their employees, especially when it’s about training them in high demand technologies like React and GraphQL. Those companies think that after the training, the developers would leave for better opportunities.
If developers don’t progress, they might want to leave, because they’re not moving forward. I can think of quite a few cases of the people we have now, who are still here because we believed in them, and we invested in them. - Richard Bultitude
We wanted to test this ourselves so we've posted a poll on Twitter to hear some other employees’ opinions. Looks the majority wants to either progress in their career and knowledge, or they look for a new job, something fresh that can open up more possibilities.
There are also cases in which people leave and then they come back, if they know your company offers career growth and training.
The point we’re trying to make is: the company who offers the best support and growth is more attractive to developers, who’re more likely to stay.- Richard Bultitude
Publicis Sapient employees attended several training sessions with React GraphQL Academy. I asked Richard how our own training sessions have specifically helped with staff retention. Turns out, our training has helped in four key ways:
1. Our training has helped to enhance a culture of collaboration within the team and improved overall value
2. Our training gave Richard’s staff the space to ask questions to help enhance work and encouraged project experimentation
3. Our training nourished Richard’s team, helping employees in terms of personal and career growth
People appreciate the investment and social aspect of training. Richard said it ‘absolutely helps’ in retaining staff.
So the only thing we have left to say is: what are you waiting for?
Training and general investment in your employees is one of the best ways to improve employee retention for your organisation. React GraphQL Academy has years of experience delivering specialist training on a basis to suit organisations of all sizes. To find out more about our range of trainings, Bootcamps and workshops, simply get in touch with our friendly team today.
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