Companies are experiencing a painful talent shortage. This trend is only expected to grow as the Great Resignation continues upending expectations and overturning business norms. Recruiting talent, especially tech talent, is becoming more and more difficult. This has resulted in an environment where competition for skilled team members is fiercer than ever.

So, how do you keep your valued members invested in your organization when they see how competitive a candidate they might be for other roles? What’s to stop them from exploring their options when so many are available?

It Starts with Who You Hire

What considerations do you typically take into account when making hiring decisions? You likely weigh qualifications. Perhaps you test knowledge or ask for references. Do you attempt to identify which candidates are likely to stay the course? Are they merely searching for checkmarks on their resume, or are they genuinely interested in being part of a great team and helping to build something bigger than themselves?

If you begin by hiring well, it will set you on a better path to retaining your talent.

Flexible Work Options Are Important Now

As work environments shift and adjust to changes brought about by the pandemic, team members have begun to place greater importance on flexibility. They’ve begun to question whether they really need to do all their work between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Some might have found that they can be more productive working from 9pm until 2am, or they might prefer to wake up early in the morning. 

Other team members might not see the point in going to an office at all when they have everything they need at home.

It’s not that you must offer flexible work options, but you must have a conversation with your team members. Gather input and be open to suggestions. If you understand your team members’ work and what environment is most conducive to their needs, you can make better decisions. Even a change as minor as allowing people to work from home one day a week can have a huge impact on retention.

When people understand your choices and feel as if you’ve listened to them, they sense that their work environment is coordinated with their purpose.

Provide Clear Paths to Advancement

There’s a trend that occurs consistently throughout different industries and even countries. It holds steady during busts and booms. Most management teams stumble badly when trying to develop their next generation of leaders. Senior managers tend to make misguided assumptions about their team members instead of engaging directly with them. Sometimes leadership takes actions that actually hinder the development of those in their teams.

When you don’t nurture and support your team members, they won’t stay. People want clear paths to advancement and opportunities for growth. Invest in training, communicate the steps and qualifications leading to promotions, and question your team members about their desired career paths.

Cultivate an Open and Honest Work Environment

The number one reason anyone remains at their job is because they feel there’s a culture of belonging. Most people want to be on a good team and appreciate when their organization is focused and purposeful.

It’s not enough to have a mission. Each team member must feel that they’re an integral part of that mission. This requires a culture devoid of toxic, competitive dynamics. As the leader, you must demonstrate open and honest communication, encouraging a culture of transparency where every member feels valued. 

This leads team members to feel they can share their own ideas and concerns without receiving any judgement. When work cultures are collaborative, all else being equal, people will want to stay.

Acknowledge That Work Has Changed

In order to retain talent, it’s also crucial to understand and acknowledge that work environments aren’t always going to stay the same. Insisting on doing things the same way that you’ve always done them sends a message that you’re more interested in control than adaptation.

People aren’t putting up with it anymore. They expect their leaders to collaborate with them on solutions. They want to contribute to creating a productive and exciting work environment.

It’s actually an amazing time to be a leader. While pay, benefits, and perks will always hold some value, people really want to participate in teams where they can feel good every day. They want to pursue their interests, contribute to organizations that align with their values, seek ways to grow, and make meaningful contributions.

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