What I am doing to build and retain my team

What I am doing to build and retain my team

If you read my last post, you know how the current tech job market is super weird. If you haven’t, give it a quick read. It will only take you 4 minutes. This weirdness is impacting me along with all the people who are out there trying to build a team. I want to hire people. I send out multiple offers every week. People accept the offers as well. But eventually do not join. They rather use my offer to get a better offer somewhere else. This is happening with everyone at every level.

But this all is getting worse with the fact that my team is also now tempted to do the same. They see all this money in the tech world out there and it would be natural for them to want a piece of it. I don’t fault them for this. But as a leader, I need to ensure that I do not lose valuable colleagues in whom I have invested a lot of time and effort. Attrition is a part of doing business. But it is always expensive to replace a good employee and should be avoided as much as possible. Here are a few things I have started to do/ have been doing to reduce attrition.

Give them an appraisal that is more or less similar to what they might have received if they jumped ship. Sure I am not making it 2x - 3x because I simply do not have the budget. But these are all long-term strategies and not just for the current heyday and weirdness. In the long run, paying a premium in the form of appraisal is always cheaper than hiring and training a new teammate.

Improved quality of meaningful work. A key edge that small teams like mine have always had over the much larger organization is the overall quality of work that each member does. My teammate will always have more learning opportunities and ownership than their peers at larger organizations. With the new increased emphasis on improving the quality of work, this has been supercharged to a whole new level. Even the junior-most member of the team is now doing high-quality work which adds a lot of value to the business directly. Instead of the busy work that is usually assigned to juniors, I try to empower them with meaningful work.

I have now incentivized upskilling even more than before. Learning at the job has been taken to a whole new level for my team. My team now has access to paid premium resources which helps them learn new things and improve their existing skills. Time, the most expensive resource, is now being dedicatedly allocated to upskilling and upgradation.

Supercharged Psychological safety. I have always fostered open communications across all the teams I have ever led. I want my team to be open and frank about their grievances. They need to know that they can freely express themselves without worrying about any adverse repercussions. This is now supercharged to a level where my team can express themselves clearly without ever having to mince their words and hide their true feelings.

Improved R & R. We now have actual physical “You are Fab” cards in our office which we give to each other to show our appreciation. These cards are then proudly showcased on the pinboards on our desks. Recognition from peers is an invaluable achievement that everyone cherishes.

Aspirational Corporate Policies. I might not be able able to match the corporate policies 1:1 provided by the Goliaths of the industry. But I really try to be as close as possible. I try to bridge all the gaps that might give my team a reason to explore an opportunity at a much larger organization.

What do you think about these initiatives? Do you have any recommendations? I am happy to learn new ways to motivate my team to stay with me.

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I have helped many startups in building their products and I would be happy to have a chat with you about your idea. Catch me on twitter at @akhilrex