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A New Way of Thinking About Retention Rates

Retention rates are one of the most persistent challenges for employers, especially businesses in the IT and tech industry. On average, tech talent has some of the highest turnover rates, steady yearly at about 13.2%. To combat this, businesses with high turnover have been throwing everything they’ve got at retention, especially with the tight talent market today. 

After fighting high turnover for years, many employers have exhausted all their resources to lower attrition rates, including a slew of in-office perks and stock ownership plans. But little, if anything, has helped. 

And that is why it might be time to consider a radically different strategy. 

Are Efforts to Lower Retention Rates Actually Working? 

Historically, high turnover was bad news for employers, and for several good reasons. High turnover of talent is often: 

  • Very expensive 
  • How businesses lose employees with the most valuable experience and technical capacity 
  • Damaging to an employer’s brand 
  • Demoralizing internal teams, leaving a footprint on those who remain behind 

But this problem has been around for years and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Even the median tenure at Google, one of the most generous and attractive employers in tech, is a surprisingly low 1.1 years. Many hiring managers are now coming around to the idea that job-hopping in tech is not only more common, but the norm. 

As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” If retention is so hard to solve, what would happen if we stopped trying to solve it?  

Solving Proactively for High Turnover 

For years employers have been running in circles, trying to solve high turnover with questions like: 

  • What do employees want? 
  • How can I make my employees excited enough about their job to stick around? 
  • Will better benefits and remote options do the trick? 

These are questions every employer should always keep in mind to help make their company a great place to work (more on that later). But these questions, while valuable, have yet to identify a silver bullet that can solve the persistent causes of high turnover. Rather than throw everything you’ve got at the unknown causes of high turnover, a proactive approach adjusts staffing strategy to the reality that high turnover is here to stay. 

Mitigate the Costs of High Turnover With Contracting 

As we mentioned, there are many costs of worker attrition: 

  • The financial loss from disrupted work 
  • The lost investment in onboarding and training new employees 
  • Lost technical know-how 
  • Damage to the employer’s brand and credibility 

As a long-time recruiter for several industries from IT to corporate services, we believe shifting your staffing model towards a higher rate of contracting can address all of these costs. 

Though not new to the tech industry, contract staffing is a proven approach to mitigating the costs of high turnover. Here’s how: 

Lower Financial Costs With Better Onboarding 

Every employer knows the incredible costs of training new employees. But onboarding contractors is not nearly the protracted, involved process of onboarding permanent hires. And since contract workers are usually project-specific hires, their onboarding time can be drastically reduced by narrowing the focus to just their role and expectations within that project. 

Addressing Lost Capacity and Know-How 

Many employers are getting around the loss of technical aptitude and know-how in two ways:  

  1. By hiring contract workers with a specific skill set, so their team is always on the cutting edge. 
  2. Investing in a centralized database with better file sharing and communication capacity to retain established processes, procedures, and company-specific information that contract folks can easily access for information they’re looking for. 

Improve Your Brand Credibility 

In the job market, talent talks. Employers with high turnover can suffer damage to their brand and credibility. But since turnover is essentially “baked into” contracting, you can get out ahead of that negative perception by shifting your staffing strategy to a higher percentage of contract workers. 

By continuing the good work you’ve done to treat your contract employees well and make your company an enjoyable place to work, word about your company (the good kind) could soon spread through the talent community who hadn’t previously considered contract work. 

ITAC Solutions Can Help 

There are many benefits to thinking differently about your retention rates. Working with ITAC Solutions to find the contract or contract-to-hire talent you need could be the best strategy. To learn more about our contract staffing options for tech and how they can transform your retention strategy, contact us today.