How to Keep Your Tech Employees Happy in a High-Demand Industry

Demand for tech talent is always rising, and companies are always looking for best ways to keep employees happy and engaged in the midst of extreme pressure. The trend in recent years has been to go the way of Google, offering full-service campuses and non-traditional perks. From on-site fitness centers and daycare to unlimited vacation days, there are an endless number of rewards on the table when it comes to attracting tech talent. But is this really the best way to keep your tech employees happy?

Smart Employees See Through Fancy Perks

The only problem with this trend: Employees don’t want these types of perks.  Smart people pick up on the fact that these nontraditional benefits are designed to draw them into working longer hours, and they are not “free,” at all. Come raise time, how do you tell a talented employee she can’t have a raise, when the company offers free spinning classes every evening (that she does not attend)?

The perks offered typically benefit the employer, rather than the employee. According to Project: Time Off, unlimited vacation policies save organizations nearly $2,000 per person, per year. It turns out that in an “unlimited” environment, employees actually take less time off because the accountability falls on their shoulders.  And less time off leads to burnout, especially in high-pressure tech jobs; and burnout almost always leads to turnover.

Just What Do Tech Employees Want?

Salary and compensation matter when it comes to technology jobs, to be sure. Nobody wants to feel as though they are making far less than market value for their contributions. However, salary is not the only reward tech employees seek.

It turns out that the majority of technology pros would trade perks like coffee bars, “free beer Fridays” and on-site ping pong tables for spending more time at home. Work-life balance is a key driver of employee satisfaction, especially in technology.

According to a 2016 survey, tech professionals say the most sought-after perks are:

  1. Flex time and telecommuting options
  2. Opportunities to earn bonuses
  3. Additional vacation time
  4. Tuition and skills-training reimbursement
  5. Equity

These are all pretty generic perks that companies of all sizes can offer in some variation to promote greater engagement on the job.  Telecommuting doesn’t have to occur every day, and flexible schedule can be as simple as, “You may work any shift beginning between 7 am and 10 am” (or whichever hours you choose). Additional vacation time can always be used as a negotiation point for new hires, or as a reward for employees. Consider putting extra vacation days on the block as an award for meeting or exceeding project goals, which can be an easy and inexpensive way to motivate people when the chips are down.

Tuition reimbursement and equity point to an underlying desire for employees to grow along with the organization.  In order to stay sharp, tech pros must constantly learn new things, and classes aren’t cheap. Reimbursement programs show that the company values continuing education, and is willing to reward employees who take the initiative. Equity shares in the company also shows that the organization values contributions, and can solidify long-term relationships with talented employees.

If you are looking to build a talented, driven and engaged technology team, the award-winning staffing experts at Talon can help. Our recruiters attract and retain top-tier active and passive candidates with an eye for increased performance and effectiveness. Contact us today to start building a recruiting strategy for success.


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