Updated: Sep 23
Investing in employees is a hot topic in today's talent competition. Big names like Google, Amazon, Facebook are at the top of this competition with generous perks, family insurance plans, maternity/paternity benefits and artistic office designs they offer to their employees. It all sounds like a dream place to work until retirement, doesn't it? The facts tell a different story. Let's have a look at talent retention at top tech companies.
According to Business Insider (2017), here's how long employees are staying at the 10 biggest companies in tech: 
Facebook: 2.02 years
Google: 1.90 years
Oracle: 1.89 years
Apple: 1.85 years
Amazon: 1.84 years
Twitter: 1.83 years
Microsoft: 1.81 years
Airbnb: 1.64 years
Snap Inc.: 1.62 years
Uber: 1.23 years
"To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace." - Doug Conant, Business Leader, Author
The actual cost of talent retention is significantly high at these companies. Some studies by SHRM predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months' salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that's $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.
There could be many reasons for a person to move to another company indeed. If we have a look at the research by The Harris Poll administered the survey using responses from 1,433 full-time employees at 310 workplaces, the survey result shows that 77% of employees feel "on their own" to develop their careers at the company.
I was one of these people at the beginning of my career. When I got into my first job as a software engineer, 2 weeks after my graduation, I expected to be guided about my career growth by my manager, however, this wasn't the case. I remember asking how to be a senior engineer at my first meeting with my manager. The question, in fact, was appreciated, however, the guidance was missing or not even in the plan.
"Research indicates that workers have three prime needs: Interesting work, recognition for doing a good job, and being let in on things that are going on in the company." - Zig Ziglar, Sales Guru
Here are top tips to invest in employees and increase retention
Career and Personal Development
Investing in one's career development and skills are not only satisfying for an employee, but it's also an appreciation of their potentials and recognition of their hard work. Highly skilled tech employees always look for interesting work and environment to grow.
Here are some ideas to help career development of an employee:
1 - Introducing senior to junior employee support/mentorship informal groups to help junior employees to discover career paths within the organisation and get peer support on their growth.
2- Online courses are also great ways to start learning new skills or discover new career development opportunities for employees from all levels.
3- Tech conferences and events are one of the best ways to invest in employees career development. Attending at tech related conference allows the employees to discover new tools and technologies may be implemented to the company solutions as we as helping to employee's career growth.
4 - Investing in external career coaching sessions where the employees can build new skills like leadership to go forward in their careers.
Meaningful messaging and recognition
We all like big meaningful missions and to be part of them. Reminding the meaning of the employee's work to the end-user is a very strong messaging.
Here are some examples:
"We help people get job" - Indeed
"We spread ideas" - TED
"We help people around the world plan and have the perfect trip.” - TripAdvisor
As a practice, I haven't seen a company before that shares the company success truly with their employees and let them own the success too.
Here are some ideas:
1- When the team achieves a big goal in a quarter, place a personal message to every team members desk to remind them they play a big role in this success.
2- Share the good news with each employee, i.e: how many customers could have done X <company mission> with their helps this year.
Employee - Manager engagement
There is a well-known quote: "People leave managers, not companies". This is true in many cases. A common issue in most tech multinational companies that promotion to management is highly related to technical abilities, people management skills especially for diverse talents are underestimated. As a result, most managers don't know how to manage diverse teams or even any teams at all. Research shows that diverse teams without inclusive management perform poorly.
Lack of self-awareness, engagement and empathy are leading employees to leave or disengage while human resources department put so much investment into diversity programs.
As a solution, inclusive leadership programs help to improve employee and manager engagement and talent retention by aiming - to equip managers at all levels with the knowledge and skills to better understand diversity and inclusion concepts and challenges in the workplace, - focusing on engaging with employees from all backgrounds. As a result, they can effectively make decisions with an inclusive mindset, lead across different cultures and build higher-performing leaders and teams.
Furkan Karayel, an inclusive leader advisor; women in tech and female founders ambassador. Founded Diversein.com after 10 years of software engineering experience. Diversity and Inclusion lead at Startup Week Dublin. Advisory board member at InspiringSTEM and Sprinters, global organisations to support diverse female entrepreneurs and young generation STEM. Honoured with "Diversity and Inclusion Role Model in Business" and "Trailblazer" Awards.