“According to a report by TeamLease Digital, the IT sector has been dealing with an all-time high attrition rate – averaging around 25 per cent.”
These resignations in the tech sector can be attributed to numerous factors such as low compensation, limited career advancement options, less opportunity to go abroad for onsite projects, higher burnout rates, etc. Moreover, reluctance to resume work from offices has aggravated it further.
Today, employees prioritize company culture, leadership, career development, quality of life, and work environment more than just reasonable compensation.
It suggests that if firms do not cater to these evolving employees’ needs appropriately, they can lose their top talent, thereby affecting the firm’s profitability and sustainability.
This blog elucidates the causes of unplanned attrition in the IT industry, discusses effective ways to retain them, and how resource management software can help.
Let’s get started:
1. What causes high unplanned attrition in the IT industry?
The IT industry is currently plagued by a phenomenon known as the Brain Drain, where highly-skilled employees are leaving at high rates due to funding crunch, rising inflation, layoffs, etc. This has led employees to seek a more flexible work environment with better work-life balance, job security, and growth opportunities.
Additionally, the rapid digitization of industries and increased focus on emerging technologies drive high demand for advanced digital skills. However, some companies may not be fully equipped with the necessary infrastructure to provide right opportunities. These limited career advancement opportunities can lead to dissatisfaction resulting in unplanned attrition.
Further, employees may feel demotivated when IT firms do not offer higher salaries and other incentives, such as bonuses, stock options, and flexible working arrangements. This will cause them to seek job opportunities elsewhere to secure more favourable compensation and benefits packages.
Besides, the demanding work culture of Silicon Valley, characterized by long hours and little time off, can lead to burnout and other adverse effects. It includes issues such as fatigue, anxiety, and an increased risk of illness among tech workers. These factors, along with experiences of micromanagement and a lack of promotion, can contribute to a high rate of employee turnover.
Now, let’s dive into the strategies that can help manage unplanned attrition and keep your skilled employees on board.
2. Best ways to reduce unplanned attrition in IT companies
Everyone has heard the adage that hiring someone new costs more than retaining the talent you already have. Let’s take an example to understand this- if an employee leaves, the cost of attrition includes training a new employee, salary paid during non-billable activities, and the foregone billings in the training phase, among other down sides.
This is why controlling attrition rates matters. Below listed are a few proven strategies to reduce it.
A. Allocate work to IT consultants as per skills & interests
Every IT project has unique skill requirements, and misalignment in resource competencies and demand can impact project quality or timeline. For instance, a data analytics expert with a strong background in statistics, ML, and data visualization is frequently deployed on tasks such as troubleshooting hardware issues and writing documentation. In the long haul, this could lead to disengagement and demotivation, with the data analyst leaving the organization.
Additionally, when an under-skilled employee is allocated to skill-intensive tasks, it hampers the project’s progress and delays its deadline. Thus, a resource manager must diligently assess each project’s requirements and the IT consultant’s skills and interests to allocate work accordingly. This will keep them engaged, eliminate boredom, and reduce the risk of unplanned attrition.
B. Monitor and track tech consultants’ utilization levels regularly
A study shows that 42% of IT workers facing high burnout levels are considering quitting their company in the next six months.
The high burnout levels among IT workers are a concerning trend and can be attributed to insufficient staffing, tight project deadlines, misalignment of skills and tasks, etc. These factors can eventually lead to increased physical and mental exhaustion and heightened stress. Conversely, when IT professionals are not utilized their full potential, they will become disengaged and demotivated in their current role and look for opportunities elsewhere.
To reduce the attrition rate, managers must monitor and track the utilization levels of the consultants. By optimizing the resources’ schedule and distributing workload evenly, managers can effectively utilize IT employees’ skills and knowledge. This enhances performance, boosts productivity, and prevents burnout or disengagement while lowering unplanned attrition.
C. Minimize the bench time of IT consultants efficiently
IT firms often maintain a pool of consultants on the bench to ramp up resources for new projects quickly. If they don’t, they may end up firefighting for resources at the last minute, causing a loss of business. This can be avoided by working closely with project managers to anticipate future project completions, identifying and securing new initiatives for ramp-down resources.
So, it is imperative for managers to efficiently manage the bench by proactively assigning them to billable or strategic work. In case their skills are unsuitable for emerging project vacancies, IT firms can implement on-the-job training or reskilling programs to make them billable. This will improve their morale and make them feel valued and important, thus reducing unanticipated staff turnover.
D. Redesign the work environment into a remote/hybrid model
A study found that hybrid work reduced the attrition rate in a large tech firm by 35%.
The above data suggests that a mix of in-office and remote work aids employee retention. This can be attributed to the benefits of a hybrid work structure, such as increased flexibility, improved work-life balance, and better performance and productivity. So, managers should make efforts to redesign the work environment to suit the needs and preferences of the tech workers.
The resumption of work from offices in phases can also help IT firms to slow down attrition rates. Further, firms must invest in the right remote collaboration tools and implement stricter security measures to protect the company’s data. Additionally, firms can adopt flexible work schedules to accommodate employees’ evolving needs. This would lead to greater job satisfaction and better employee retention.
E. Leverage job rotation to break consultants’ monotony
When IT consultants are frequently deployed on similar projects, the monotonous, repetitive work can cause boredom and a feeling of career stagnation. This will result in lower morale, productivity, and unplanned attrition.
According to research, 85.7% feel that job rotation resulted in positive attitudes towards work and enhanced career development.
Therefore, managers can implement a job rotation strategy that helps resources diversify their skillsets and project portfolio. This attracts talent to stay with the company as they see a lot of opportunities to upgrade their skills and follow in the footsteps of their leaders to achieve career goals.
F. Facilitate succession planning for critical positions
High attrition rates, particularly in IT firms, require effective succession management to maintain business workflows. If not, it may lead to disruptions in the company’s operations, loss of key employees, and costly hiring cycles. This can also negatively impact the firm’s productivity, morale, and stability.
However, one strategy to manage unplanned attrition in the IT sector is to identify and groom potential successors for critical positions. For instance, managers can evaluate which junior developers have the skills, experience, and track record to fill the role of a senior developer in the future. Providing these potential candidates with a clear career path and development plan can give them a sense of growth. This will make them more likely to stay with the company long-term, reducing attrition.
G. Offer competitive compensation and benefits
“According to research, salaries and benefits remain the primary motivator for workers changing jobs.”
In today’s highly competitive job market, offering a competitive salary and benefits package is crucial for retaining top talent in the tech industry. Therefore, by providing employees with a comprehensive package that includes a wage revision cycle, viable bonuses, ESOPs, and other additional perks, employers can improve employee morale and motivation.
This can, in turn, lead to better performance and productivity. Moreover, offering frequent promotions and salary hikes during the appraisal will help attract and retain top talent. It also allows the company to maintain a favorable reputation in the industry.
H. Organize team-building activities regularly
Effective collaboration is essential for the success of IT projects and for the team to function efficiently. The shift to remote work since the pandemic has caused IT employees to feel disconnected and led to a decrease in team communication and cohesion, which can lead to a hostile work environment.
To address this, managers can implement team-building activities such as team outings, yearly retreats, etc. They can also arrange online workshops, training sessions, or webinars to support professional development and foster a sense of community among remote employees. These pursuits provide opportunities for informal social interactions, which allow team members to bond on a personal level, despite being physically distant, and contribute towards employee retention.
I. Encourage IT employees to take paid time off
IT employees often work long hours, have tight deadlines, and feel pressure to resolve last-minute technical issues. This high-pressure work environment can lead to increased stress levels, fatigue, and burnout, affecting employee morale and productivity in the long run.
To combat this, managers should encourage employees to take advantage of their paid time off to reduce stress and improve overall well-being. By providing employees with the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, they will return to work feeling happier, well-rested, and more efficient. Furthermore, when employees take appropriate time off, it helps enhance employee satisfaction and reduces the likelihood of unplanned attrition, creating a healthier work environment for all.
J. Engage senior IT consultants in strategic roles
Senior IT consultants bring a wealth of experience and industry knowledge to the organization. Still, due to their seniority and higher cost rate, they are often limited to top-priority, billable projects. However, this can lead to monotony and stagnation, and they may seek new opportunities elsewhere. To retain them, managers should give them more prominent roles and assign them to lead new projects or mentor junior employees.
For instance, when an IT firm receives a new project, a senior developer’s role may go beyond implementing complex software systems. Instead, the expert could be assigned a critical role that includes mentoring and guiding junior developers, helping them to develop their skills and improve their performance. This way, by keeping them more involved in these strategic roles, IT firms can create a more rewarding work environment that is more likely to retain top talent.
Let’s now examine how resource management software can be beneficial.
3. How can resource management software helps minimize unplanned attrition in IT firms?
Today, organizations are leveraging technology to create an environment that fosters employee engagement and satisfaction. Similarly, advanced resource management software can help IT firms to retain top talent.
- The ERM tool’s enterprise-wide visibility and advanced filters enable managers to identify the right consultants for the projects at the right time. Moreover, the competency matrix within the tool also empowers managers to understand who can be considered for strategic and critical roles.
- The forecasting capabilities help predict resource shortages and surpluses in the long and short term, bridge that gap in advance and ensure efficient resource allocation. In addition, it boosts productivity and engagement, which lowers attrition.
- Managers can track their team’s utilization with color-coded heatmaps and associated reports and take corrective action if the tech workers are over or underutilized. Ensuring optimal utilization helps reduce burnout, boredom, and unplanned attrition.
- The collaboration function allows real-time communication to start conversations with team members across various touchpoints, encouraging a cohesive work environment and reducing attrition.
- Lastly, managers can use the open seat feature to publish open positions for various projects. Employees can express their interest in a project and get selected as per their capability. Allowing IT consultants to work on projects of their interest leads to improved motivation and retention in the workplace.
Unplanned attrition can be a significant challenge for the IT industry, leading to project disruptions, increased costs, and a loss of institutional knowledge. However, by combining the abovementioned strategies with robust resource management, IT firms can effectively manage unplanned attrition, leading to greater organizational stability and success.
5. The SAVIOM Solution
SAVIOM is the market leader in offering the most powerful and configurable solution for managing your enterprise resources effectively and efficiently. With over 20 years of experience, this Australian-based MNC has created its global presence across 50 countries and helped more than 100 customers achieve their business goals. SAVIOM also has highly customizable products for project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software based on business requirements.