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The Importance of Strong Employee Development Programs

Employee attrition is a serious issue in IT and software development. Rising salaries and increasing demand are giving experienced and qualified IT workers more options to choose from, so companies are forced to explore non-traditional ways to overcome this challenge.

In 2018, the turnover rate in the tech industry was 13.2%, which was higher than any other industry. Even tech giants Facebook and Google had an average employee tenure of just 2.02 years and 1.1 years, respectively, showing that nobody is immune to the impact of attrition.

With the high cost of training and loss of productivity, companies are trying to find better ways to retain their valuable employees and limit the disruption associated with attrition. Nearshore software development outsourcing, in particular, has become an attractive and viable option for US-based companies struggling to find and retain high-quality talent locally.

Nearshore providers are meeting this surge of interest head-on, developing and maintaining robust programs that directly address the challenge of attrition and giving companies in the United States a reliable solution to their problem. 

The Importance of Employee Engagement

According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, companies with engaged employees are more productive, achieve higher sales, and are more profitable.

At PSL, our goal, as a purpose-driven nearshore software development company, is to create a culture of continuous learning and development, so we are driven to help our employees find meaning through what they do, both on a professional and personal level. This approach also benefits our outsourcing clients that are looking for a more stable talent pool.

We wholeheartedly agree with the idea that employee engagement is a critical component in preventing attrition. We've seen positive results by giving employees numerous opportunities to grow and develop new skills, as well as creating an employee-centric culture that strengthens retention and overall engagement.

Here we highlight some of the things that have worked best for us in terms of engaging employees in their own development.

Creating Individual Development Plans

It's easy for employees to feel forgotten in the daily grind, which can lead to a steady decline in performance and indifference.

Business Solver found that 31% of workers believe employers only care about profits and don't care as much about employees, while a study by EdAssist and Bright Horizons found that only 26% of millennials feel their employers are invested in their professional development.

To help combat these perceptions, companies may choose to implement an individual development plan. This powerful tool helps employees map out their skills, set goals, and determine tasks they need to perform to achieve them.

Above all, employees need to feel like they are learning and growing at work, otherwise their attention turns to the next job opportunity. In the competitive industry of software outsourcing, there is a higher risk of this happening, as the skills possessed by IT professionals are in high demand. By focusing on employees individually, augmenting their existing skills, and helping them work towards their future career ambitions, nearshore software development companies can drastically lower the risk of attrition—if they are constantly becoming better at what they do, what reason do they have to leave?

At PSL, we aid in our employees' development by taking the information collected during our recruitment process, as well as feedback from teammates and other work colleagues to help frame professional and personal growth. These frameworks include concrete actions and goals that employees set for themselves and gives them defined objectives to work towards.We do our best to help you enhance and develop the skills that are most aligned with your profession, but also allow for continued career growth in a variety of ways.

Providing Valuable Feedback

No matter how much the self-development process must be driven by the employee, it's important they feel supported by management and their teammates.

Employees should regularly receive valuable feedback that is focused on fine-tuning their development process. This approach will ensure workers take steps that lead to career advancement and establish mentorships or relationships based on trust and respect.

PSL takes this phase a step further with Lighthouse, a proprietary tool for skills development and career mapping. Through it, an employee can evaluate themselves in several skills, as well as request assessments in various areas from their coworkers and mentors. The easy-to-use platform allows them to quantify assessment results and visualize a roadmap for achieving their professional goals, keeping them engaged in their progress and increasing employee retention for the company. 

Encouraging Employees to Align with Company Goals

A great way for a company to show that it is invested in its employees is to be transparent and honest about business goals and achievements. When the team knows exactly how the company is doing, people feel personally attached to the results, which will help them develop their skills and abilities more quickly.

Companies that share information with their employees on the overall business strategy give their workers a chance to invest in the company and take ownership over their responsibilities. It creates a sense of loyalty, aligns everybody in the same direction, and gives people the chance to share their ideas and address blockades directly.

By inviting the team to learn about the company's strategy, you may find they suggest new, unseen solutions to ongoing challenges. Most importantly, it provides the chance to enjoy company wins together and to recognize the people who made them happen. 

Collaborating and Sharing Knowledge

One of the most cost-effective methods of employee engagement is to share internal knowledge and promote a collaborative environment in the workplace.

LinkedIn's 2018 Workplace Learning Report found that 68% of workers prefer to learn from their peers and managers at work, as opposed to courses provided by online service providers. This statistic shows how important it is to develop learning and knowledge-sharing programs internally, leveraging the years of experience amassed by the workforce.

With DevOps principles becoming more and more popular in the industry, peer-to-peer coaching across teams is a well-matched approach, as it helps to break down those inter-departmental barriers and develop a sense of collaboration.

At PSL, we host a variety of training events, and teams participate in regular coaching and development activities that provide an opportunity to improve their skills, both on technical aspects and on personal skills, like leadership, negotiation, emotional intelligence, feedback, and more. These valuable interactions also build a stronger sense of comradery and improve the quality of our services, as everyone has the opportunity to learn from each other. 

Making Resources Available in the IT Outsourcing Process  

Employees should drive their own development, but that doesn't mean that some of the responsibility doesn't also fall on their employer's plate.

Software outsourcing companies need to make sure their workforce has access to several resources and that everybody feels comfortable asking for courses and certifications. Establishing this as the status quo will immediately convey the message that the company is willing to invest in their employees.

At PSL, we believe in making sure our employees reach a level of fulfillment and development that aligns with their career goals. In 2018, we completed over 67,000 hours of training, more than 58 lunch and learns, and over 41 training sessions, leveling up the development of our community. Our goal is to give our teams the tools they need to drive their own skills development and map out a strategy for the advancement of their careers.

Other useful resources include guilds, which focus on areas like DevOps, automation, performance engineering, and more, promote the adoption and advancement of these topics in different teams and help individuals pinpoint how to excel in these areas. When used correctly, these groups can empower workers to reach out and connect with their colleagues quickly, find answers to their questions, and increase overall efficiency for the whole company.

Promoting Self-governance as the Key to Excellence

Ultimately, it's an employee's job to be the driving force behind their own development journey. They must have the desire and self-discipline to determine how much they can learn about various topics, what types of projects they can participate in, and what specialty they can develop.

A company can only go so far to ensure employees reach their highest potential. However, we've found that a strong culture of excellence, continuous learning, innovation, and leading by example is a great source of motivation for individuals to direct their own advancement.

Our team at PSL has responded spectacularly to this approach, with many of our interns going on to junior development positions and finding their own niche or interest. It's not uncommon to find a senior developer at PSL that started out as an intern, client experience analyst, or a tester and steadily became an experienced specialist in his or her field, like DevOps or performance, or changed career paths all together. 


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We are always looking for dynamic, talented individuals that love a good challenge, so if that sounds like you, check out our open positions.

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Sunday, 15 September 2019

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