Whether we’re talking about software developers, QA specialists, product designers, or project managers, one thing is for sure: skilled IT professionals are getting harder to find and hire year by year. As good salaries and extensive benefits have become a standard in the software engineering world, it isn’t easy anymore for companies to stand out from the recruitment crowd. And yet, it’s only natural for software houses to grow and look for talented additions to their teams.
Job satisfaction means success and low employee turnover
In pursuit of new staff members, we shouldn’t, however, forget about those who are already a part of the organization for at least two reasons. On the one hand, satisfied and loyal employees are one of the foundations of any company's success. According to Shawn Achor’s research, a happy team is capable not only of raising sales by 37% but also of increasing its productivity by 31% and accuracy on tasks by 19%. On the other hand, employee satisfaction contributes to lowering the turnover rate. This, in turn, translates into the significant saving of time and money that would otherwise be spent on the recruitment process (e.g. advertising and interviews) and training new employees for long term success.
Let’s now focus on the latter. When discussing employee turnover (not to be confused with the employee retention, which means organization’s ability to retain workers), many tend to link it to the unemployment rate. As of November 2019, the unemployment rate in Poland was 5.1%. In Greater Poland Voivodeship, it was the lowest in Poland (2.8%) and in Poznań itself – where we have our headquarters – it was 1.1% according to the city’s Statistical Office.
With such a low unemployment rate, workers undeniably have more options; however, to attribute low employee retention only to the “candidate-driven marketplace” would be a gross overstatement. How do we know that? It’s simple: from our own experience.
Employee turnover at Merixstudio: how do we keep it low?
Regardless of the tough competition in the Polish IT market, we are successful at steadily increasing the size of our team. In 2019, we hired 62 people and we grew to 129 people on board. Throughout the year, only 7 people left our organization. How does it translate into the employee turnover rate?
For calculations, we used a very popular formula for the annual employee turnover rate:
x stands for the number of employees who left
y stands for the number of employees at the start of the year
z stands for the number of employees at the end of the year
The result is as follows: the employee turnover rate in 2019 at Merixstudio was 7,14%. How did we manage to keep it at such a low level? Of course, every company has its secret employer branding sauce but today I’ll share some of its ingredients with you. So without further ado, let’s talk about what we do to keep the low employee turnover.
Ensuring high-quality recruitment process
Let’s start from the beginning. We know that a lengthy recruitment process devoid of feedback can cost you talent. In fact, according to a study of UK businesses, 54% of HR directors have lost out on a qualified candidate due to a long hiring process. That’s why our mantra is short and to the point. In the case of developers, for instance, our hiring process is usually limited to the following stages:
- filling in the application form,
- in-person meeting during which learn about the candidates’ skills and tell them everything there’s to know about Merixstudio,
- online talk verifying candidate’s English-skills,
Speeding of feedback, we consider it an invaluable part of the recruitment process regardless of its outcome. Our priority is making it comprehensive enough to cover both strengths and weaknesses as well as to deliver it within a maximum of 14 days from the last meeting with the candidate.
Offering regular pay rises
Money won’t make you happy, some say. But paying your employees a fair wage is what shows your appreciation of the effort they put into your company’s success. At Merixstudio, we get down to the salary business twice a year during the development talks.
Every June and December, we ask a given employee and their Team Leader to summarize the six months of work and set goals for the future. These may include employing a specific number of people for the HR Department, learning a new framework for programmers, or obtaining a prestigious Scrum certificate for Project Managers. At this point, it’s important to mention that while we have career paths for every position at our disposal, we remain flexible in adjusting biannual goals to our employees’ personal preferences and talents.
Development talks are also the time when we discuss pay rise bearing in mind both one’s achievements and the current economic climate. Thanks to that, we ensure that the turnover rate doesn’t increase due to monetary reasons.
Providing employees with a wide range of benefits
In addition to fair wages, we provide employees with fringe benefits like free medical care and English lessons, a Multisport card, a dedicated bike space, and team parties. While these may sound like a standard perk package, there’s one more thing that no other company can offer. I’m talking here about our unique office space filled with extra spots like silent rooms, chill spaces, racing simulators, a massage chair and much more. All because we know that a relaxing environment makes people happy, thus lowering employee turnover in the long run.
Fostering professional and personal growth
Fostering professional growth is the key to the high retention rate. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 94% of employees claim they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. For this reason, we support our employees in developing their skills in every way we can.
To begin with, we pay special attention to working with up-to-date technologies and methodologies. One example is that of our Python developers having migrated to Python 3 long before Python 2 end of life to ensure full security of the code. Another is that of Merixstudio growing the mobile team with Flutter specialists to build even better cross-platform mobile applications.
Then, we hold regular internal training and knowledge-sharing sessions. These include Lightning Talks during which we exchange department-specific insights with each other, Sales/PM meetings devoted to the intricacies of the project work, and soft skills training.
Here’s Natalia introducing us to the world of exit interviews
On top of that, we keep all of our Confluence spaces open to the entire team so that everybody can learn about other departments’ work whenever they feel like it. Speaking of knowledge-sharing, our devotion to continuous skill development shows also in meetups like Dev College to which we invite local IT freaks.
Finally, as part of our employee benefits package, we provide our teammates with a training budget. We know that choosing the most valuable conferences and meetups can be challenging which is why we’re always ready to help them find the ones worth spending time and money on.
Keeping our minds open
Software Development is a dynamic industry and it’s only natural for IT experts to crave change every once in a while. If monotony creeps in our employees’ duties, we ask them to let us know about it. Then, we can look for a different project that might benefit from a fresh pair of eyes and will fit their skill set best. This way, we ensure our teammates never get bored and the employee turnover rate doesn’t grow with time.
Subject matter diversity is guaranteed by the fact that we’re cooperating with clients representing all sorts of industries, e.g. fin-tech, ed-tech, entertainment, retail, etc. You don’t have to take my word for it – take a look at Merixstudio’s portfolio and see for yourself that our projects are anything but boring. Of course, if you are committed to the product you’re working on, we won’t have you change it. But if you feel like trying your hand at something new, we’ll definitely find a way to do so.
According to the FlexJobs study, 82% of Millennials cite work flexibility as one of the three top factors when evaluating a job prospect. At Merixstudio, we know that giving employees the freedom to choose when and where they work is essential to increasing their motivation and keeping them satisfied.
Are you a night owl or a morning lark? We’re fine with both – you can start your workday between 7 and 10 AM. Do you feel like working from home today? Or perhaps you’d like to learn how workation will turn out for you? Fair enough, neither is a problem if you have a good Internet connection. Seeing our colleagues enjoy these benefits proves that flexibility contributes significantly to the high retention rate.
Turns out HR in our software house has a thing for using cats for recruitment purposes!🐈 This time @kasiowo is looking for a project manager to join our team - apply on our website if you want to be judged by Ozzy!😻 Also - did you notice that both cats of our HR Managers have Merixstudio's colors? 🧡🖤 . . . #homeoffice #cat #petstagram #catstagram #redcat #catsofinstagram #blackcat #hr #ITjob #PM #PMjob #projectmanagement #projectmanager #workinghard #hardlyworking #webdeveloper #happy #webdev #programming #programmer #developer #websitedesign #programmerslife💻 #programmerslife #coding #poznan #poland #merixstudio #ITindustry
Maintaining work-life balance
According to the 2017 study in the Employee Engagement Series conducted by Kronos Incorporated, 46% of the HR leaders claim employee burnout to be responsible for up to half of their annual employee turnover. And regardless of how vast the range of projects your company offers is and how fancy your corporate events are, nothing solves the problem of burnout like the good old work-life balance.
For us, work-life balance is not just an empty slogan. We love spending time together but at the same time, we respect our private lives. As we stay true to Agile in our everyday duties, we can plan out work beforehand and embrace our productivity whenever it’s peaking. What’s more, if we feel overworked, there are always Team Leaders to help us find a solution to this problem and delegate tasks more effectively.
Asking employees what they think about working at Merixstudio
At the end of the day, nothing will provide you with more insights into everyday life at your company than employees themselves. To find out what the like and dislike at work, we conducted an anonymous satisfaction survey in which we asked for opinions on:
- work organization, tools, and management style,
- employee benefits and salary,
- office space and remote work,
- opportunities for professional growth,
- internal processes.
Once we closed the survey, we conducted an in-depth analysis of the received feedback, identified areas for improvement, and shared the results with the heads of respective departments. Together, we prepared an action plan which included both short- and long-term goals. The survey was conducted in the second half of July and since then, we’ve already managed to respond to some of the most burning needs of our team members.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy 🤷 Hard work is important but you can’t get creative 🎨 unless you’re relaxed. This is why our office makes fun easy with 🎮 Play Station, ⚽ a foosball table and 🏎️ racing simulators! Would you enjoy working in such office? See job offers (link in bio) and move up a gear with us! #meetmerix #merixstudio #softwarehouse #community #team #teamwork #office #officelife #newoffice #lovemyjob #happy #poznan #developers #webdevelopers #softwaredevelopment #programming #programmer #dev #developer #webdeveloperslife #coding #webapp #webapplication #itidustry #colleagues #folks
I can tell you that paying so much attention to your employees’ happiness doesn’t go unnoticed. According to our poll, 98.7% of the interviewees would recommend the company to their friends as a good place to grow. And there are not just empty words because in 2019 alone we hired 15 people on our employees’ recommendation. Pretty cool, right?
Employee turnover happens
As time passes, some employees change their priorities and ultimately decide to leave the company – and it’s only natural. What’s worrying, however, is when your employee turnover rate is getting higher every year. Of course, ideal companies don't exist but every organization should be focused on keeping their teammates onboard and satisfied!
If you want to experience what makes our employee turnover rate so low, we’d like to invite you to an informal meeting. If you’re interested in taking part in it, give me a shoutout at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t wait to meet you!