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A roundup from the latest Leeds Tech Innovation Dinner

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Throughout the year BHP and Squire Patton Boggs run a series of private dinners In Leeds aimed at successful locally based technology companies. The chaired dinners provide an opportunity for people within the sector to debate current opportunities, challenges and issues and share ideas and war stories within a relaxed environment.

One of the many topics raised at the recent event was the challenge of recruitment. The debate then moved on to staff retention and how this is even more important than recruitment.  Some of the points discussed are covered below.

Retaining your employees is even more important than recruitment

With the UK IT sector currently in the midst of a much-publicised skill shortage, many IT companies are focusing on how they can improve their requirement process to ensure they have the staff they need to compete. However, whilst E-Skills UK have estimated that the IT industry requires around 140,000 new employees each year, only 16,440 people graduated with a degree in computer science in the previous year, leaving a shortfall of approximately 120,000 workers. Whilst robust recruitment processes are essential, it is equally important to retain the employees you have already recruited.

Salary is an ineffective retention tool

When it comes to retaining staff, many companies make the mistake of believing that they can simply throw money at the problem. Boston Consulting Group polled over 200,000 employees worldwide to put together a list of job happiness factors. Appreciation for their work topped the list, followed by good relationships with co-workers. An attractive fixed salary was much further down the list, coming in at number eight, behind job security and before interesting job content. Whilst it is important to offer competitive salaries below are some of the other areas that are important if you want to retain your staff.

Challenging and interesting work

Everyone understands that not every day at work will be rewarding and fun. However, it is important that there are far more good days than bad days. The biggest factor which results in low job satisfaction is boredom. Your team are likely to become bored because they are carrying out the same task for an extended period or because the work they are performing does not challenge them. Do not underestimate how attractive the opportunity to work on and influence exciting and cutting edge projects can be.

Career Progression

If your employees cannot see how their career will progress, it is likely that they will search for a job which will allow them to grow and develop new skills. It is vital that you work with your employees to create career goals that they can aim towards and that the progress they make can be easily measured. Not only will this keep your workforce engaged with your company, but it will also allow them to develop skills which add value to your business.

Smart Working

Another way to improve your staff retention rate is to actively promote Smart Working. The ability to work remotely, take extended holidays, work non-standard hours are all examples of things which can allow everyone to improve their quality of life whilst at the same time positively impacting their contribution to your business.

The above represents just a few of the thoughts and ideas that were discussed at our recent Technology Dinner. If you are interested in finding out more about the dinners and the range of topics that get covered then please contact