Managers: Hybrid, Flexible Work Could Prove Key to Team Retention

With the “Great Resignation” in full swing, smart managers are doing everything they can to retain talented technologists. A key part of that retention strategy is figuring out why valued employees would want to leave. What’s making them walk out the door?

Limeade, which produces corporate well-being programs, recently surveyed 1,000 employees at companies with 500 or more workers. All of these employees had signed onto a new job in 2021; they had been at their current company for at least three months. Here’s what they said about leaving their previous jobs. Managers, take note:

Burnout is the top reason for leaving, and it doesn’t necessarily hinge on the hours an employee works per week. “It’s the combination of several cultural factors that determine work-life balance—notably, things like flexibility, support and thoughtful management,” read the report accompanying Limeade’s data. “For example, a caring manager will understand and accommodate an employee who needs a lighter work week due to personal circumstances.”

Managers must have solid lines of communication with their teams, watch for signs of burnout, and adjust schedules and workloads accordingly. They must also create a safe environment where employees feel empowered to speak out about how they’re feeling—something that’s easier said than done in high-pressure circumstances. Regular catchups, anonymous team surveys, and team-building events can all help improve visibility and foster communication.

Employees (especially technologists) also want remote and hybrid work. In Dice’s 2021 Technologist Sentiment Report, 85 percent of technologists said they found the prospect of hybrid work anywhere from somewhat to extremely desirable. That number rises among those just entering tech: Some 94 percent of younger technologists (i.e., those between 18 and 34 years old) also thought of a hybrid workplace as either somewhat, very or extremely desirable. Flexible schedules and hybrid work environments aren’t just a nice perk—for many technologists, they’re becoming a requirement.