February 18th, 2020 | Ken Schnee

Employee Burnout Vs Great Company Culture: 5 Tips for the Tech Industry

For an outsider, technology companies seem to have all the perks. Offices are often pictured with plush nap pods, an abundance of mouth-watering snacks, wine and beer on tap, ping-pong tables, and even a rock-climbing wall! Moreover, working for tech giants is also about competitive pay scales and unique incentives. Even so, the tech industry faces the daunting task of improving dismal employee retention rates.

You can start the change. With these 5 tips – help build a positive company culture, avoid employee burnout, and retain talent in the tech industry.

1. Starting from the Top

Tech company employees who leave reviews on Glassdoor often complain that even though these companies are some of the best place they’ve worked for, they can also be very demanding and burn-outs are common. The perks – the on-tap cold brew, wine spritzers, and free gym memberships, are all meant to keep employees in the office longer and increase productivity. However, in a recent Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, 53% of employees say, “…a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is very important to them.” By addressing the “workaholic” badge that is pinned to the tech industry, your company stands to increase productivity and foster long-term company loyalty.

To change this culture, employees in leadership positions should model a work/life balance and re-evaluate workflow efficiencies. Managers should evaluate inefficient workflows and processes. What can be updated and/or eliminated? For instance, HR managers should rely on reputed third-party background and identity solution providers so that hiring managers can focus on the business. Executives should also lead by example and demonstrate a work/life balance. If working weekends and working into the early hours of the morning is the norm, employees will assume that working these hours are necessary for success. Having said that, we all know there are certain crunch periods when long hours are inevitable, in this case, allowing flexi-hours or opportunities to work from home can be great parallel incentives.

2. Employee Recognition and the Culture of Sharing

Creating a culture of sharing and recognition will set up employees to thrive in the workplace. A big mistake many companies make is confusing perks with company culture. According to research by Ashley V. Whillans, interviewed in the  Harvard Business School ,”…what really matters in the workplace is helping employees feel appreciated.” Companies can increase employee loyalty with a strong culture of recognition.

According to O.C Tanner research, 79% employees who quit their jobs claim that the lack of appreciation was a major part of their decision to leave. Managers can put in place an internal company recognition system. Programs such as ‘employee of the month’ that offer gift certificates to strong performers, non-cash incentives for strong performers are also great for employee engagement. Often, people spend cash bonuses on necessities, whereas a unique gift like a cooking class, fitness class, or a weekend getaway is more personalized and memorable.

Companies can also focus on providing opportunities for further learning and ongoing professional development programs. Webinars and internal learning systems keep employees engaged while showing them that companies invest in their growth. Employees can apply new skills and systems to their current job. Learning opportunities make work more exciting and add value to the employee experience. Moreover, if they want to explore different positions in the company, they have the advantage of developing necessary skills internally.

3. Connect Your Company to a Purpose

Employees want to associate themselves with a business that contributes to a purpose. According to a 2019 Linkedin global survey, 74% of candidates want a job where they feel like their work makes a difference. Millennials are choosing to work for companies that have a strong purpose in social change and volunteering, and not just compensation. Companies that give back earn employee respect and loyalty.

In searching for ways to give back, technology companies should contribute to organizations that reflect a company’s mission. For example: technology companies should work with organizations in the educations sector, giving ample opportunity for employees to volunteer. Employees can impart their STEM knowledge at schools or colleges with underprivileged students. These volunteer days will allow employees to live their company’s mission. Employees can also build lasting relationships and increase learning by engaging with one another.

4. Create a Sense of Community at Work

Although companies create culture, it is the employees who personify it. Employees want to come to work and feel a sense of community and connection to others. They want to work with skilled and happy people. Leadership can identify activities, interest groups, and processes that reflect company values while creating a sense of community.

Activities can focus on both physical and mental health – like potlucks, fitness classes, smoothie stations, team office parties, and cooking classes. These office-wide initiatives will create employee connections and get people excited about coming to work. Companies can also bring employees together by celebrating personal and company milestones. Celebratory happy hours or team dinners can create a sense of community and loyalty. Companies can also help employees build connections through forming employee-resource groups. These could be cultural diversity, health, women in the workforce, and other similar groups. Such gatherings can bring people together and encourage friendly discussions. Employee resource groups can also be great networking opportunities.

Additionally, companies should recruit candidates that will be a good cultural fit. Since searching for these employees begins at the candidate level, HR managers can use online tools and systems to vet applicants. Tools like social media screening can weed out applicants with major red flags to help reduce the risk of a bad hire while remaining compliant.

5. Ensure Employees Are Heard

Mangers can proactively address workplace issues by creating true open-door policies. Create a policy where everyone is encouraged to freely express thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Companies can also implement regular, anonymous feedback surveys. This allows both employers and employees to fix a solution before it escalates. Make sure managers have a strong follow through program that addresses raised concerns.

Since everyone communicates in different ways, teams can try different styles of communication. For example, some employees would respond to an open-door policy, but others would respond to brainstorming sessions or informal online chat forums. By providing different avenues to raise concerns, managers exhibit their interest in employee well-being.

A “people first” approach in the technology industry will help create a strong company culture and help avoid employee burnout.

As a leading provider of background and identity services, Sterling has a team of subject matter experts who work with clients in the technology industry. We fill the gap between your company’s business needs and your onboarding as well as monitoring programs. Here’s our recent study revealing data, insights, and best practices pertaining to an array of areas affecting today’s workplace environments and how HR professionals leverage background checks to improve recruiting efforts.

Please note that Sterling is not a law firm. The material available in this publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We encourage you to consult with your legal counsel to obtain a legal opinion specific to your needs.

This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.