Continuous Improvement Mentality Helps Retain Tech Talent


By adopting a continuous improvement mentality, companies can build a robust company culture that helps retain a loyal and talented team.

The tech industry, always tasked with driving transformations for its clients and users, is undergoing a transformation of its own. There is currently a significant gap between open technology jobs and the supply of qualified technology professionals in the market, which has resulted in a major market imbalance. Businesses are scrambling to both find and retain tech talent thanks to the perfect storm of COVID-19-related job burnout, competition, craving a change, and the need to feel valued. A recent survey states that about one-third of the information-technology professionals interviewed said they plan to look for a different job in the next few months. With the rising costs of hiring and onboarding a new employee, it is no wonder that many tech companies are uneasy about the future.

However, this disruption has shown us that leaving a job is not always just about money. It is also about self-improvement, professional growth, feeling respected, and being recognized. Often, organizations realize too late that losing top talent is an internal problem rather than an external one like compensation competition. Fortunately, there is a solution – adopting a new mindset, such as a continuous improvement mentality. This outlook encourages ideas, harnesses innovation, and boosts employee confidence. Employees are more likely to stay and less likely to look for new opportunities, even amid an industry-wide migration.

See also: A Talent Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

Why does having a continuous improvement mentality matter for a tech organization, especially right now?

Scalable. Agile. Innovative. We use these words in the tech industry for marketing our offerings, but how often do companies set these standards internally? Does a tech company really believe in scalability if it won’t foster its own employee’s professional growth? Are you practicing true innovation if the majority of your workforce can’t share their thoughts? That is why adopting a continuous improvement mentality throughout your workforce is essential. Get rid of the “this is how we’ve always done it” mindset and evolve to a “this is how we could do it” ideology. Let your team know that agility is not just for products but for every facet of the company culture.

A significant reason talent looks elsewhere is because they are disappointed with the status quo. The day-to-day is boring or isn’t bringing about any professional growth. This is true with what the industry is experiencing now, as workers are reevaluating their priorities.

A continuous improvement mentality changes that feeling of being stuck. Tell your team that it is ok to want change and that they won’t be punished when asking for it. As employees adapt and start implementing these resolutions, jobs become easier, people become more proactive, and work satisfaction increases. Encouraging this approach spreads throughout the organization and resonates beyond small bumps in the road or large hurdles like Covid-19.

Why doesn’t everyone adopt this mindset in their business?

It seems like a no-brainer, but applying a continuous improvement mentality does have some pain points. Not everyone will be on board. Some will reject the idea because they’ve never been asked for input before. They might not know what to do, or they might not trust the process. It takes people out of their comfort zone. But that is ok, and those objections can be overcome by recognizing those that do step forward, building trust within the organization.

But first, there needs to be training. Training can be anything from certification paths to relevant implementation strategies. Second, leadership must be part of the solution. They need to believe in and apply this methodology throughout their teams, including one-on-one meetings, and put learning paths into action. Third, organizations need to let others outside the company know about their continuous improvement culture, participating in networking events and speaking engagements. The businesses that have done this well are feeling less impact from the workforce crisis; however, 4.3 million Americans quit jobs in August 2021 alone, so there is room for many organizations to improve.

A continuous improvement mentality starts with the hiring process.

Whether you are hiring a tech lead with a highly focused skillset, or a junior level developer who has potential for growth, it is key to find candidates who have a passion for learning and are strong critical thinkers. They must be willing to cultivate their talents and must have the aptitude to do so.

They should be asked where they see themselves in several years and what their dream job would be. Maybe even question them about their favorite band and why. The answers will reveal what makes them passionate, what drives them, and how they adapt to change.

More often than not, candidates may not have had the right opportunities to shine in their previous jobs. There is a reason they are looking for a new opportunity, and it could be that they want a company culture that embraces team input.

Culture is a crucial factor in success.

When it comes to employees finding new jobs, organizations need to prove that the grass is not always greener on the other side. By adopting a continuous improvement mentality, you can build a robust company culture and a talented team that thinks twice before leaving for the next shiny opportunity.

James Phillips

About James Phillips

James Phillips is currently the Chief Information Officer of Prior to joining, Phillips was the VP of Corporate Technology at Mizuho, where he led teams focused on enterprise solutions architecture, data platforms and migrations, and AI. Phillips has over 20 years of experience in the IT space, featuring stints at both large organizations and entrepreneurial ventures.

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