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The ReleaseTEAM Blog: Here's what you need to know...

The Great Resignation Shows the Importance of Investing In Employee Skills

The "Great Resignation," or more aptly a massive reshuffling of talent, has left organizations wondering how they can attract and retain the skilled employees they need. Unless you’re one of the FAANG companies, the chances are good that you cannot compete on compensation alone. In February, the tech sector unemployment rate was 2%, about half of the overall unemployment rate of 4% ( CompTIA Tech Jobs Report). Because the tech labor market is so tight, hiring new technologists who already possess the skills you need may result in a long and expensive search.

There’s good news: According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, 56% of employees stay at a job for opportunities to learn. Continual learning is crucial to DevOps success; The DevOps Handbook states that the Third Way (of DevOps) "focuses on creating a culture of continual learning and experimentation."

Organizations that provide learning opportunities can better retain their current employees, build a bench of talent, and reduce risks to the business.

Retain current employees

More than half of job seekers cite better career options and long-term opportunities in their top motivators (5 tech workforce trends for 2022, CIO Dive). Employees who feel stuck working on the same technologies will leave for roles that offer new challenges. Your employees want to stay up-to-date on coding and security best practices, tools, and frameworks. Empowering and supporting their upskilling opportunities results in better and more efficient projects. According to The DevOps Handbook, the "constant creation of individual knowledge… is turned into team and organizational knowledge." Your employees learn something new, they incorporate that into their projects, and their teammates learn from their experience.

Managers need to set aside and protect learning time for employees. It’s not enough to provide a professional development stipend and expect employees to complete all learning outside of work hours. People feel burnt out, which increases the odds they’ll look for a new job unless they see that their employers support them.

Build your bench of talent

Technologies, platforms, programming languages, and frameworks change at a rapid pace. It’s one of the more exciting aspects of working in tech. But without a commitment to upskilling and reskilling, your employees’ skill sets can become outdated. According to the 2021 Harvey Nash Group Digital Leadership Report, over half of tech leaders plan to cross-train employees from other parts of the business, and nearly one-third plan to expand internship opportunities (via CIO Dive).

In the case of cross-training, employees better understand the challenges facing their coworkers. This understanding can lead to better collaboration and business outcomes.

Training employees to grow into new roles is a great way to build up your bench of technical talent. It has multiple benefits: you have more than one person who can do the job, the employee feels valued and can visualize their career progression at your company. A robust training program and career path enables companies to take a chance on entry-level employees (at entry-level salaries), who will grow with the company over time.

Reduce risks to your business

One of the biggest risks to organizations when senior employees leave for another role is the loss of that employee’s present and historical institutional knowledge. In organizations that do not embrace continual learning or transparency, employees may tend to hoard knowledge out of fear and under the belief that it will make them irreplaceable. That causes problems down the road, as no one else can fill in when that knowledge walks out the door with the employee.

Learning is also a competitive advantage. The DevOps Handbook quotes Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline: "The only sustainable competitive advantage is an organization’s ability to learn faster than the competition."

What if I need DevOps skills on my team now?

If you currently have more job openings than you can fill and have immediate initiatives that cannot wait, it may be time to augment your workforce with consultants or external mentors. ReleaseTEAM offers Staff Mentoring, which can help your DevOps teams get up to speed on processes, tools, and culture changes to make your next project successful and set up your employees to be self-sufficient.

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