A few days back ‘Teresa' asked me an interesting question.
“I was intrigued by your website because it seems you are truly passionate and interested in testing. In my organization, we've found that it's really hard to keep the GOOD testers in testing. Many of the really skilled testers are always looking for the change and want to get out of testing for some reason. I
would love to hear if you have any ideas on how to keep the good testers in testing?”
Teresa, first I will address this high attrition rate problem for all employees and then I will come back to addressing
“How to keep good testers in testing positions?”
0% employee turnover is just an imagination and unrealistic in the current competitive world. Employee turnover to a certain extent is ok. However, increased turnover in any company indicates some serious problems.
Though I am not an HR expert to reduce the attrition rate, I will suggest some common measures from an employee perspective, which can minimize this turnover to a certain extent.
These measures will be applicable to every company and employee. Also, we are in the context of software testing so I will concentrate more on how to retain good testers in their positions.
I will address each and every solution we can try to keep a low attrition rate. So sit back, get relaxed as this is going to be a long article.
Who will get help from this article?
This article will help to Company management, Managers, Team leads in development and testing and of course to the emerging testers who are tomorrow’s leads.
What are the effects of high attrition rate on the company?
- May lose projects in hand – as clients are not happy with the high attrition rate
- The financial burden on the company
- Cost to recruit new employees
- Cost of new employee training
- Time for a ramp-up in new projects
- The workload on existing employees
- Low employee productivity due to unstable work and overtime
These are a few important drawbacks of the high attrition rate.
How to reduce the attrition rate?
First, let's go to the root cause of “why the employee leaves the company?”
The main reason is “lack of appreciation for their hard work”. I mean if the company is not caring about employees then why would they stay in such company?
Keep in mind ‘more money' is not always the solution! Nowadays employees are more concerned about the quality of life and their family needs.
Here are some solutions on the high attrition rate:
- Hire the right people in the right positions
- Understand the employee needs and provide it to them
- Respect them
- Always appreciate good work
- Regularly ask for employee input and take appropriate action
- Offer training opportunities to gain advanced knowledge
- Better to become employee oriented
- Pleasant working atmosphere
- Career growth opportunities
- Value employee creativity
- Job security
The last one is very important. Your employees should feel secure about their jobs. If you can't provide job security or at least feeling of job security in employees mind then your company deserve for high attrition rate.
These are some one-liner solution. Let’s take some practical solutions.
Any software team should consist of highly motivated and skilled people. Good motivation comes from good leadership. The good leadership provided by team leaders and managers can bring down the attrition rate. In my career I observe employees leave the company just because of their boss.
Some unrealistic demands or lack of motivation and leadership can make employees think over their position and career.
So leaders should motivate and energize colleagues when they lost all hopes.
Give them a good compensation and benefits package.
Fun at work:
As I said money is not always the solution, fun at work is also important. Only more money can't motivate the team if you don't have a fun culture in your company.
I believe in “Work hard, Play hard” culture, so plan some sporting activities, outdoor trips, different competitions between different teams, etc… There can be so many such activities, which can act as refreshment for employees.
Help to settle employee life:
What I mean from this is to help employees providing stability in their life. I know this is not going to be a simple task but the company can help employees by providing medical insurance, medical facilities to employees. Housing is the first priority of most of the employees. So help them get good accommodation.
‘Teresa', you asked about retaining testers in good positions. So let's come to testers problem.
What are the common complaints from testers?
“Sometimes developers ego as they are better than testers”
“Tester is responsible for every fault”
“Schedule slips due to testers”
“Testers are not getting the respect”
“Management doesn't consider them equally with developers”
These are some common complaints from testers and this makes them feel insecure in their job, affecting their daily work and may result in high attrition rate.
Management needs to address these complaints early before testers leave the company. The solution is – organize your teams effectively, improve communication between developers, testers, and management. This will lead to better understanding and address of testers needs.
Below are the baby steps, which can retain good talented testers in their positions:
Provide them training:
Train all your testers. Provide them training for free, if not possible then at cheap cost. Make available some remote courses, seminars, and books to study. Sponsor and help them to get the software testing certifications.
Appreciate the good work:
Don't go behind the number of bugs. See the quality of bugs and appreciate those testers working hard to find it. Regularly comment positively on good work from the team.
Reward testers for finding good quality bugs. Keep some weekly or monthly competitions such as “Bug of the week” to reward the testers. This will help to build a successful QA team.
Set finite boundaries to everything:
Your goals should have clear boundaries and completion criteria. Setting goals, those not having end can become a boring task. Don't let feel the team that this testing work is going forever without any insight goal.
Take every bug as a learning opportunity:
Don't bother testers about the bugs that slip through. Make these bugs as a learning opportunity. Let them know why they overlooked that bug. This way they will learn from their mistakes and will not make the same mistake again at least for the same bug.
Don't make testing a repetitive task:
Sometimes we get bored doing the same thing again and again. Testers job involve a repetitive task. So take care to distribute your work so that no tester will execute the same test case repetitively on any project.
Randomize the testing work in the team, this way team will get knowledge of the whole product, helping to find more bugs.
A good solution to avoid repetitive work is to rotate the experienced employees internally in different projects.
Create a good relationship between testers and developers:
Testers need encouragement and support to find more and more bugs so that the final release is bug-free. Build a good team of testers and developers. Treat everyone similarly.
Don't forget to celebrate:
Celebrate each and every success moment. This will help to build a good team spirit. Host product release parties to recognize the accomplishment.
Show your appreciation to those employees who work hard. This is key to a successful business. Show your employees that you are committed to fulfilling their needs.
Over to you:
These are my personal thoughts to keep good employees (testers) in their positions. I am not an HR expert but I have mentioned here everything that I feel from an employee perspective to stay on the job.
I want your views “What keeps you on the job?” You can share your personal thoughts, your expectations from employers or any personal experience in this matter.
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