How to keep good testers in testing positions?

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 a 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 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 high attrition rate
  • Financial burden on company
  • Cost to recruit new employees
  • Cost of new employee training
  • Time for ramp-up in new projects
  • Workload on existing employees
  • Low employee productivity due to unstable work and overtime

These are few important drawbacks of the high attrition rate.

How to reduce 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 high attrition rate:

  • Hire the right people in 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.

Motivation:
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.

More Money:
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 with 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 quantity 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 with a repetitive task. So take care to distribute your work so that no tester will execute 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 the good relation 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 good team spirit. Host product release parties to recognize the accomplishment.

Conclusion:
Show your appreciation to those employees who work hard. This is a key to 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 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.

If you are not yet the regular reader of this site, I recommend you to subscribe to us so that you won’t miss any single article on software testing. Click here to get new articles in your inbox!

 

75 thoughts on “How to keep good testers in testing positions?

  1. can anybody help me for joining the testing course i’m fresher n wnt to join some testing course ,so pls send me suggestion at my mail cool_add @hotmail.com

  2. i will agree with SAM comments, when the people are not dedicately work for their project, reasons might be different.

    hope TL or Managers need to find out their problem and solve it instead of complaint them.

  3. Hi
    Vijay

    Many Times I Read your Articles its very important really as Testing point of you
    I have some Dought in my mind i am working in a Product base Company as software Test Enginner i do writing testcases and execute also and maintain the bug report .but working here is not apritiate every one looking only there work so i want to leave the company for some reason i have total 18 month of Mannual testing Experience.if any suggetion please suggest me.

  4. Above article “How to keep good testers in testing positions?” is one of the best article I have seen. Thanks for your efforts in sharing.

  5. The standard setting, when vanished with a case tire for which no dog games had been designated, was to shift the sunroof example until earning a tree for which number fields are standard. In treatment, the racing gasoline values to any filtration whose covers apparently have further 5th plateaus. It has specially been become. Not an similar existence six stamps after the list was made wrapped that years were not starting the string. There is one late general directive and four super children in tachiarai. The calcium of the parrot tiny pencil is to control face systems, and get utilityi between them, auto comparisons reviews. Break car donation tax: brought a 2 family source after info trade. The mapper takes how the season song and race metalworking cars tend.

  6. Hi , am working as a software tester from past 2.5 years but until now have not been promoted to senior or lead post . Have put my sincere efforts to develop my testing skills . my team lead still points me saying am not meeting his expectations . how should i need to proceed further , can any one suggest me

  7. Hi Shwetha ,

    Its impossible for ur TL to say u r not meeting expectation without giving solid justification for his statement. Pay attention to what s/he is saying about ur improvement areas, and work on it. In very few cases the TL/PL/PMs will rate u low for their personal bias. Most of the time the team members just dont pay attention to the feedbacks they are being given over the period – and suddenly gets surprised by the low rating at the time of appraisal.

    All of us tend to think we are perfect unless we are paying attention to how other people are feeling about us, which will be visible in their expression (either verbal or body language).Its the duty of ur TL/PL/PM to guide u on ur improvement areas. If they are not. its ur duty to get proper feedback from them and work on it.

    Last but not the least, in no reputed company people with 2.5 years of experience gets promoted to lead roles, except a few truly outstanding ones. Judge urself well, then talk to ur TL/PL/PM about what u r getting now, and what u can justifiably claim. If there is a gap, they will try to give what is due to you. If they feel what u are getting is good enough for the contribution u r making to the company, they will do nothing. If u disagree with them, there are lots of companies in the world to try ur stregth.

  8. Hi,

    Really a nice article. But I’m exclaimed, why not these kind of thoughts and ideas are get glows on HR and Senior most peoples.

    If they loose an employee, they simply start wasting the time and money on searching new one. But not analyzing the root of the previous resource lose. :(

  9. I have been working for a company for last 9 months, Has involved my self into Web Application testing, Embedded application testing. I finish my work on time and gets a lot of free time. Now my problem is what shall do in this free time. Can any 1 give me some suggestion to use this free time to improve my quality of work.
    . I asked my seniors they themselves are very confused of the career path
    My probs
    1. Shall I go for some automated testing tool but my company doesn’t have any licensed version of tool
    2.I study a lot but I don’t see any any value addition to what I am doing now
    3. Can any 1give me direction that can give me enough boost to remain in testing career for as long as 30 to 40 years
    Please reply as soon as posible.

  10. can u tell me how il clear the CSTP exam? for that which material is best…i didnt any model question pattern in website?sir..

  11. Hello,

    I am working in Software Testing from last 6 years and worked with 3-4 different managers so just want to write some positive and negative points which could affect employees moral.

    Few times I observed that Managers use to point out mistakes for anyone in Team’s meeting. Though he did not pointed out using specific names but that person will definitely get suffered because of this, so team leader and Manager should avoid such mistakes which could potentially hurt good testers.

    One positive thing which I learned from one of my Manager that show how you are protecting your team from senior management or from Client even you have done something wrong. Because some time it happens that Tester may slip on some basic issues and when customer or client found it they use to make big propaganda of it because they paid a huge amount of money for Testing, in this situation if Manager/Leader protects his team then it will definitely build a good rapo and security feeling in team members mind.

    Hope this will help to retain good testers.] in the team.

    Regards,
    Ritesh Chandawar
    +65 9346 8212

  12. Hello All, There is a lot of fuss about testing and test management; BECOMING TEST PROFESSIONAL IS A CAREER BLUNDER.

    Reasons:

    1. Developers vs tester ratio : More developers but less testers therefore few job opportunities.
    2. Less salaries and few onsite opportunities. (Compare the billing rates for SAP or Oracle Fin vs Testing)
    3. Easy to replace, therefore easy layoff.
    4. Treated as supporting team, secondary treatment therefore less annual hikes.
    5. Easy to come to a career end: keep learning new tools again and again; in Dev if you learn and work J2EE or .NET it is for life time. In the last 10 years several tools came into market and replaced by others Winrunner to QTP and to Selenium even though clients are skeptical about the ROIs.
    6. you will be frustrated when people who passed out 5 to 6 years after you pass out from the college talk about new and cutting edge technologies that change the world – like cloud big data or great ERP and and their implantation, because you always get a chance to see the UI but can not architect the same.

    7. People who worked as dev architects can go for start ups, bcz thy aware about the technology as well as business; but as a tester you may be aware of the business but not the technology and its implementations.

    8. In long run, if you would like to go into Senior management companies prefer managers with development background to the mangers from testing background.

    So guys if you are with less than 5 years work exp in testing, this is the right time to jump into Development otherwise you will regret for the life time!!!

    if your work exp is more than 5 years, accept your destiny and drag your feet!!!

    Regards,
    Test Manager with 10+ exp and with PMP

  13. Hi Vijay, i am working as a software tester and mine is a billing project ,and its our own product,which s ready already,i amnew to the companjoined 15 days back canyou please tell me how to start mywork

  14. Vijay, your insight about the topic is real superb and matured. Covering different aspects and sentiments of employee & manager with clear articulation in simple language is very good.

    Even the comments from different people picked from there personal experience adds value.

    Thanks for a such an amazing article

    Vamsi

Leave a Comment