The IT Industry has one of the highest turnover rates, with an average of around 15% in the past years. We can’t ignore this phenomenon, and even though you invest in increasing the retention of your tech teams, people will sometimes desire a new challenge. A reasonable strategy would be to consider both people’s wellness in your company and tackling risks due to turnover, one of the most important being knowledge loss. Even though that topic obviously concerns all departments within an organization, we narrow the focus to technical knowledge.
I’m pretty sure you’ve already lived this panic feeling around you when a developer (let’s say, Lucy) announced their incoming departure from the company. Why such a reaction? It’s not only because you had good relationships with them, because you don’t get panic about that, but you can feel sad. No, one of the reasons you panic is you’re afraid to lose skills and highly-valuable knowledge.
Lucy is used to being solicited when people seek advice, answers to technical issues, or best practices to follow. She’s very active and stands as a referent for many developers in the team and even for the whole product team. Although she trains people, she’s still overwhelmed and doesn’t have enough time to write down all kinds of documentation that would make the team autonomous.
And it’s precisely when she announces her departure that colleagues embrace her to ensure knowledge transfer until her last day. She’ll do her best, but she’s likely not leaving all the necessary documentation in the Wiki because her role is critical, so she’ll need to work on other tasks every remaining day.
NB: This “hero” is just an illustration; it does not mean that other developers don’t have any knowledge to transfer since everyone does.
This knowledge is heterogeneous, and here is a non-exhaustive list:
Commonly, not all developers in a team have a complete overview of these topics. But it’s often that a kind of “hero” developer has.
“We might have some difficulties when she’ll leave”. And yes, you’ll start to feel it when you’ll face some technical issues and have no expertise in the team to address the situation. Consequently, this can directly impact your business due to:
Developers leaving an organization can have a non-negligible impact on your business, so you should be prepared for that.
While it’s a huge challenge to prevent any loss because there’s often too much to know, we know how to mitigate the risks with practices we can use every day:
Have you ever faced issues after someone left your company? Feel free to share your story with us 🙂
Promyze, the collaborative platform dedicated to improve developers’ skills through best practices sharing and definition.
Crafted from Bordeaux, France.