Technology companies are widely seen as organizations on the forefront of workplace trends. This is largely due to rich and novel benefits (think Google, Facebook, and others) and a disproportionate number of millennials, which comprise the largest part of the global workforce, in their ranks. These leading companies often set compensation and benefit trends and are widely seen as great places to work, but they too are struggling with employee turnover. A new study from the Kapor Center for Social Impact identifies what causes millennials to leave “great” technology companies.
The Tech Leavers Study is a “first-of-its-kind national study examining why people voluntarily left their jobs” in the technology sector. From a sample of more than 2,000 U.S. adults who left a job in a technology-related industry or function within the last three year, the study found that workplace culture drives turnover. Specifically, unfairness or mistreatment is the most frequently cited reason for leaving a job in technology, which is a $16 billion problem that the industry needs to address.
As highlighted in the chart below, women of color experienced the greatest amounts of workplace unfairness. Since the benefits of diversity have been widely shown to be positive, employers are only hurting themselves by allowing such practices to still exist. How many talented employees has Uber lost as part of their toxic culture?
The silver lining in the study is that employees would be willing to stay if companies took steps to improve their culture (hint, hint). In order to reduce the amount of unfairness at work, the authors recommended employers implement comprehensive strategies around diversity and inclusion, create an inclusive culture by developing a code of conduct by using employee surveys and providing transparency, and develop a concrete system for compensation practices and employee review processes.
Whether through wellness or workplace fairness, readers of this blog should now know that culture is king. There is no amount of bean bags and free beer that will keep talented employees at a company, especially millennials. Employers should focus on building a strong culture, which is far harder to replicate than expanding benefits. Organizations with strong cultures have a competitive advantage that will pay dividends for years to come.