Most companies don't like to admit they have any turnover. For years I didn't, either. We have always been an employee-focused company that has done everything in our power to hold on to our employees, building what I thought was a great culture. Beer on tap, dogs in the office, unlimited paid time off and, ultimately, an employee stock ownership plan, where I gave 40% of the company to the employees. It felt like this effort was wasted if people left.
Still, our efforts weren't stopping people from leaving. Similar to many companies in our field, we were losing 10% to 15% of our team every year. LinkedIn has found that the technology industry has the highest turnover of any industry, at 13.2%, with our field, IT, averaging 13%.
Because we're in IT, we tend to attract younger workers who've grown up in a digital world. Some eventually discover that IT isn't their true calling and decide to try another field. Some work for us for a few years before going back to school. And frankly, some leverage their experience with us to land an internal IT job with a much bigger employer who can pay them more.
When our employees started mentioning that it seemed I was announcing someone's departure every other week on our company's internal video podcast, I realized I had to do something to address their concern. We were a 30-person company at the time, and when someone left, I could see it felt personal to our entire team.
We were so concerned about how employees viewed their colleagues' departures that we held a town hall with our employees about the situation in order to hear their thoughts and ideas. The most obvious fix — raising salaries so high no one would ever want to leave — was not possible. We were competing with giant firms that could afford to pay much more, and the market would never support us raising our rates as an outsourced supplier that high.