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 a 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?”

HOW TO KEEP GOOD TESTERS IN TESTING POSITIONS_

How To Keep Good Testers In Testing Positions?

Teresa, first I will address this high attrition rate problem for all the employees and then I will come back addressing  “How to keep good testers in testing positions?”

0% of 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 that we can try to keep a low attrition rate. So sit back and relax as this is going to be a long article.

Whom will this article help?

This article will help Company management, Managers, Team Leads in Development and Testing and of course to the emerging testers who are tomorrow’s leads.

Effects of High Attrition Rates 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 of recruiting new employees.
  • Cost of new employee training.
  • Time for a ramp-up in new projects.
  • Workload for 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 Attrition Rates?

First, let’s go to the root cause of “why does an employee leave the company?” The main reason is “lack of appreciation for their hard work” i.e. if the company is not caring about employees then why would they stay in such company?

Keep in mind that ‘more money’ is not always the solution! Nowadays employees are more concerned about the quality of life and their family needs.

Some Solutions for High Attrition Rate:

  • Hire the right people in the right positions.
  • Understand the employee’s 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 a feeling of job security in the employees mind then your company deserves a high attrition rate.

Practical Solutions

These are some one-liner solutions. Let’s take some practical solutions.

#1) Motivation: Any software team should consist of highly motivated and skilled people. Good motivation comes from good leadership. Good leadership provided by team leaders and managers can bring down the attrition rate.

In my career I observe that the 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 lose all hope.

#2) More Money: Give them a good compensation and benefits package.

#3) Fun at Work: As discussed, money is not always the solution, fun at work is also important. Just money alone 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 a refreshment for the employees.

#4) Help to Settle Employee Life:

This is to help employees provide 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 and medical facilities. Housing is the first priority of most of the employees. So help them get good accommodations.

‘Teresa’, you asked about retaining testers in good positions. So let’s come to the testers problem.

What are the common complaints from Testers?

  • “Sometimes developers ego as they are better than testers”
  • “The tester is responsible for every fault”
  • “Schedule slips due to testers”
  • “Testers are not getting respect”
  • “Management doesn’t consider them equally with developers”

These are some common complaints from the esters and this makes them feel insecure in their job, thereby 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 a better understanding and address the testers needs.

Enlisted below are the prominent steps that can retain good Talented Testers in their positions:

#1) Provide Training: Train all your testers. Provide them training for free, if not possible then at a cheap cost. Make available some remote courses, seminars, and books to study. Sponsor and help them get Software Testing Certifications.

#2) Appreciate Good Work: Don’t go behind the number of bugs. Look at the quality of the bugs and appreciate those testers who are 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.

#3) Set finite boundaries to Everything: Your goals should have clear boundaries and completion criteria. Setting goals, those not having an end can become a boring task. Don’t let the team feel that this testing work is going on forever without any insight goals.

#4) Take every Bug as a Learning Opportunity: Don’t bother testers about the bugs that slip through. Make these bugs 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.

#5) Don’t make Testing a Repetitive Task: Sometimes we get bored doing the same thing again and again. The tester’s job involves repetitive tasks. So make sure to distribute your work so that no tester will execute the same test case repetitively on any project.

Randomize the testing work with the team, this way the team will get knowledge of the whole product, thereby helping to find more bugs. A good solution to avoid repetitive work is to rotate the experienced employees internally in different projects.

#6) 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.

#7) Don’t forget to Celebrate: Celebrate each and every successful moment. This will help to build a good team spirit. Host product release parties to recognize the accomplishment.

Conclusion

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.

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.

We need your views on “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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