The field of Technical Communication is competitive and growing. There are several areas where writers are in high demand and that has created a competitive environment for employers to attempt to recruit and retain top talent. Two examples of high demand areas are UX Writing and API Writing. Employee turnover affects the company negatively both through lost revenue and in low employee morale. It’s difficult to maintain momentum in the market when your team is constantly changing.
I attended a recent STC San Diego presentation on UX Writing and both presenters alluded to companies enticing employees to leave their current positions and go to work for them. This prompted me to think about two things: What creates passion about a job and a company and how do you maintain this passion and excitement over time?
When I was working as a Sales Engineer in the technology industry, recruiters often reached out to us about new opportunities. The prospective companies offered better salary and other perks, and the grass would seem to be quite a bit greener ‘over there’.
I identified three key areas that caused me to say “No thank you, I’m happy in my current position”.
- I have to have a good product to promote, and it has to be a product that I believe in.
- I need to be on a team of exceptional individuals and to always feel challenged to achieve more.
- I have to like and respect my management. So, in a nutshell, I have to like what I work with, who I work with, and who I work for.
Breaking these three things down a bit further, let’s look at the product or line of business. Is this a product that solves problems for people? Is it in demand for the target market today? Is the product differentiated from its competitors’ products? Is robust, best in class support available for customers? Is the road map for future development, products, and features relevant, realistic, and achievable? In a sales role, to me there is nothing worse than to have to “spin a story” about why a customer should buy a product. If the sales team can present the product well, the product and the technology should almost be able to sell itself. I also need to be a student of my competition. If there is a product that is a better fit for this customer and my product is inferior, how can I sell them my product?
Teamwork makes the dream work
Never underestimate the power of being a part of an exceptional team. I want the bar to be set high by my team and for everyone to always stretch themselves to learn more. In a collaborative and intelligent group, the knowledge of others does not threaten people. The more you learn, the more there is to know. The best teams work together while leveraging each person’s individual talents and strengths. We make each other better and we should all be operating a bit outside of our comfort zones.
Management can make or break it
The final thing is management. The qualities I value in management are candor, recognition, support, and encouragement. I want feedback from management that I can actually use and act upon to improve my skills. This means that management is willing to have those uncomfortable conversations with me. Conversations about skills that I am lacking, and about things that I could be doing better are important. If I am contributing to the company’s success, management rewards and recognizes my contributions. There are always going to be challenging times and situations. Communication and support from management at those times is priceless.
That’s it. Three simple things. Supporting a good quality product and having respect for who you work with and for go a long way toward satisfaction in the workplace.