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After WFH and work-life balance, could family health insurance benefits be the new factor in tech talent retention?

Demand for Tech Talent is High

Demand for digital tech talent is higher than ever – according to, Digital tech saw a 36% increase in vacancies from June to August 2020, second only to healthcare for the number of jobs advertised – and with tech teams now working from home, tech employers than don’t put thought into talent retention are likely to see key employees leave.  Meanwhile, tech employers that get it right will find it easier than ever to poach talent from their competitors.

Retaining the Tech Talent You Have

Tech talent retention has long been a challenge for the tech industry and employee benefits are already among the most generous. The ‘brain talent’ battle moved away from just salary long ago – and also gone are the funky bean bags and table tennis tables, the cool kids grew up, had families and may like the odd game now and again, but games are not going to make them change jobs, not least because most of them are already working from home and enjoying a good work/life balance with a generous holiday package.

Healthcare Insurance is a must-have benefit for Tech Employees – but go beyond the basics

According to, medical health insurance is a must-have benefit, however in a market where many employers offer healthcare insurance as standard, a good differentiator for ultra-competitive tech employers is to extend health insurance to their family or look at company paid life insurance policies to provide peace of mind to your staff.

Extending Healthcare Insurance to families is a huge differentiator

It’s hard to walk away from a business that will take care of those you love and choosing a healthcare insurance package that offers add-on benefits like a telephone GP service (as it becomes increasingly harder to see an NHS GP) will be really appreciated.  Likewise, certain employer benefits like optical care are required by law for screen-using tech employees anyway and economies of scale means they don’t cost the employer a great deal per head – extending this cover to the family, rather than the employee will deliver peace of mind at a relatively low cost.

Ensuring you get the benefit of add-on benefits

Many corporate healthcare insurance policies and EAPs will deliver add on-benefits, such as a mental health support telephone line, specialist cancer support or travel health assistance.  Again, these are useful benefits which add value, however the irony is that employees often don’t know they exist.

This is because employers have a habit of signing up to packages without reading the small print and if they don’t know, they can’t tell employees about it.  Not communicating benefits you pay for is a huge mistake – every benefit is an opportunity to retain talent.

Being a good tech employer – and avoiding churn

Of course it’s not always about benefits.  As a tech employer, continuous self-reflection is important.  A high level of churn is especially likely to cause disruption to effective software development, so if you feel you have a good team you really need to hang on to them.

If you are a tech employer with a high churn rate, don’t be afraid to take an honest look at everything from salary, management and holidays– and even whether your coding standards and development are cutting edge enough to make a difference.  The ‘three M’s’: Minimum salary, Minimum holidays and Micromanagement make your staff an easy target and the cost of replacing lost employees is substantially higher than valuing those you have.

Benefits is only one part of the all-round package, but in a market where tech talent is in demand, tech employers cannot afford to be complacent.  Where all other factors are equal, family healthcare insurance offers a valuable opportunity to make a real difference to your talent attraction and retention.