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Don’t Lose Your Product Team in the Great Resignation

By Adrienne Tan
Retain your product team in 2022

Product Managers are the core of an effective Product team. But, how long do Product Managers stay in their roles?

And how can you make sure you don’t lose your Product team in the Great Resignation? According to Amplitude’s 2021 Product Manager Hiring Survey, 51% of Product Managers only remain in their role for a short period of 6 months to 2 years. WOW!

Consider the impact on the organisation of the ebb and flow of new Product people in that short window of time. Think of the difficulties new Product Managers have learning about the company vision, its range of products and its customers. It would be difficult for them to have a material impact on the company’s Product ambitions in that short time.

And, if the Great Resignation takes hold, then retaining Product talent should be the number one job of all Product Leaders. If we’re all facing the same problem retaining Product talent, we need to create and communicate the value of staying in our companies.

In relation to how companies are maintaining Product Talent, Andi Mastrosavas wrote;

‘The traditional approach of recalibrating base salaries to changing market conditions, increasing performance incentives, and adding retention bonuses is now considered table stakes and simply not enough.’

If incentives and bonuses are not sufficient, what are some other alternatives that will attract and retain the very best Product people to your business?

7 Strategies for Retaining Product Talent

Here are some strategies we can apply to retain our Product People.

1. The Product Vision

A coherent Product Vision is a key instrument in retaining Product talent. Not only is it important to share with the team how the Product will bring about change in the world, but it is also necessary to demonstrate that every activity is clearly linked to the vision.

Andi Mastrosavas instructs us,

By far the most implicit and successful approach is through inspiring a shared mission and sense of purpose. Leaders expressed that when team members are bought into the product vision and business mission they are less likely to need to be incentivised by traditional approaches.

This isn’t a soulless, meaningless vision statement that is posted on a wall and then ignored. This is the driving vision that everyone in the company is inspired to bring to fruition every day.

Nick Coster is adamant that,

Product People are attracted to a strong and clear vision that matters like moths to a flame.

2. The Product Leader

A Product Leader is a necessary tool to win the retention war. Product people stay to work alongside and learn from great Product Leaders.

Hire Product Leaders that are able to do Product. That means that they know how to get their hands dirty. They’ve done it before. This builds credibility with the team. Experienced Product Leaders can identify issues quickly and effectively coach individuals and the team.

Hire Product Leaders with a point of view. They have an opinion about the current Product issues. This suggests that they know the craft of Product.

3. The Product Practice

Product people stay because they are given the opportunity to do ‘actual’ Product work not just feature delivery. As table-stakes, the company needs to recognise that the Product Practice extends through the continuous Product lifecycle.

This means that they have an opportunity to do Product Discovery, contribute to Product Design and participate in Product Delivery. More importantly, this means that the company is funded in a way that enables Product teams to do their work on a continuous basis.

Unlike Project work, there is no start and stop. Product teams must be able to nurture customers and improve the Product for the long term, not just one budget cycle.

4. The Product Work

Similarly, Product people must be able to do meaningful Product Work, tied to business outcomes that connect to the Product Vision. This requires a transparent view of the business through ongoing communication.

It is one thing to understand how the work Product people do contributes to business goals, it is another layer altogether to understand how that translates to the value created for the company and its people.

5. The Product People

Good Product people want to work with other good Product people. Staff your Product teams with a mix of experienced and mid-level people as well as newly minted Product folks with a curious mindset and the desire to learn how to do ‘actual’ Product work. People want to continue to work with their tribe.

Plus, the mix of experience enables the company to create a talent bench demonstrating that there is a career path, which in itself shows the company is thoughtful about Product Management. According to Amplitude, 53% of Product Managers accept a role because of the colleagues they work with.

6. The Product Perks

There are many Product perks on offer in the market. Andi Mastrosavas shares that companies are offering the following:

  • Five additional days of “life-leave”,
  • Opportunity to participate in offsite charity events for chosen causes,
  • Twenty-six weeks of paid parental leave for the primary carer,
  • Instituting meeting-free days, and
  • Paying superannuation while on carers leave.

7. Professional Development

In addition to these benefits, having an effective continuous learning program for Product teams demonstrates that the company sees value in Product Management and is actively investing in its Product people. Product learning programs can include a mix of internal and external learning opportunities.

Over the years, many companies have sent their teams to LTP DIGITAL as a way to invigorate learning and retain talent. This year we’ve gone one step further and created a Cheat Sheet to show you how to participate and make the most of the event as a team.

Download our Leading the Product Cheat Sheet here to effectively bring your Product teams together.

And, don’t forget to join us at LTP DIGITAL to inspire your team and retain your valued Product people.