3 Tips For Successful IT Talent Retention

Recruiting and hiring new IT employees is expensive and time consuming. Once you've gone through all that effort and cost, do you really want to see your top talent walk out the door? If not, you'll want to review the tactics CIOs use most often to attract and retain talent.

Dawn Kawamoto, Associate Editor, Dark Reading

September 7, 2016

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: TommL/iStockphoto)</p>

5 IT Talent, Staffing Fails To Avoid

5 IT Talent, Staffing Fails To Avoid

5 IT Talent, Staffing Fails To Avoid (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Finding the right IT job candidate is a time-consuming and expensive task. Once the hiring process is over, the investment doesn't end. You have to spend time and resources in onboarding and getting the new employee acclimated to the work environment.

After investing time and money in finding and training your new hires, the last thing you want is to see them walking out the door after a year or two. So, what's a CIO to do?

According to the 2017 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals from staffing firm Robert Half Technology, there are three key steps CIOs and other IT leaders can take to improve employee retention.

[What are you doing to keep your best people? Read How to Retain Topo IT Talent.]

The report includes results from a survey of more than 2,500 CIOs in the US. Nearly two thirds of respondents (61%) said it's challenging to find skilled IT professionals, and 55% said they are concerned with being able to retain their current staff. The vast majority of respondents (86%) said they engage in retention activities.

Their top three strategies?

  1. Regularly checking in with employees to ensure they are happy in their roles (69% of respondents)

  2. Regularly evaluating performance and discussing career development (68% of respondents)

  3. Regularly benchmarking compensation and benefits in order to stay competitive (60% of respondents)

When it comes to checking in with employees, it not only pays to gauge their attitudes about job satisfaction, but to take the time to learn what motivates them. "There's an old expression: People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," wrote Larry Bonfante, founder of CIO Bench Coach, in an InformationWeek blog post.

"Do your people feel that you truly care about them -- not as cogs in your machine, but as individual human beings with hopes, dreams, and challenges? Are you available to them, or are you aloof and just seen as 'the Boss?'"

While regularly evaluating performance helps an employee know where they excel and what they need to improve upon, you should have a broader goal. It's important to make sure your employees feel that you're offering them a path to career development.

According to the Association for Talent Development, employers may find career development can aid as a retention tool. Some workers view it as an investment the company is willing to make in them, and it serves to enhance their loyalty to the organization.

Staying competitive with compensation is almost a no-brainer. But employers may forget to take a look within their own organizations to ensure they are keeping compensation fair across the board. There was much grumbling among older workers at Yahoo in 2014 about the lofty salaries that young workers were earning at the company.

The issue of competitive pay among women and minorities in IT, compared to their white male coworkers has been a hot topic.

The Robert Half Technology report offers four employee benefits that companies can offer to attract and retain top-notch talent:

  1. Work-from-home arrangements

  2. The opportunity to contribute to multiple projects

  3. The ability to innovate

  4. A clear path of development

How many of these factors are available where you work? Would such perks and opportunities sway your decision about whether or not to stay at a company? What are some of the other things companies can do to make their top talent feel valued? Tell us your ideas in the comments section below.

About the Author(s)

Dawn Kawamoto

Associate Editor, Dark Reading

Dawn Kawamoto is an Associate Editor for Dark Reading, where she covers cybersecurity news and trends. She is an award-winning journalist who has written and edited technology, management, leadership, career, finance, and innovation stories for such publications as CNET's News.com, TheStreet.com, AOL's DailyFinance, and The Motley Fool. More recently, she served as associate editor for technology careers site Dice.com.

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