TechServe Alliance reports that IT employment hit another high-note in April, with 4.4+ million people working in the industry. Those numbers almost guarantee that the competition for top IT talent will continue to be heated and that finding the best workers with the most in-demand skills will remain challenging. The corollary to this is always that retention becomes equally, if not more, important and as much effort as you put in to recruiting, you need to match it in ensuring you retain your best and most critical employees.
I’ve covered this topic before in Staffing 360, offering whatever advice I can give since I know the challenges firsthand, as a business owner myself and working on the frontlines of recruiting. (Employee Retention: Perception vs. Reality; The Key to IT Contractor Retention.) Last week another article on the subject caught my eye at CIO.com – 8 Tips for Retaining Top IT Talent. Here are their suggestions:
- Include them in decisions
- Don’t micromanage
- Offer flexible work hours
- Invest in training
- Provide access to new technologies
- Give praise and acknowledge contributions
- Offer free stuff
- Provide a competitive compensation package
I’ve mentioned many of the things on the list before and seeing others give the same advice is always a nice reassurance, particularly since many of them do not involve big dollar expenditures, something that I have also often preached the value of. It’s no surprise to see flexible work hours on the list, the desire for that cuts across the entire business landscape these days, but “including them in decisions” and “not micromanaging” may make some people pause. It shouldn’t though; it’s just another way of making your employee feel valued and appreciated (see #6 on the list). When it comes to the smart, creative people in our industry, being treated this way takes on added importance. The suggestion to invest in training is music to my ears – I’ve banged on that drum for a long while – and access to new and innovative technologies is also something I’ve touted as important to keeping technology workers engaged. Of course, the inevitable incentive of money is on the list as well, as it should be. But it isn’t all about the $$$. One suggestion they give is tying bonuses to specific projects or milestones throughout the year, rather than only annually. On benefit is that rewarding people in this way creates a more continuous feeling of appreciation and avoids the peaks and valleys.
Read the whole article to get their full take on each piece of advice if you have time but at least take these 8 things and think about how you can implement them in your business, with both your permanent and contingent IT employees. As the summer heats up, the competition for talent will too. Don’t be caught unprepared!
President and CEO