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4 Steps to Retain Your IT Talent

Building a successful IT department isn’t easy.  Hours of job postings, resume weeding and interviewing are sure to pay off resulting in a hardworking, productive team.  Once a team is in place, the hard work doesn’t stop there.  The focus shifts and becomes less about getting employees and more about keeping them.

As the IT talent war wages on, companies are increasingly in danger of losing their talent to competitors or other IT shops.  Losing valuable IT talent not only starts the recruiting process over again, it also costs budgetary dollars that could be used elsewhere.   Retaining IT talent is no easy feat.  It takes listening and effective communication to be able to make and keep employees happy.  Below, we’ve identified 4 easy steps for IT leaders to implement.  These steps will create a path to a retention plan and ultimately, keeping valuable employees.

1.)    Create Open Lines of Communication
Managers might think they have an open door policy but many times, keeping the lines of communication open to employees takes more than that.  Schedule weekly or monthly team meetings to discuss new ideas, issues or strategies.  To make each employee feel truly valued, schedule one-on-one time each quarter to discuss their current job responsibilities and career goals.  This will provide them with an opportunity to feel like their voice is heard.  It gives managers an opportunity to gauge their employee’s feelings toward their job and employer.

2.)    Help Them Succeed
As mentioned above, from the one-on-one meetings, managers will be able to identify the career goals of employees.  Maybe they want to learn more about a specific technology, get a certification or take on more responsibility.  Whatever their goals, managers have the opportunity to help employees achieve them. This might mean implementing a professional development program or sponsoring lunch and learns for the department on a particular topic.  When employees feel like their company cares and is willing to help them succeed, they’re more likely to stick with you for the long haul.

3.)    Promote From Within
Nothing makes employees go to the job boards faster than being overlooked for a promotion.  This is especially true when the higher-up is brought in from the outside.  It’s important to not only give employees the opportunity to learn and grow but to recognize them when it’s time to promote too.  It’s also important to remember that not all IT professionals are looking to climb the corporate ladder.  Some are perfectly fine with the job they’re in currently.  Also, when employing contractors, be aware if they are happy consulting or have an interest going permanent with their company.

4.)    Keep Yourself In the Know
The most important thing a manager can do to increase retention is to educate themselves on what benefits, opportunities and other job aspects their employees value.  For some people, their salary is the only motivator to stay at a job.  Others look for benefits, growth opportunities and flexibility.  You can find this during one-one-one meetings or by sending out a companywide survey and evaluating.  Whatever the motivators are, it’s important for leaders to be knowledgeable and implement the appropriate benefits and policies to make employees want to stay put.

There are many reasons why IT professionals change jobs: a higher salary, better benefits, more flexibility, and a different work environment are just naming a few.  There may be times when employers are simply not able to keep an employee no matter what they do.  And that’s okay.  The bottom line is to create a dialogue with employees to know what’s important to them.  Creating a plan around the findings of open communications will be sure to increase retention rates and create happier, valued employees.