Learn how to keep your top IT professionals interested in staying by committing to a positive corporate culture, active listening and employee benefits  

The demand for skilled IT talent is high. That means retaining technology employees is a smart decision on many levels.

Keith Marchiano, Director of IT for Baltimore IT support company, Kyocera Intelligence shares his tips and tricks.

Keeping top IT talent means your company gains the benefits of their expertise. It also means not having to battle in the hypercompetitive IT labor market for employees, going months with positions unfilled, spending more for new talent, and the opportunity cost of recruiting, hiring and training replacement employees. Below are some ways to retain your best IT employees:

What Are Some Benefits that Help Retain Great IT Employees?

According to the Mercer 2018 Global Talent Trends survey, the top desire for tech employees is to provide flexible work schedules. While flex plans for work are often associated with younger workers, the desire is just as likely for those with school-aged kids and older employees too. Flexible work schedules have major benefits for the employee — better mental and physical health, more productivity and improved performance. All of these advantages are benefits to the employer, too.

Employees can be offered this benefit upfront or as a possibility after some length of time. Fully flexible hours, the ability to work from home occasionally, and the consistent application of this benefit can be a meaningful perk.

Other non-financial benefits that are considered attractive to employee retention include:

  • Health and wellness benefits such as on-site gyms or discounted memberships, biometric screenings and onsite medical care
  • Employee professional development and on-the-job training
  • Onsite childcare
  • Paid parental leave
  • Standing desks and other ergonomic accommodations
  • Health savings accounts
  • Onsite investment advice
  • Commuting subsidies
  • Mentoring opportunities
  • Identity protection services
  • Complimentary meals and snacks

Many of these benefits are inexpensive but can make a major difference when employees consider external opportunities.

What Role Does Corporate Culture Play in Employee Retention?

Your company must build a positive corporate culture and maintain it. That means establishing a culture where work is meaningful and employees see their roles in the larger picture. The first step to developing a positive corporate culture is to survey your employees about the workplace and the climate. These results should be shared and listened to. Among other things a company can do to retain tech workers are:

  • Empower and trust IT employees with projects, whether working in teams or solo
  • Deemphasize hierarchies by getting leadership out of their offices while leaving their doors open
  • Stress the importance of teamwork and allow those teams to chart their path forward with a project, while leadership remains less involved, keeping the teams mindful of objectives and timelines
  • Be sure the culture is unified across units and employee roles or classifications
  • Address conflicts among or with IT employees quickly, instead of letting those issues simmer

A healthy and thriving corporate culture makes employees not only want to stick around but also to encourage other talented IT workers to join them.

What Can Managers Do to Improve IT Staff Retention?

Listen to your employees. It seems like such a basic principle but if employees feel they are not being heard or that what they’re sharing is not valued, they will look elsewhere for work. Transparency and communication go hand in hand and should be a part of the organization at all stages. The importance and value of communication should be expressed at each stage of an employee’s relationship, starting with recruitment.

People who have a voice, whether directly or indirectly via surveys or anonymous interviews, and feel heard will stay longer. If they understand the organization’s mission, values and core goals and can speak to them, the connection deepens.

Open and candid direction needs to be regular, consistent and important. Leaders need to recognize and support healthy conflict, allowing employees the safety to speak candidly.

The benefits to the organization are so significant, as IT employees who are encouraged to share and be heard are likely to add new ideas, solutions and perspectives that improve business outcomes.

What Should We Do About IT Employee Career Development?

For too long, companies have incorrectly feared that if they give workers too many new skills, they’ll just take those new talents elsewhere.

The reality is that companies today need to provide IT workers with a committed approach to their professional development. This can be achieved in many ways, including:

  • Tuition reimbursement for additional degrees
  • Learning programs, either onsite or elsewhere
  • Conference participation as an attendee or presenter
  • Professional networking opportunities

Investing in these types of programs gives you many ways to invest in your employees and their continued success. Yes, some may leave but the opportunity to engage employees and show how valued they are is worth it.

A committed approach to employee benefits, communication, corporate culture and professional growth gives your business the opportunity to stand out among your competitors to retain top IT staff.