IT and HR managers charged with retention of technology professionals would do well to pay attention to the results of a recent Robert Half Technology survey. A fairly large respondent group of over 2,300 North American people working in IT indicated their career frustrations.
According to a release from Robert Half, when asked, “In general, which three of the following situations would cause you the most frustration on the job?” worries about advancement opportunities was chosen most frequently, at 45 percent.
Going beyond a solid pay package is necessary for retention, says Robert Half Senior Executive Director John Reed of the results. “IT workers worry about remaining relevant and marketable, and they look to their employers to help them acquire new skills and advance in their careers. Often, the ability to learn and grow can be as important as a competitive compensation package."
Robert Half suggests these methods of improving retention among the IT ranks:
“Tip the pay scales in your favor. Pay always plays a large role in job satisfaction, and bonuses show appreciation for a job well done. Robert Half Technology's 2015 Salary Guide can be a useful resource for tracking pay rates in your city.”
Keep on top of the going rates by monitoring multiple sources, like Dice.com’s lists of fastest-growing IT markets, or economic growth reports from cities and metro areas, like this one from L.A. County. And remember that your IT employees are doing the same.
“Carve dual paths. Provide well-defined career paths for tech professionals, including alternative paths for those who don't aspire to management but are strong individual contributors.”
Hiring managers always say they are looking for individuals who are flexible and creative thinkers -- people who can multi-task and problem-solve. So help employees focus on those strengths throughout their career at your company by supporting their strengths and efforts to continue career learning.
“Strike a balance. Perks that promote work-life balance, like telecommuting or flexible schedules, can provide a big boost in job satisfaction.”
Making schedules work, adding telecommuting to improve efficiency, and being sensitive to fluctuations in workloads can be done without a budget and have a huge positive effect on retention. Model your work-life balance policies on the ones that employees have rated the best of the best.
“Avoid burnout. When you know your IT team is working at capacity, be proactive about finding ways to help them better manage their workloads – hire IT consultants, for example, or put non-essential projects on hold.”
Don’t expect your team to become IT superheroes.
“Cut the red tape. Keep a motto of less structure, more innovation. Make it a point to keep bureaucracy to a minimum when it comes to your tech team.”
Don’t assume you’ve got the big kinks worked out; ask your team, repeatedly, what would make their days go more smoothly. Sometimes the question will jar loose an answer that wouldn’t otherwise fully form in the chaos of day-to-day duties.
Kachina Shaw is managing editor for IT Business Edge and has been writing and editing about IT and the business for 15 years. She writes about IT careers, management, technology trends and managing risk. Follow Kachina on Twitter @Kachina and on Google+