Employee retention can be challenging, but it isn’t impossible. In this post, we explore five retention strategies to help ensure that you keep the best of the best IT pros happy, productive, and firmly planted on your team.
1. Focus on Hiring and Quality Onboarding
You can’t prevent turnover without a great infrastructure. A comprehensive, deliberate recruitment and hiring strategy is the foundation of any retention effort. This is especially true in the IT industry, where strong hiring can result in loyal employees who stick with an organization for the long haul if they have ownership of their work and have meaningful influence in the workplace.
Once you make a good hire, your initial work isn’t done. Effective onboarding has a direct correlation with how successful your new hire will be on the team and within the company. Make sure you have the processes in place to help new hires hit the ground running: Job-specific training, social opportunities, extensive communication, and so on.
2. Conduct Regular Assessments and Reviews
Provide feedback for your new IT hires early and often. Setting the precedent for regular assessments in the onboarding process is a good way to show your employees that you’ve created a collaborative, opportunity-rich environment. Over time, conducting regular formal and informal performance reviews — including an opportunity for self-assessment — can also provide a check for assessing the employee’s ongoing motivation and dedication, opening the door for intervention.
3. Reduce Burnout and Offer Work-Life Balance
Working in IT can be fast-paced, with high responsibility, and not always come with great reward. Rising stress levels and feelings burnt out can lead to employee turnover, so prevention is key. Ensure a reasonable division of labor on the team, and keep an eye on any colleagues who seem overworked.
Work-life balance looks different for different organizations and individuals, so determine what might work best for your team. Offering work from home days or flexible hours? Advocating for better benefits, like parental leave or increased PTO? Even something as simple as relaxing the dress code could improve morale, which contributes to retention.
4. Acknowledge Team and Individual Successes
Who wants to work somewhere that their contributions are never acknowledged? Make sure to outwardly show appreciation for your team’s individual and group successes, and make the effort to communicate those achievements to the organization at large. Doing so helps foster a sense of meaning and importance that can contribute to overall employee satisfaction.
Even if you don’t have the budget to offer bonuses or dinners out for your team, you still can make an impact. Writing an individual thank you note, showcasing an accomplishment in a company-wide email, or nominating a team member for an award or honor are all potential ways to acknowledge success.
5. Offer Long-Term Career Growth and Training
Not every organization can improve retention by simply offering higher salaries and generous perks (although those things certainly can contribute to top IT talent sticking around). Alternatively, you can focus on career development and training. This doesn’t just mean offering title changes or supporting employees as they move around in lateral positions.
During assessments and even during casual conversations with your team members, seek to discover their career aspirations. Then, put the time in to determine where in your organization those aspirations can align. Collaborate with employees to create a career development and training plan to help them achieve their goals. For some, this may mean connecting them with a colleague for mentoring. For others, it could mean sponsoring their next IT certification or a training class on a new technology or platform.
You don’t have to get stuck on the hamster wheel of IT turnover. Taking practical steps like formalizing a review process, developing career paths, celebrating successes, and providing training all go far in improving retention. Implementing these five strategies will help you focus on retention before turnover becomes a problem, or reduce turnover rates if you’ve already begun to experience it.