Turnover is an expensive problem for all industries, but right now IT finds it particularly hard retaining talent because it is a candidate’s market. Demand for technology resources is high.
The highest turnover rates in IT typically happen with employees and contractors who make $100,000 or less each year. These individuals often move jobs for minor salary increases because they feel undervalued.
To start engaging IT employees so they do not start searching for something new, first determine which employees you want to make an effort to retain. While the following tips can be used for all employees, they are especially important to use for anyone you want to encourage to stay.
One of the easiest things management can do to retain an employee is to interact with them. Schedule a stop by their desk regularly (e.g., once a day or once a week) to say hello. While there, check in with them to see how they are doing. This is not the time to pester them about a deliverable; rather, this is about acknowledging them as an employee and a valued contributor.
Recognize and Reward
When they do great work (like completing a project early) take a moment to recognize them and the job they did. Specifically mention what they did that impressed you, thank or congratulate them for the work, and (if possible) give them a token of your appreciation. This can be something inexpensive, like a $5 Starbucks gift card. What really matters is that they feel rewarded—not that the reward be expensive.
The ultimate “reward” is, of course, a raise. Do everything you can to give deserving employees the raises they earn. If your company is on a raise-freeze, acknowledge that you still value your employees by giving them a department- or company-wide appreciation party.
Feedback should not be reserved for annual reviews. Instead, meet with your employees and contractors once every month or quarter to give them specific feedback on what they do well—and if there are any areas where they can improve. This can (and should) be a quick, casual conversation. The entire reason to have it is to help them understand that you see the good they do and want them to improve if there are any issues.
When you pull them aside for this informal feedback session, be sure to ask for their feedback too. Employees do not typically volunteer information about things that trouble them and may not feel comfortable sharing even when they are asked. Continue asking whenever you meet, and act on their comments when they offer them to build trust.
Training and Career Improvement
Every employee and contractor wants to improve their skills and career over time. Retain them by helping them achieve some (if not all) training and career improvement goals. Start by having a conversation with them about their career path. Ask them about career goals, what skills they wish they had, and where they might want to go next in their career path.
Once you know what they want, take steps to help them achieve their goals. For example, you could:
- Let them shadow someone with their “future job” a few times a month. This mentorship program costs you nothing, helps both the mentor and the mentee to gain insight, and may help reduce training time should you ultimately promote the individual.
- Have top performers attend special industry events or training seminars. This will help improve their skills and keep them interested in their work.
- Offer a training initiative program. Either offer to pay for select training courses outright, or allow employees to take additional training which you will reimburse them for if they pass their course.
Time Out of the Office
Everyone needs time away from the office, but most do not take all of the vacation time they earn. While you should not force them to go on vacation, you can take small steps to ensure they get regular time out of the office. Organize team outings once a month to let them spend time unwinding with teammates. Bowling, laser tag, and ropes courses can all be fun ways to do team building and escape the cubicle. You benefit from a more cohesive team, and they benefit from relieving stress.
You can also reward individuals and teams for hard work by letting them leave early for the weekend or come in late on Monday. This “time off” helps keep hard workers from burning out too easily, gives them time with friends and family, and overall keeps them motivated to do their best work.
JDC Group’s approach is consultative in order to build lasting relationships with clients and consultants who know and trust our expertise. We spend time with you to identify opportunities, collect feedback, and more. Our job makes your job easier, including engaging IT employees. Contact us today at email@example.com to learn more.