7 Ways to Retain IT Workers and Keep the Skills Shortage at Bay

1/24/2018

tech employeesIf you’ve been pursuing any cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) or cloud-migration initiatives, the ongoing IT skills shortage has hit uncomfortably close to home. Currently, there are far more IT openings than qualified people to fill them, so competition for available talent is more fierce than it’s ever been.   

So how are businesses, whose very existence depends on having a secure, efficiently run enterprise, to safeguard their business and technology interests? Short answer: better talent retention

If You Can’t Outspend, Outsmart      

Rewarding effective IT staff can dial up productivity and dial back grumbling and dissatisfaction, says training company ITProTV, which touts as foundational the work of psychologist Frederick Herzberg. Herzberg is known for his study of workplace motivational and demotivational factors, and for developing his motivator-hygiene theory. 

Stated simply, Herzberg believed that motivators–enjoying one’s work, feeling recognized, and believing one’s career is moving forward–lead to satisfaction and inspire people to work harder, while hygiene factors–work relationships, company policies, benefits, and salary–stymie motivation and stir dissatisfaction.

Freshen Up Your Reward System Now
If you currently employ talented IT people (we sincerely hope that you do), recruiters or other firms may be regularly wooing them. Rather than wait for the sad good-bye letter, why not refresh your retention strategy now, with these Herzberg-inspired ideas?

Motivator Factors

Professional development. Mastering their craft is a powerful internal motivator. “IT employees greatly appreciate learning and development opportunities because they advance their careers and make then even more valuable,” says ITProTV.  So to help keep valued staff engaged, you can:

  • Send them to skill-building conferences
  • Conduct onsite lunch-and-learn programs
  • Offer (free of charge) job-related books, courses, seminars or certifications­ 

Relationships, policies and perks. Like it or not, in-demand workers seem to have their pick of employers. So their likes, dislikes and expectations are a key consideration in your retention strategy. Aside from providing a fair-market salary and benefits package, other keys include creating a work environment in which they can thrive, both personally and professionally.  As ITProTV  suggests, your approach could include things like:

  • Team lunches and happy hours–offsite get-togethers are great for icebreaking and teambuilding
  •  Early release days–who doesn’t’ want extra time for themselves?
  • Transit vouchers and car rental upgrades–the first eases the cost and hassle of getting to work and the second makes travelling on business that much more comfortable
  • Paid non-work services–reward diligence and hard work by paying for an employee’s house cleaning, lawn service or window-washing expenses

Of course, we’re not suggesting you reward for rewarding’s sake. Every employee, including the IT staff, owes you an honest day’s work for the wages you pay. We just know from experience that the IT skills shortage is real, and that smaller companies need every advantage to remain competitive. Creatively rewarding performance is just one more way to do it. 

If you’re in-between IT hires or need technical expertise you currently lack, contact us today.