How to Improve Employee Retention in the IT Sector
he IT industry has long suffered from a gender gap, a skills gap, and the need for continuous reeducation amidst a rapidly evolving tech landscape. With demand for IT talent skyrocketing there’s been a renewed focus on keeping skilled IT workers from leaving.
IT leaders are under immense pressure to deal with the problems that affect their entire industry. The sector continues to suffer from a significant gender gap, with women making up only 11% of IT professionals nationwide. That gap is tied to a skills gap, with some sources predicting that a scarcity of virtually all relevant IT skills will hit employers as early as this year. The paradigms that define IT work are rapidly evolving, and complex new skills sets must be learned seemingly every other week in order to keep up with new, cutting-edge technologies.
In short, there are too few IT people with too few IT skills to meet a demand that is growing more quickly all the time. That’s a pressing concern that IT professionals are understandably scrambling to resolve. But in rushing to put out these fires, IT leadership cannot forget about a concern that’s just as important: employee retention.
Why Employee Retention Should Be a Top Priority for IT
Remaining competitive in a tight job market means being able to offer IT talent strong benefits and a positive work culture — neither of these things are possible if you are dealing with constant turnover.
The first reason for this is that turnover tends to create a work environment that’s less than attractive for potential new recruits. Turnover leads to more turnover, as employees leave because they’re frustrated with a work environment that is constantly changing, job responsibilities that always shift, and a lack of the kind of cohesion needed for productivity and collaboration. Word travels fast in job recruit circles, and talented workers will assume the worst if they note that employees are frequently on the move.
Secondly, replacing employees isn’t cheap. CIO notes that employee turnover costs are as high as 2.5 times the salary of the exiting employee. That’s going to be especially considerable in IT, where recruiters must search longer and harder for top talent. Add “soft” costs like a dip in productivity and money spent on training, and you’ve got a full-blown drain on your company’s bottom line.
- What We Can Do About It
Retention isn’t just a costly problem — it’s contributing to the issues that IT leaders are dedicating all their attention to. Retention must improve if the skill and gender gaps are to be closed in the industry. Here are a few concrete steps your company can take right now to start doing exactly that.
- Offer Greater Workplace Flexibility
One simple thing you can do to keep workers engaged and happy is offer them more freedom to work how and when they choose. There’s a reason workplace flexibility is growing: mobile technology makes it far easier, and it makes for an cost-efficient benefit that companies can offer their employees. While you want to encourage a company culture by having employees work at HQ most days, offering remote work as an occasional option is a great, easy step you can take towards improving retention.
- Offer Better Compensation & Benefits
Obviously every company wants to offer its employees better benefits and salaries, but in many cases, it’s just not in the budget. That’s why it’s important for IT leaders to think outside the box when it comes to offering benefits. Consider including performance-based bonuses, stock options, and generous paid leave policies in your compensation package.
- Continuing Education & Paths For Advancement
Like in any relationship, employees feel more positively about their workplace when their employer actively works to make them feel valued. That means providing them with the resources they need to advance within your business, whether it’s training programs, new and important technologies they can learn to use, or even investment in their education. Research suggests that potential recruits view training (80%) and professional development programs (74%) as two things that would influence their decision to stay at a company over the next five years.
- Flexible Staffing
The ability to take pressure off of in-house workers with a flexible staff of managed service providers (MSPs) can prove hugely beneficial to the experience of IT workers. MSPs provide the support that your internal IT staff needs to keep a balanced workload, advance their skills and execute on the core demands of their jobs. But in order to gain access to these skilled workers in a way that benefits your bottom line, you need a company willing to provide you certified professionals on a flexible, as-needed basis.
- Partner with a Managed Services Company
Nothing says “I’ve got your back” to your most valued employees like a willingness to support them with highly skilled IT pros whenever they need it. For a fixed monthly payment, the experts at Turn-key Technologies (TTI) can offer you this kind of flexible support, ensuring your in-house team never feels overwhelmed or underappreciated.
At TTI, we have the experience and expertise to enable your enterprise to handle all the work of network design, deployment, management, and cybersecurity while also adopting cutting-edge technologies like SD-WAN and the Internet of Things. Your IT pros will feel far more secure knowing that our IT pros are just a phone call away, ready to put out fires and tackle new deployments at a moment’s notice while they focus on the daily demands of their jobs.
IT talent right now is scarcer than ever, but that’s all the more reason to focus on keeping the talent you’ve already got. TTI is an invaluable resource in creating the kind of environment that IT pros want to stay in.
By Tony Ridzyowski