Retaining Your IT Talent

For many of us, our holidays are over: we should now have recharged the batteries and be feeling ready to launch into the new year with a new-found passion and excitement. Only one problem, it’s hard to get motivated, right?

Whilst we may be waiting until after the Australia Day weekend to get our butts back into gear, there is one truth we cannot avoid: the recruitment market is just about to pick up steam too! Some of our staff are likely going to start to field job offers. If they go, it will be a quick reality check the holidays are over.

Daniel Pink’s “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” philosophy is a great way to retain your talented team, but how do you put it into practice with your engineering staff

1. Avoid making Captain’s Calls

Engineering staff are (for the most part) a logical bunch. More often than not, they are heavily opinionated too. Try to include them in decision-making processes. Try to avoid micromanagement techniques which will help them to feel more empowered and in control of their day-to-day.

2. Flexibility in hours and location

IT jobs rarely align with a nine-to-five schedule: servers and applications need patching out of hours, migrations need to occur on weekends, projects are running across different time zones. In other cases, some staff need some flexibility to juggle work and family commitments, medical appointments etc. Focus your staff on the outcomes rather than being a timekeeper.

Equally, offering the flexibility to work from home is a much-appreciated perk and a break from a noisy, busy office may just help them to get through the mundane boring tasks (like documentation) or provide the space to be more creative and automate some of those pain points.

3. Training and personal development

CFO: What happens if we train them and they leave?

CEO: What happens if we don’t and they stay?

There are plenty of great, cost-effective training resources out there for IT professionals, so training doesn’t have to be a big financial investment anymore. Encourage staff to take a study day off here or there. Invest in soft-skill training (communication, leadership, emotional intelligence etc). Ensure that staff have access to new technologies: consider funding a lab environment for staff to tinker with new toys well away from your clients’ production systems.

4. Recognition

It’s important to give praise and acknowledge staff contributions, especially those aligned to the company mission/vision/purpose. Financial remuneration is one way to show appreciation, but calling out a job well done in front of colleagues and/or senior management also make a team member feel valued.

5. Remuneration

Even if you subscribe to Dan Pink’s philosophy in that salary isn’t everything, money talks. If you want to retain your staff, you need to pay them enough for them to take money off the table. Take some time to ensure they are being paid competitively for the skills they bring to your organisation.

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.