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8 tips for retaining top IT talent

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 2, 2013
How do you retain top IT talent in a competitive market? Is it money? Flexibility? Something else? IT recruiters and executives share their top eight suggestions for how you can keep developers, engineers and IT staff happy.

5. Provide access to new technologies. IT workers "are invigorated by the chance to work with the latest and greatest technology," explains Josh Linton, vice president, Technology at VLCM, a technology reseller. So if you want to make them happy, or keep them interested, give them access to the latest technologies and equipment (provided they do not violate company security or privacy policies).

6. Give praise and acknowledge contributions."Victories, whether small or large, should be celebrated and praised in the department and in the company on a whole," advocates Charley Polachi, partner at Polachi Access Executive Search. "Employees that feel recognized and appreciated are happier and will feel more loyalty to their company."

"One of the most important things the CIO can do to retain key IT personnel is to recognize contributions, so team members feel that their contributions are meaningful, appreciated and in synch with the enterprise's mission," adds Todd Weinman, the founder and president of executive search firm The Weinman Group.

"While financial recognition is always appreciated, there are many other ways to recognize contributions that won't impact bottom line," he explains. "Recognizing individual contributions at staff meetings, bringing a team member's contributions to the attention of senior management, mentioning it in a company newsletter or Intranet, or even having a one-on-one conversation can all be effective ways to make a team member feel valued."

7. Offer free stuff. "Free perks such as pizza on Fridays, free massages or $50 gas credit may seem insignificant; however, they create a sense of appreciation and value for the employees," says Frank Philips, director of Mobility Solutions at InfoVision, a Dallas-based IT firm and app-development provider.

8. Provide a competitive compensation package."Though not everyone is motivated purely by salary these days, it is still an important part of retention to make sure your people are being paid competitively for their skills," explains Tracy Cashman, partner and general manager in the Information Technology Search division of staffing firm WinterWyman.

"Depending on your company's system, this could include base salary, yearly bonus and/or stock," Cashman says. Additionally, consider "building in project-based bonuses to your budget so that you can reward staff during the course of the year for a job well done."


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