In an already-volatile market for IT talent, regrettable turnover is impacting organizational productivity and leading to significant costs associated with employee departures and replacements. To support organizations navigating the challenges of IT talent attraction and retention, global IT research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group has published a new blueprint titled Tactics to Retain IT Talent. The timely industry research is intended to help IT, HR, and organizational leaders identify the key reasons for turnover within their organization and leverage employee data and feedback to work with management to develop solutions to retain top IT talent.
Many organizations tackle retention from an engagement perspective with an aim to increase engagement to improve retention. However, this approach does not consider the whole problem. For example, engagement surveys often mask the volatility of the employee experience and hide the reason why individual employees leave. Therefore, it is crucial to speak with employees to understand the moments that matter to them and engage with managers to understand turnover triggers.
“Retention and turnover are two sides of the same coin. You can’t fix retention without first understanding turnover,” says Will Howard, director, HR research & advisory services at McLean & Company, a division of Info-Tech Research Group. “Improving retention isn’t just about lowering turnover; it’s about discovering what that looks like sustainably and collaboratively for your organization. To be successful in your IT talent retention endeavors, retention plans must be owned by both HR and IT leaders.”
Info-Tech’s research indicates retention efforts focused on IT employees that are supported by both HR and IT are more likely to result in success. HR professionals often have insights into where and why retention is an issue. Gathering detailed employee feedback data through transparent and anonymous surveys and focus groups provides credibility to these insights and is key to building a case for action. IT leaders often have the most visibility into their employees’ personal and work lives and have a key opportunity to anticipate and address turnover triggers, while stay interviews help managers anticipate potential retention issues on their teams.
To help HR and IT leaders develop an effective, holistic retention plan for IT talent, Info-Tech recommends following its two-step process below:
- Identify reasons for regrettable turnover – Step one requires analyzing and documenting why employees join, stay, and leave an organization, as well as employee needs and common themes. This step also includes conducting employee focus groups and prioritizing employee needs.
- Select solutions and create an action plan – The second step consists of selecting and prioritizing solutions to address identified employee needs, creating a plan to launch stay interviews, and building an action plan to implement solutions.
Upon completion of the two-step process, it is important to continue the work. IT and HR leaders should regularly analyze engagement and retention levels to identify ongoing themes and trends, observe employee and manager feedback regularly, and revisit planned initiatives to determine if a refresh is necessary to meet changing organizational and employee needs.