Technology executives concerned with retention: survey

Half of CIOs say retention of IT workers becoming more important as the economy improves

Canadian chief information officers are aware of the importance of retaining staff as the economy picks up momentum, according to a recent survey.

Half of CIOs surveyed said keeping their best people is becoming more critical as the economy gains momentum.

The national poll, conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a high-tech staffing firm, included responses from 270 CIOs from a random sample of Canadian companies with 100 ore more employees.

Technology executives were asked, “In your opinion, is the retention of your IT staff becoming more or less important as the economy improves?”

Their responses:

•much more important (21 per cent);
•somewhat more important (29 per cent);
•no change (48 per cent);
•somewhat less important (1 per cent); and
•much less important (1 per cent).

“Employee retention should be a high priority in any economic environment, but it is particularly important when firms are preparing for growth and new business opportunities,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Turnover can be costly for organizations in terms of lost productivity and intellectual capital, as well as recruitment and training expenses.”

How to retain high-tech staff

She offered the following tips for motivating and retaining information technology professionals:

Make it personal. Customize training and career planning to each employee’s strengths and interests. Does she desire a management track or more hands-on work developing applications?

Send in reinforcements. Many IT professionals have had to do more with less as a result of leaner workforces and budgets. Bringing in additional support and helping staff prioritize projects during busy times can circumvent stress and burnout.

Empower employees. Demonstrate trust in your employees by allowing them to implement their ideas and make strategic decisions.

Offer praise. Acknowledge your team’s contributions. Simple actions such as recognition during a staff meeting or writing a thank-you note can go a long way toward improving morale.

Show them the money. A competitive compensation and benefits package sends the message to employees that the organization places a fair value on their work.

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