CIO Survey Reveals Most Effective Retention Methods

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Menlo Park, Calif.

In the information technology industry, money talks, but it’s not the only employee-loyalty tool, a new survey shows. When CIOs were asked to identify the most effective ways to keep IT staff, compensation (27 percent) topped the list. Providing opportunities for professional development was close behind, cited by 21 percent of respondents; another 18 percent said flexible schedules helped to improve retention rates.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with 1,400 CIOs across the United States.

CIOs were asked: “Which of the following elements have you found most effective at improving IT staff retention?”

  • Increased compensation – 27 percent
  • Professional development or training – 21 percent
  • Offering flexible schedules – 18 percent
  • Telecommuting – 7 percent
  • Extra vacation days or time off – 6 percent
  • Granting company stock or options – 2 percent
  • Other – 1 percent
  • None – 7 percent
  • Don’t know – 11 percent

“Attractive pay is always a key selling point for IT professionals, but it’s only one element of an effective retention program,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Creating an attractive corporate culture, which includes everything from training to work-life balance programs, is crucial for keeping valued employees, especially when the hiring environment for highly skilled professionals is competitive.”

Lee noted that IT workers in particular appreciate professional development opportunities that help them keep up with changes in the industry. “Offering employees options for building their skills enhances their effectiveness on the job and demonstrates an investment in their long-term career growth.”

Effective Retention Programs
Robert Half Technology offers the following advice for improving retention rates:

  • Pay competitively. Periodically benchmark employee compensation against industry-standard ranges to ensure your salaries are keeping pace. Robert Half Technology produces an annual Salary Guide with salary ranges for more than 60 IT positions.
  • Offer and promote training. Provide IT staff access to the courses and certification programs they need to grow their careers. Make sure employees are aware of professional development opportunities.
  • Support work-life balance. To prevent teams from burning out, ensure that workloads are realistic. Encourage employees to ask for help when they need it, and consider bringing in project professionals to help during peak periods.
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