Employee Retention Becoming More Important

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Imagine you’re a baseball manager who has a team that has been together for a long time. They know your policies and strategies, as well as the characteristics and abilities of their fellow teammates, inside and out. Through continuous, rigorous repetitions of throwing, base-running, hitting and fielding, they have managed to come together as a single unit, greater than the sum of its parts.

Now imagine every player on that roster gets traded, and a new squad comes in. Not only that, but the owner announces he’s going to clean house every season, forcing you to rebuild a team each year from a bunch of dissimilar individuals who haven’t the slightest notion of how you and the others will perform on the diamond. Obviously, you aren’t going to win many pennants with this sort of team (unless, of course, you’re Joe Torre, and your team is the New York Yankees). The point is, employees are generally going to work smarter and more productively if they’re in a familiar environment and accustomed to the skills, knowledge and mannerisms of their co-workers. Thus, staff retention is crucial in getting the utmost effort from your staff.


Apparently, chief information officers (CIOs) are reawakening to this issue, long dormant in the business world. In a national poll released last week by Robert Half Technology (RHT), CIOs were asked, “In your opinion, is the retention of your IT staff becoming more or less important as the economy improves?” Fifty-eight percent of CIOs surveyed believe keeping their best people is becoming more critical as the economy gains momentum. Thirty-six percent of those polled said it was not a factor, while only 6 percent said it was less important. The poll included responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.


Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, offered the following tips for motivating and retaining IT professionals:



  • Make it personal: Customize training and career planning to each employee’s strengths and interests. Does he or 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 you place a fair value on their work.


For more information on the results of the poll, visit http://www.rht.com.

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