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10 Tips To Develop and Retain the Best IT Talent

Talent shortage if a reality, that's why it's important to engage people in any organization. Here are 10 tips to help you attract, retain, and develop the best IT talent.
Daniel Zacharias

Jake Sopiars

August 4, 2022
Retain your best IT talent happy.

In what is dubbed a tech talent “exodus,” IT and software developer professionals are quitting their jobs in droves. Employers are left to wonder how they can attract and retain employees with the skill sets to build and maintain quality products — a must in our increasingly digital landscape. What can they do to ensure they don’t suffer the talent shortages many of their peers are experiencing?

1. Take stock of your gaps.

Before you begin implementing a plan to address your talent gaps, you need to know precisely what they are. Perhaps you have several solid senior software developers, but your user experience (UX) design team lacks a bit . Or maybe you’re looking to improve your quality assurance (QA) team.

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can begin overhauling  your hiring, development, and retention plans.

2. Onboard effectively.

A poor onboarding experience leads to frustration for managers and employees alike. Managers will be annoyed that their team members don’t understand the ins and outs of the company and how to complete their tasks and projects successfully. Employees, meanwhile, will be upset that they aren’t equipped to meet expectations.

That’s why it’s critical to create an onboarding plan that meets the needs of the employer and employee. It should be both engaging and effective, enabling the worker to learn the processes vital to job success and retain the information. The design will vary by organization, but it will most likely require input from existing team members and managers.

3. Offer upskilling opportunities.

A McKinsey survey of more than 1,500 senior executives around the world finds that 87% of respondents say that their businesses are not equipped to address the skill gap. In a rapidly growing and constantly changing sector, software developers must consistently devote time to upskilling and staying abreast of the latest trends.

You cannot expect your employees to do this on their own. Provide space and opportunities, such as training seminars and free access to courses, to help them improve their skills and grow as technology professionals.

4. Incentivize your IT talent.

Indeed, higher salaries alone are not enough to retain top talent, but they are a start. Average wages for tech talent are growing, and to stay competitive, you need to be able to match other businesses in the industry. Otherwise, you will lose out on the best talent.

In addition to monetary compensation, provide generous benefits, including health insurance, paid time off, stock options, and other incentives that motivate employees to stick around.

5. Make your collaborators feel valued.

While you shouldn’t blindly heap undeserved praise on your workers, you should still recognize a job well done. Sweeten that praise with promotions, increased responsibilities, and more. Your employees will see that their employer cares about their success and values them.

Additionally, when you do need to offer feedback, make it constructive. It gives your team members a way to grow and improve.

6. Prioritize diversity among your IT talent.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are critical to creating a welcoming environment that attracts and retains top IT talent. Building a culture that values different perspectives and makes everyone feel heard is essential. You should always seek out employees with various  backgrounds —  bringing greater creativity and innovation. 

Moreover, investment in DEI initiatives improves your brand reputation. Consumers will want to support you and buy your products, and professionals will want to work — or keep working — there.

7. Make roles fit employees — not the other way around.

Too often, employers have an exhaustive list of requirements that employees must fulfill for their roles. While ensuring that your workers meet your expectations and complete the job you have outlined is crucial, try an approach that uses these individuals’ talents rather than attempting to fit them into a rigid mold. You might even create roles that leverage their skill sets.

It, inevitably, will lead to more significant innovation — as well as make your employees feel valued and supported. 

8. Avoid silos.

Communication, transparency, and trust are the basis of healthy, supportive work culture. To embed these values into your workplace, you must eliminate silos, both among departments and within your larger organization. 

If team members are not collaborating successfully, they won’t feel like their employer is operating as they should be. This can lead to talented individuals seeking greener pastures, workplaces where they are better equipped to work together with their team members

9. Provide professional development for your IT talent.

Employee growth and development are critical for retaining talented individuals. They want to see a path forward, a means for success within your company. To that end, why not offer professional development opportunities? Education and resources that help your workers gain knowledge and advance  in their careers will encourage them to invest in their roles — and show loyalty to you and your company.

10. Think about work-life balance.

Work-life balance is a popular topic right now, and with good reason. In a largely remote-first landscape, people often find that the lines between work and personal lives are blurred, which  can lead to burnout.

Nip this in the bud before your IT workers feel they have no choice but to leave altogether. Make work-life balance a priority, implementing initiatives to ensure that nobody feels overwhelmed or burnt out. For example, you might establish strict sign-off times when employees are told to stop working and checking their email. Offer wellness programs aimed at reducing stress, too.

There is no foolproof method for ensuring that your tech team members stick around forever — when it comes to IT, talented professionals have plenty of options. But suppose you demonstrate that you care about your workers, invest in their success, and give them plenty of opportunities to grow. In that case, you will create a strategy conducive to maximum employee development and retention — strengthening your organization simultaneously.

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