Five strategies HR leaders can use to retain top IT talent

Ensure headhunters have no chance of poaching your IT talent

Employee retention has been declining in many companies in recent years. In a Microsoft study, 43% of employees stated that they are likely to change employer within the next year. Among Generation Z and Millennials, this figure is as high as 52%.

For companies, the departure of any IT talent incurs high costs. Yet all HR managers know that highly qualified IT specialists are a rare and valuable commodity on the job market. This makes it even more important to develop a sustainable IT human resources strategy so that you retain young IT talent in good time. In other words, you want to ensure that they don’t succumb to the enticing offers of headhunters who contact them via career networks.

In this blog post, we’ll show you how HR managers can level up their talent management by improving some important measures for employee retention – divided into five strategic areas.

Five measures for employee retention in the IT sector

1. Pay: Fair, transparent and motivating

Should I stay or should I go? When it comes to employee retention, the question of performance-based pay for employees is and remains a persistent issue. Rising rents and the cost-of-living crisis due to consistently high inflation have made the issue of salary even more important for many IT professionals in recent times.

HR managers should therefore not underestimate this aspect and ensure that IT jobs are remunerated in line with the market. A proven financial incentive for IT talent is performance-based pay, which consists of a base salary topped up by contractually defined, transparent performance bonuses.

When it comes to pay, however, HR managers should also be aware that money is not the only contractual factor that boosts the loyalty of IT employees. It is only one important element of an overall package that should be supplemented with other incentives and benefits. These include benefits that fall under the headings of health, work-life balance and career development.

2. Workplace: Flexibility is becoming increasingly crucial

A few years ago, modern workplaces seeking to attract young IT talent were primarily characterised by efforts to transform formerly dreary offices into an oasis of wellbeing with ball pits and table football. A modern, appealing workplace design is certainly still welcomed by talent in the IT industry, but the aspect of hybrid working has come further to the fore since the coronavirus pandemic. According to a ManpowerGroup report, 87% of the workforce don’t want to work from the office full-time, and 64% would consider looking for a new job if they were required to return to the office full-time.

HR leaders should keep in mind that hybrid work is not just an organisational issue. Rather, companies must also create the necessary infrastructure so that employees and their teams are truly empowered to immerse themselves in hybrid work environments. This requires the creation of virtual workplaces that have flexible work tools such as notebooks or collaborative work tools.

3. Corporate culture: A change in values is knocking at the door

“A work hard, play hard” working environment has not really been embraced by today’s IT talent. Instead, HR managers who place great value on improving employee retention should rethink their corporate culture. Young employees expect a corporate culture that focuses on empathy, a strong sense of community without exclusion and open lines of communication in everyday work.

Managers should have the ability to communicate processes in a transparent manner within the company. The leadership culture should aim to create a space of emotional and psychological security for employees. With small measures such as creating spaces that also make the workplace a social experience, you strengthen social cohesion while simultaneously sending a strong signal of an open, diverse corporate culture.

4. Purpose: Money alone is not enough

For IT talent, the question of purpose is another aspect of employee retention that shouldn’t be underestimated. In a world of increasing uncertainty due to climate change and other global crises, it’s becoming more and more important for young people to feel like they are pursuing an overarching goal with a positive meaning while at work – not just working for their next payslip.

HR managers should therefore work to ensure that their company creates a jointly developed mission statement that employees can rally behind with a clean conscience. This strengthens their identification with your company and can serve as powerful motivation, which can be translated into tangible goals for everyday work, e.g. in the form of objectives and key results.

5. Career: Create new development opportunities

Finally, an important strategy for increasing IT talent retention is to provide employees with transparent opportunities to develop within the company. On the one hand, this includes offers such as further training and coaching, with which the in-house IT junior staff can expand their individual skills.

On the other hand, it’s particularly important for many IT professionals to be shown alternative career paths within a company besides the classic management career. This could be achieved by introducing career levels for subject matter experts or project managers.

Bottom line: Boost employee loyalty in your IT team

This short list of various measures shows you that boosting employee loyalty in a company isn’t rocket science. For many companies, it means changing established structures and behaviour.

Nevertheless, companies should be aware that continuing in the same old rut is not an option if they want to survive in the competitive market for IT talent. At Experis, we support you as experienced recruiting and consulting experts for all aspects of corporate IT and careers. Get in touch today.