4 Simple Retention Strategies to Keep Top Tech Talent

Collaborating is important on IT teams.

With a very low unemployment rate in most of the tech industry — particularly in specialty disciplines such as mobile, web and digital, and data and cloud computing — the pressure is high to implement IT projects to enable your organization to benefit from the return on investment. Losing team members is tough, but losing your top tech talent can lead to major setbacks.

Here are a few IT retention concepts used by top managers that work:

1. If they are your best people, make sure they know it

Leave nothing to chance. Acknowledge their contributions and recognize them for their work and overall value to the team and the organization. Determine how each individual on your team prefers to be recognized. Some might appreciate a personal thank-you note at the end of a successful, long-term project, while others might enjoy being nominated for an industry award or other form of more public recognition for a job well done.

Here are five warning signs that your top tech talent has a foot out the door.

2. Set up a plan with your best tech talent for long-term career growth and job satisfaction

Top performers want to advance and feel challenged. Your best people will be less interested in looking elsewhere if they know they can accomplish everything they want in your organization. A well thought out plan offering career development or training in the areas they're most interested in does just that.

3. Be proactive

Don't wait for the top tech talent in your group to ask for more money. Make sure sure their salary is in line (check out Robert Half Technology's Salary Guide). Even if it is, consider boosting it or offering an unexpected bonus for exemplary work. Ask for their ideas or leadership on an interesting project to keep them engaged.

4. Listen closely to top tech talent

If you create an environment where open feedback is welcome and expected, your best people will tell you everything you need to know about their job satisfaction. If they know they have a voice, they won't take their frustrations elsewhere. Adopt these four simple retention concepts and you'll be ahead of the game. It's much easier to retain than replace, so your focus on retention will pay dividends.

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Note: This post has been updated. It originally appeared 3/20/14.