No matter where you look, almost every company is desperately seeking tech specialists, with IT professionals such as software developers and system administrators among the most sought-after professional groups on the job market. Anyone who has acquired a certain professional qualification in their job can more or less choose where they want to work. In other words, fantastic conditions for applicants but challenging conditions for companies.
Once a company has successfully filled an IT position, there should be a strong interest in retaining the new employee. However, employee retention is just as challenging as recruitment, especially when salaries cannot be scaled upwards indefinitely. We want to present four non-financial incentive schemes to keep your IT talent both satisfied and loyal over the long-term.
Why are IT employees currently in such high demand?
Increasing demand: Companies outside the IT sector now have a need for tech experts. Traditional industries are also increasingly hiring their own IT staff to support the now omnipresent IT infrastructure.
Worldwide possibilities: Lots of IT tasks can be completed irrespective of location. If local companies don’t offer the desired conditions, an IT professional can extend their search radius almost worldwide. In the wake of the pandemic, most companies have created opportunities for remote work, thereby increasing competition and ensuring that less attractive IT positions remain unfilled.
Shortage of skilled workers: Demographic change is not stopping at the IT industry. With birth rates in decline, there are fewer and fewer skilled workers available on the job market. What’s more, older workers don’t often have the digital skills required for demanding jobs in the IT world.
Meaningful incentives for employees: How can you tackle churn among IT staff?
Employee churn in the tech sector is high. The permanently large number of open positions has even led to a kind of “switching culture” among IT employees: frequent changes of employer are simply good manners and the order of the day. Other possible reasons for high turnover include:
Excellent opportunities on the job market
Poor work-life balance, stressful working conditions
Enjoying variety and new challenges
Limited growth opportunities
Lack of loyalty due to the prevailing corporate culture.
Even though salary is a frequently cited reason for switching, money isn’t the be-all and end-all. Money alone does not make for loyal employees. That’s good news for all companies who must work with capped salaries. In fact, there are many companies that can’t pay top salaries but still enjoy extremely low employee churn. And you can, too! We’d now like to present our top four non-financial employee benefits that will help you retain your IT talent for the long haul.
Four non-financial measures to better retain IT talent
Internal promotion and development opportunities
In the past, if you wanted to move up the career ladder, you had to change jobs at least every two years. Needless to say, this would be to a higher position with a more challenging remit or greater responsibility. Younger team members often feel trapped by narrow job descriptions and see no way of proving themselves outside of it.
For companies, however, this practice is a small disaster, because they lose team members who are ready to lead and interested in growth to their competitors. Smart companies get to the root of this problem by not allowing employees to get the impression that they are in a dead-end job. Instead, they offer attractive internal opportunities similar to those that tech employees would find on the open market, e.g. further training and education within the respective function, regardless of promotion opportunities.
Internal qualification marketplaces help here, where projects are assigned to appropriately qualified team members independently of the organisational structure. This allows employees to network, develop themselves and even move in a different professional direction.
Successful work-life integration
Work-life balance is a thing of the past. Today, employees are not just looking for work-life balance; they want a well-rounded package that allows them to integrate their job seamlessly into their personal lives. IT professionals are often willing to work outside of traditional working hours. They are mobile, don’t need a lot of equipment and are often engaged with tech topics in their private lives. The line between professional and private life is often blurred here.
That’s why work-life integration is a powerful reward for IT talent. Give your employees the opportunity to blend their job with their own lives. This can look like making working hours extremely flexible or not clearly defining them. Your IT staff will appreciate being able to answer private emails or take their children to the dentist during the day and will therefore be happy to take care of a system update at midnight. Joint workshops and team events are also welcome.
Participation is the exact opposite of giving up and quitting. Companies that give their IT talent room for personal development will find themselves in pole position in the war for talent. Employees like it when you give them a say and they can bring their own ideas to the fore. They want to make things happen using their own initiative and see that they have an influence.
The incentive model of participation incidentally solves another problem, as employees naturally move towards a field of activity that they find exciting. They shape parts of their job themselves according to their own criteria, thereby preventing boredom and dissatisfaction.
The simplest recipe for loyal employees? Give a lot, and you’ll get even more back. Or to put it another way, if you work hard every day for the good of the company, you want to get more back than just an impersonal payslip. Be sure to give lots of appreciation – it's more effective and far less expensive.
In practice, appreciation is quite simple. All you have to do is praise them and listen. We recommend sitting down with your IT employees on a regular basis, as this will give them the feeling of being seen, and you’ll also find out how they would like to be recognised. You can then tailor the company benefits and incentive schemes to suit them. Possible company benefits include:
Agreement of bonuses for particularly good results
Does this really prevent people from leaving? Yes! Companies with internal development opportunities benefit from the fact that people are intrinsically averse to change and, if they feel comfortable, will be happy to stay in the company with which they are already familiar.
Getting IT professionals from Experis is always a good idea
Retaining in-house IT staff with the help of incentive schemes and operational benefits is one of HR’s primary tasks. However, sometimes this is not enough to meet the immense demand for technology knowledge. In this case, you should consider yourself lucky if you have access to a pool of quickly available IT experts! With IT professionals from Experis, you can bridge the temporary shortage of specialists in the tech sector or permanently fill gaps in your IT team. Get in touch!