Harvey Nash appeared in CIO.com’s article “Retaining IT superstars” on February 28, 2019

March 14, 2019

It’s getting more and more difficult for most companies to recruit and retain top tech talent. Competition from huge tech companies with deep pockets makes it particularly tough for other companies to keep their star IT employees from jumping ship.

A major part of the problem is an IT worker shortage. In a 2018 survey from IT outsourcing firm Harvey Nash and auditor KPMG, 65% of the responding technology leaders said they see an IT skills gap. A recently released NTT Communications’ survey also found U.S. enterprises experiencing an IT skills shortage, with 16.5% said of those responding saying they expect the shortage to impact their decision making over the next 10 months. 

The good news is that, even when competing against the huge salaries offered by the largest tech vendors, other companies can take several steps to keep their IT superstars. Of course, some bad news also comes with good news, and in this case, the bad news is there are no easy answers.

There’s no simple checklist a company can use to keep its top tech performers. As the saying goes, one size does not fit all.

Tech companies have tried a lot of different methods: free soft drinks and lunch, free T-shirts and coffee mugs, on-site daycare and gyms. While no one objects to a free lunch, it’s clear that most employees are motivated, to a certain extent, by salary and benefits.

Still, money is not everything.

Beyond competitive salary and benefits, we at NTT Communications in the United States see the importance of getting to know each employee and figuring out what motivates them. Job satisfaction is based on a number of factors, with each worker responding to a unique set of issues that motivate them to stay with their current employer.

This individualized approach to retaining employees puts a lot of responsibility on company managers to get to know their star employees and to find out what motivates them. In many cases, a star employee decides whether to stay with her current employer based on job satisfaction issues that managers can, for lack of a better word, manage.

Even with an individualized approach, there are some common themes related to what employees want. Many seek empowerment, the ability to control their own projects or work schedules and to have a sense of ownership over their work product.

These IT employees want to feel like they are contributing to the success of the company, or they are creating value for the company, the market, or the world at large. They feel they can create value by being in control of their project, by being in the driver’s seat.

An Array of Motivations

Other IT employees get a sense of joy from seeing themselves as part of the business. They look for a sense of belonging, a sense of being part of a larger team. In many cases, these employees look for experiences in which they can interact with customers as a way to see the big picture. In some cases, these IT workers enjoy representing the company at trade shows and other events.

Still other workers seek out new experiences and new projects. They embrace change and new experiences, and are motivated by interacting with new technologies and new ideas. These employees like to be exposed to new products coming in from vendors or with new software packages.

Ultimately, it’s up to a company and its managers to find out what makes its top IT performers tick. Then, the company can give them the right rewards and responsibilities that will make them want to stick around.

Read the original article.