Why CIOs Must Make Employee Retention a Top Priority This Year

ITNow that IT has evolved from a utility service to a driver of business goals, the war for talent is heating up. That’s bad news for CIOs, considering tech talent battles have been raging heavily for the last several years.  When a talented employee leaves for a new opportunity, filling that open position can be a lengthy ordeal. This year, tech leaders must focus on employee retention and building a pipeline to guard against potential losses.


Low Unemployment Poses Real Retention Obstacles

Unemployment in IT has remained steady at a mere 3 percent, with absolutely no signs of slowing. That means that the most talented tech professionals who want jobs are employed.  That number also means that the skills gap plaguing specialties like big data, security and development will continue to pose problems for internal hiring teams.


Low unemployment also means it’s a job-seekers market. People who want to explore new opportunities can quickly find something new, and they can command high salaries in the process.  In this climate, someone who may be quite happy in their current position can easily be wooed away by a competitor dangling a juicy salary and benefits package.


Guarding Against IT Turnover

There is no cure-all when it comes to employee retention, however, CIOs should invest in programs that help keep employees engaged in their work and loyal to the company. Investing in retention now can save a great deal of money in the long run. To keep skilled tech professionals happy, consider adopting policies such as:


  • Salary reviews: Make sure you are paying a competitive salary. You don’t have to lead the pack in terms of compensation, but you don’t want to be paying below the market level.
  • Non-traditional benefits: Yes, vacation days, bonuses and health insurance matter. However, so does work-life balance. Non-traditional benefits like job sharing, telecommuting, flexible schedules and time off for volunteer work demonstrates to employees that you care about the things that matter to them outside the office.
  • Tuition reimbursement: IT pros must constantly be learning new skills. Show them you value those skills by offering tuition reimbursement for degrees or certifications they earn.  Most employers require a set number of years of service after the degree is earned, boosting retention.
  • On-the-job-training: Offer seminars, classes or even skills mentoring between team members. Again, valuing skills development shows an interest in the development of your employees.
  • Career development: You probably asked your employees about their career plans during their interview. When was the last time you revisited those plans? What have you done to help them realize those plans with your organization? Investing in helping team members achieve their goals means investing in long-term retention.

Retention Begins With Recruiting

You can’t hope to retain top talent if you aren’t recruiting the right people from the start.  This means attention to detail. Job postings must be clear and accurate, expectations must be communicated from the very first interview, thorough background and reference checks must be completed, and interviewers must be able to identify soft skills and personality traits that indicate a strong, lasting fit. You must also build a solid pipeline of passive talent – people who are currently employed but who would be willing to make a change for the right opportunity.


Many internal hiring teams struggle to build hiring and retention teams that guard against turnover. This is where a professional recruiting partner can make all the difference. If you want to protect your most valuable IT asset – your talent – you need the right recruiters on your team. The IT experts at CSS are industry leaders with a proven track record of success. Don’t lose the war for talent. Reach out to CSS today to learn more about how we can help you make retention a priority this year.