Some 55% of CIOs say they are worried about employee retention in the next 12 months, according to research from staffing firm Robert Half.
And nearly one-quarter of tech executives said losing a highly-skilled employee without notice would have a "significant adverse" impact on their business, because that person would be difficult to replace.
The report "Employee Turnover Among Tech and Creative Teams" examined responses from two separate surveys, one of 2,500 US CIOs in 25 metropolitan areas, and one of 400 US advertising and marketing executives.
"Digital initiatives require technology, design and marketing talent who can collaborate closely to meet business goals," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a press release. "The best professionals, regardless of whether they're in the IT or creative disciplines, have technical expertise and solid communication skills, and this combination is hard to find. These workers are also difficult to retain, since many opportunities are available to them."
Among advertising and marketing executives, the top six causes of employee turnover were as follows: Limited opportunities for career growth (30%), job boredom (21%), inadequate compensation and benefits (20%), excessive workload (12%), unhappiness with management (7%), and lack of recognition (7%).
Business and tech workers can also learn from these typical reasons for employee turnover. In a September report, Robert Half also identified five warning signs that a tech employee might be preparing to leave, including increased absences or time away from the office, changes in attire, decreased communication or disengagement, changes in their personal workspace, and increased private conversations.
To retain IT employees specifically, Robert Half offers managers the following four tips:
1. If they are your best people, make sure they know it.
Acknowledge your employee's contributions, and recognize them for their individual work as well as for their value to the company. It's important to determine how each individual employee on your team prefers this recognition, such as with a private note or a public announcement.
2. Set up a plan with your best tech talent for long-term career growth and job satisfaction.
Ensure that top performers understand paths for growth in your organization, so they know they can advance and feel challenged with the company. Creating a career development plan or offering extra training in areas of interest can help.
3. Be proactive.
Make sure you are offering market salaries for your employees, and consider raises and bonuses for strong work. Ask for employee ideas on projects, in order to increase engagement.
4. Listen closely to top tech talent.
Create an environment where feedback is "welcome and expected," Robert Half advises. This way, your employees will be open about the areas of their job they are satisfied with, and with what needs improvement.
Many CIOs reported that their company was already engaging in some of these practices, the report found. Some 69% of tech executives said that they regularly check in with employees to ensure they are happy in their role, and 68% said that they regularly evaluate performance and discuss career development (interestingly, 78% of advertising and marketing executives said they do this). And half of CIOs said that they have created a formal retention strategy.
"Proactive retention strategies can go a long way toward reducing employee turnover," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of The Creative Group, in the press release. "Encouraging open, ongoing conversations with team members about their job satisfaction and professional development can help keep valued staff happy and engaged."
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Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.