Companies continue to struggle to find and keep top tech talent. The challenges associated with the IT skills gap have been well-documented for years.

So, what can you do today?

Here are a few thoughts for alleviating this problem by keeping IT teams happy and engaged:

  1. Opportunities for Growth — Let’s start with the obvious — people want to see a career path for themselves and will quickly grow dissatisfied with a job if it seems like a dead-end position. Giving IT teams growth opportunities isn’t just about holding frequent performance reviews, providing constructive feedback, or pay increases. Allowing employees to continue their education or pursue tech-related certificates can encourage loyalty. What’s more, this can also benefit the organization. As Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at G2 Crowd, puts it, “As older technologies fade away or move to cloud providers, some skills are becoming obsolete. Retraining and developing existing resources could help bridge the talent gaps.”
  2. Be Transparent — People will be more engaged if they feel like they are working toward a common goal with their team. Managers that communicate openly and effectively can instill this culture and encourage employees to feel that they are playing a critical part in the company. At times, this means being transparent about current challenges the organization is facing.
  3. Look Outside the Office — Keeping IT teams happy is more than a swanky space, “bagel Fridays,” a beer fridge, or other ubiquitous office perks. Employees are more apt to perform better and stick with a company that takes their life outside of work into consideration. This could mean providing generous benefits packages, flexible options for working parents, or the ability to volunteer or pursue other philanthropic initiatives occasionally during work hours. Some companies offer sabbaticals for employees who have been with the organization for a certain amount of time. While these programs can be difficult to implement, research shows that both the organization and employees benefit when workers take extended time away.
  4. Nurture relationships — If you can’t afford to send your tenured employees on a South African safari, don’t worry as there is a cheaper way to keep teams happy. Simply put, just be nice. Office traditions that recognize birthdays, anniversaries, and similar milestones in a simple but meaningful way can create a sense of teamwork, and show employees that the organization values them.

It’s unlikely that the IT hiring and retention challenges will change any time soon. A company’s best bet is to keep their existing employees as engaged as possible. If you’ve got some other strategies for boosting employee morale and engagement, let us know in the comments below!