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Investing in Your Own Team is Key to Winning War for IT Talent

Posted by Doug Ross on Thu, Dec 18, 2014

ID-100162204As companies round out their 2015 workforce strategies, undoubtedly a plan for competing for the best IT talent tops the list. We know IT skills continue to increase in demand while supply is not keeping up. Heading into the New Year, two of the keys to attracting and retaining the best tech employees are providing them with professional development training and a healthy work culture.

As a workforce solutions partner to thousands, at Synergis we see firsthand the struggles companies experience in filling their technology positions. IT unemployment is approximately half that of overall unemployment, and for certain highly desired skill sets such Java and .net development, cloud infrastructure skills, mobile, big data (Terradata) and all of the UI/UX creative skillsets  - unemployment is at a mere one percent. Employers must be savvy in their strategies to attract and retain IT talent. 

CareerBuilder reports one in four IT professionals are planning a job change, compared to one in five overall. It’s clear companies need to do a better job of retaining their IT talent once they capture it.  It’s far less disruptive and costly to retain an employee than to find a new one.  If businesses make just one change in their workforce strategy in 2015, it should be to make investments in their team’s leadership and career development, at all levels within the organization.  This will have a significant impact on who wins the war for IT talent.

Leaders need training, too

Investing in career development means providing this training for employees at all levels, from entry level to the c-suite. Offer skill enhancement and opportunity for growth for millennials, while also focusing on further developing your organization’s leaders. 

Project management is one of the most sought-after skill sets right now in the IT market, so developing that talent organically will give you an edge over competitors.

Reputation is everything

A healthy company culture ranks higher in importance than a good salary for many employees, according to a recent CareerBuilder survey, so establishing and maintaining a positive work environment for candidates is critical to workforce success. 

The number one reason employees leave one job for another is their boss. Poor leadership is driving skilled talent away from your own company and into the arms of the competitor. Developing strong team relationships and a productive, healthy management style must be a priority. Hire people who share your company vision and mission, and create an environment where people want to come and stay.

A “Best Place to Work” should always be the standard for which companies strive. Connect everything in the company to this notion. Through company culture and professional development, every company can attain this coveted title. 

Utilize all resources when you recruit

Before focusing on retention, you need to first attract the talent. Companies should be using every resource at their disposal to help recruit, including campus recruiting, strengthening internal recruiting efforts, incentivizing employees with referral bonuses, and outsourcing some roles and functions to third parties. Together, this will ensure an integrated workforce strategy.

It will take several years before the IT skill gap truly starts to shrink, and until then, a focus on recruiting and retention will make the difference. Companies that invest in career and leadership development at every level of the organization will win the war for IT talent, and fuel growth, innovation and revenue.

Douglas Ross is President and Founder of Synergis, a privately held IT and creative staffing and workforce solutions company. Contact Doug at

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Tags: Information Technology, IT Candidates