Staff Retention Re-emerges as Priority for CIOs, Survey Finds

Jul 28, 2004

MENLO PARK, CA -- Employee retention efforts may have been on the back burner in recent years, but a new survey suggests the tide is turning. Fifty-eight percent of chief information officers (CIOs) surveyed said keeping their best people is becoming more critical as the economy gains momentum.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology (IT) professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, "In your opinion, is the retention of your IT staff becoming more or less important as the economy improves?" Their responses:

Much more important   25%
Somewhat more important   33%
No change   36%
Somewhat less important   5%
Much less important       1%

"Employee retention should be a high priority in any economic environment, but it is particularly important when firms are preparing for growth and new business opportunities," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Turnover can be costly for organizations in terms of lost productivity and intellectual capital, as well as recruitment and training expenses."

Lee noted that as the economy and job market improve, dissatisfied workers may leave for other opportunities. "Managers may be at risk for losing key talent," she said.

Lee offered the following tips for motivating and retaining IT professionals:

  • Make it personal. Customize training and career planning to each employee's strengths and interests. Does he or she desire a management track or more hands-on work developing applications?
  • Send in reinforcements. Many IT professionals have had to do more with less as a result of leaner workforces and budgets. Bringing in additional support and helping staff prioritize projects during busy times can circumvent stress and burnout.
  • Empower employees. Demonstrate trust in your employees by allowing them to implement their ideas and make strategic decisions.
  • Offer praise. Acknowledge your team's contributions. Simple actions such as recognition during a staff meeting or writing a thank-you note can go a long way toward improving morale.
  • Show them the money. A competitive compensation and benefits package sends the message to employees that you place a fair value on their work.

With more than 100 locations in North America and Europe, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

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