How To Retain Key Employees In IT

Employee retention is a real “headache” for managers at all levels of a company.

Qualified specialists with the necessary knowledge and skills, rich experience, and high performance are the company’s main capitalmpany.

Talent retention that you invested so much in is often a challenge. 


In this article, we will:

  • explain why people leave 
  • describe how to increase employee retention 
  • share some methods on how to retain key employees 
  •  tell what to do if employee retention strategy failed


Why is there a staff turnover?

First, you need to understand why people leave your company. Try asking yourself some questions, like: 

  1. Does my company provide enough opportunities for personal development?
    Lack of personal development is one of the top reasons talented professionals leave your company. They want to learn more and get better at what they are doing.
  2. Is my team overworked?
    Excessive overwork often becomes a push for a job change. Mostly this happens with professional employees who are often loaded with work because of their high qualification level and competency.
    However, even the most diligent workers sooner or later lose their working impetus. That's when they think about changing jobs and finding one where they will not have to work so much for the same salary.
  3. Is there any tense situation within the team?
    Negativity in a team leads to stress among employees. It, in turn, affects their mood as well as their efficiency and productivity. If the situation inside the company is tense, team members do not find a common language. Skirmishes and scandals happen,, and you can be sure that people in such a situation will not stay long in your company.
  4. Does my team trust the management?
    It is about the business and personal qualities of the company's leader, which may be unacceptable for key employees. Good specialists who value their reputation will not work with a manager who does not comply with professional ethics with clients and partners.
    Delays in the payment of wages, violations of labour laws and frequent fines also do not contribute to building trusting relationships with management.
  5. Does my company provide career growth for employees?
    For highly qualified specialists, a permanent team and stability is not a priority. They want to develop and move forward on the career ladder. If your company does not provide growth growth opportunities, they will most likely begin to look for another job.

    Remember, the employee market is very competitive, and many companies are fighting for qualified professionals offering them professional growth, challenging projects, new opportunities and even higher salaries.
    The only way of employee retention is to become a desirable employer. If you treat youcompany’s r employees well - they w,ill pay you back for years.


Employee retention methods

It is about motivation.

Two forms of motivating valuable employees are:

  • financial
  • non-financial

The best way is to combine these two approaches and create an employee retention strategy that will work well for you and your team. 

The priority of a given method in each organization is different. It depends on the company’s company’s financial capabilities, the style of personnel management,, and the specific employee that you want to keep.

Let's have a closer look at methods of employee retention.


Financial methods of employee retention

For centuries, wages have been a powerful material motivator. The scenario is well-known: there is a salary - the team is working, there is no salary - the work is idle.

Forms of material encouragement may be different:

№ 1 financial method of employee retention - Salary increase 

So far,, one of the easiest but effective methods is to reward employees financially. True, there are manysons why it is not always possible to apply it in every singany (budget constraints, the economic situation in general, etc.)
However, that shouldn’t be the first option, as usually the happiness from the raise only lasts for 2-5 months depending on the person.

№ 2 financial method of employee retention - Social package

Most companies offespecificin benefit packages to their employees. Consider making it more competitive. You can include such benefits as:

  • extra free food options
  • assistance with rental for non-residents
  • use of corporate cars
  • travel vouchers 
  • or something else at your discretion

You can also check what your competitors offer and grab ideas from them. The main thing to remember is that a social package means long-term care for employees’ comfort and works excellent for talent retention.

№ 3 financial method of employee retention - Bonuses

Bonuses are those small or big monetary rewards and the basic salary that encourage the employee to work better.  

Bonuses are paid for:

  • the closure of a complex project
  • meeting a deadline
  • working on weekends
  • business trips
  • completing studies in advanced training
  • getting certified, etc.

The main benefit is that the bonuses are not perceived by employees as regular compensation, because in this case, they lose their value. Bonuses should keep them motivated to work hard to earn the bonus.

№ 4 financial method of employee retention - Gifts

Thoughtful gifts (depending on the budget) increase loyalty and improve retention of employees

Here are some examples of gifts:

  • calendars, notepads and cups with corporate symbols
  • certificates
  • electronics 
  • or even trips

However, material remuneration is essential for a key employee, but it is not the main factor that he will consider when thinking about changing jobs. After all, money is only an incentive. There is an equally vital thing to take into consideration.

It is the inner attitude and desire to work in the company and for it.

Read on about non-financial methods that help to retain key employees. 


Non-financial methods of employee retention

There are many ways to improve employee retention with non-financial incentives. The distinguishing feature is that the employee is the main character here. Their aspirations, opportunities, fears and desires are paramount. You need to remember that when developing your system of motivation as an employee retention strategy.

Susan M. Heathfield “No matter what climate your organisation provides to support employee motivation, you can create an environment that fosters and calls forth motivation from employees”. 


We offer several effective working methods for employee retention and the right atmosphere within your organisation.

№ 1 non-financial method of employee retention - “One-on-one” work 

Take some time to know more about your employees’ lives. Chat with your subordinates.

Ask about what's going on and what are they worried about. It will help you to establish an emotional connection and increase their loyalty to you as a leader.

№ 2 non-financial method of employee retention - Principles of “open doors” and “frame extension”

Let employees have more freedom in making decisions and listen to their ideas. Perhaps some employee has already mastered all his work and wants to improve.

Expand the scope of work with new higher-level responsibilities. Give the employee authority to execute them. It will help develop his skills and knowledge.

№ 3 non-financial method of employee retention - “Clear” meetings

Meetings are a powerful tool for motivating employees. A specific day, time,, and formatof subordinates and ’s meetingmanagement’s meeting give workers a sense of stability and confidence.

Also, during such meetings, experts can get feedback on their proposals and discuss important issues.

№ 4 non-financial method of employee retention - Training and internship

Keep a development plan for each employee of your company. Stimulate them to learn. There are many ways you can do this: from seminars and online courses to studies in specialised educational institutions.

Let them develop existing skills or acquire new ones - in any case, this increase in expertise is beneficial to both the employee and a manager.

№ 5 non-financial method of employee retention - Coaching

Offer a coaching program if you need to convince a person to remain in the team. Coaching is similar to a session with a psychotherapist. Its main goal is a clarification of motives, and the primary tool is feedback.

During the conversation, you can identify problems that may cause an employee to leave and try to solve them in a acceptable way to both parties.


Employee retention and turnover

What if the employee retention strategy didn't work?

Anything can happen in life, and unfortunately, not a single manager is insured against the risk of losing a key employee. As the saying goes, “a man can do no more than he can”.

In a situation when the employee’s decision to quit is unshakable, try to let them go kindly and with dignity.

Tell them that it was a pleasure to work together and offer to write a recommendation letter or leave a LinkedIn recommendation.  

Who knows, perhaps they will come back someday.


Increasing employee retention or eliminating the risks?

It is right to have an employee retention strategy within your company.

Unfortunately, employee retention ideas are not always crowned with success.

To reduce the possible adverse effects of a qualified employee leaving, you can implement some simple best practices to help you out.

  1. Document everything
    Good documentation should contain not only your product business logic description but also a list of technologies used with their versions specified, links and credential details for all third-party services with purpose descriptions included and descriptions of all critical elements of your software (like servers, security systems, etc.).
    It is good to have a typical onboarding plan for every position in your team with a list of duties. A description of technical and management standards that you follow in your company is crucial.

  2. Create a process for delegating key employees’ tasks
    Make it a rule to delegate higher-ranking employees’ tasksyees to members of a lower-ranking team (or employees from other departments). In this way, you will free up the valuable time of top employees and prepare a reliable replacement for them (just in case).

  3. Take advantage of  independent experts.
    It is beneficial to involve independent professionals in business areas in which you are not an expert. It will help prevent failure at any stage of the working process, and it won’t have such a significant impact if the specialist who was responsible for it quits.


A few last words about employee retention


Being a good employer is a subtle science. The main thing is to see each talented employee as a good business asset that grows and develops within your business.

As long as the interests of the company overlap with employees’ interests, your goals are aligned, and there is a field for growth and experimentation - there is more likely to retain key employees

And if not - you know what to do.

Daria HR Manager
HR Manager
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