In today’s technology field, a low unemployment rate and lack of quality talent in the market is making hiring difficult. IT professionals are constantly getting calls from recruiters and hiring managers with potential job opportunities. Even when they accept a contract, there’s still a possibility that another company might swoop in with a better offer and steal them away. Because of this, retention efforts have become crucial for companies hiring IT professionals. What can you and your company do to make sure that your valued IT consultants stay on your project for the length of their contract? Below is a list of 5 actions to consider to retain your IT talent:
Pay Competitively: One of the most common reasons consultants leave contracts is for a higher paying role. If you’re at the bottom of the pay range, you’re in danger of losing your consultants to another contract. If you work with IT staffing companies to find talent, utilize them to educate you on current rates. They are the most informed people to be able to tell you if your rate is too low and if you should consider increasing it. Even after your consultant has been with you for a while, it’s important not to forget about them! Consider quarterly evaluations and if they are doing a good job, implement a pay raise. This will make them feel appreciated and when that next job offer comes their way, they are more likely to stay loyal to your company and turn the other position down.
Implement a Retention Program: Many IT staffing companies already have a consultant retention program in place so you can rest assured that your consultants are being taken care of (check out IDR’s Engagement Management Program). This is just another benefit of working with a staffing firm. Their programs often include outings, monthly calls or visits to consultants and many other ways to make them feel valued. If you are not working with a staffing company (or even if you are!) you should consider ways to make your consultants feel appreciated. Bringing in the occasional breakfast or snack, throwing an after work happy hour or as we mentioned previously, considering giving them a pay raise will all make them feel like a valued member of the team.
Offer Training: Training programs are something that many consultants look for. Unfortunately, many companies don’t offer them. By implementing and offering a training program, you would put yourself ahead of the competition and make yourself more marketable to consultants as an employer. This could be a certain amount of money a year for continuing education or bringing in someone to do the occasional lunch and learn. There are also online programs that companies can subscribe to that offer online classes and tutorials. By investing in your consultant’s future and career, you will make them feel dedicated to you and want to work for your company going forward.
Make Them Feel a Part of the Team: One of the biggest complaints consultants have with any client is that they don’t feel a part of the team. Permanent employees feel camaraderie with each other and with the company. When consultants come in for a short-term project, it can be hard for them to build those relationships. Be sure to include your consultants in any company outings or celebrations. You could have a lunch to introduce them to all employees on the project or team when they first join the company. Excluding them from full-time employee activities will single them out and make them feel like your company only values the permanent positions – causing consultants to be more open to leaving you earlier than their contract might state.
Communicate Next Steps: Some consultants will come to your company, work on your project and leave. However, sometimes you have a consultant come work for you that does such a great job, you may want to bring them on permanently or find another project for them. If that’s the case, you should not only communicate this to your IT staffing partner (if you’re working with one) but you should also communicate it directly to the consultant. Many consultants will start looking for a new contract as their current one is about to end. Knowing that they’re appreciated and you want to keep them onboard will lessen your risk of losing them to another contract.