SUCCESS-ion Planning: 3 Ways You Can Start Growing Your IT Staff from Within

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Remember those classic ads of the ’80s and ’90s from Sy Sperling? “I’m not only the Hair Club president, but I’m also a client”?

That’s how we at SUCCESS feel when we talk about increasing your in-house IT team’s tenure—we’re not just spouting HR platitudes about how important it is to cultivate internal talent and grow your team from within. We’re walking the walk and setting our employees up to extend their careers with us and expand their skill sets, and we’d like to help you do the same with your internal IT staff.

The tech field is notorious for high employee turnover rates, which can be a headache for any manager, but especially for the owner of a small-to-medium-sized business who can’t afford to spend the 51 days it takes (on average) to fill an IT vacancy, only to have that employee leave in a year.

“Over the course of the last eight years, the average or tenure of an IT employee is between 18 months and two years,” says Jamie Wolbeck, Vice President of Operations at SUCCESS. “We’ve often seen that hold true.”

In 2018 LinkedIn reported that the tech sector was where it saw the highest turnover, with the subset of IT coming it at a 13 percent turnover rate, beating out retail and
media/entertainment. Payscale reports that even tech behemoths like Google and Amazon are not immune to this issue, with median tenures of one year and 13 months, respectively.

At SUCCESS, however, the numbers are telling a different story. Wolbeck says that at the start of 2020, the average tenure of SUCCESS’s technical team members was 4.6 years.

So what makes the difference? According to Wolbeck, it’s SUCCESS’s focus on career mapping and helping employees grow within their roles.

“When an individual has some sort of career path or succession role, they’re more likely to stay longer,” he says. “That’s true on our side, and for organizations that we work with. That’s something we can help with, too, because many organizations don’t know how to approach it with their own employees.”

One strategy to implement to retain IT employees is to free up their time from the break/fix model of support. If your internal IT team (or person) is constantly reacting to to your company’s IT problems rather than proactively planning, it leaves them little time to direct the overall functionality of their role. That time-management bottleneck is a great place for a co-managed servicer provider like SUCCESS to step in.

“One indication that we’re doing our job well is that we’re increasing your employees’ tenure, and we’re elevating them into a position of leadership,” says Brent Morris, SUCCESS’s Vice President of Business Development. “We’re deliberate in saying ‘we want this person to grow into some leadership roles.’”

Here are three ways you can start growing your own IT staff, starting today:

Be transparent about opportunities for advancement

Are you offering your employees chances to advance their education? Are they able to learn new skills on the job, or can they shadow a team member to eventually move into a leadership role? If these opportunities already exist within your organization, don’t keep quiet about it—make sure your IT staff knows you value them and want to see them grow with your company, not away from it.

Begin career mapping from day one

Just like you can’t assume your fantastic new IT hire will want to stay in a help-desk role forever, you also can’t assume that everyone wants to be on a trajectory towards management. While “where do you see yourself in five years” is a common interview question, you should also be proactively asking your employees a similar question on a regular basis, whether quarterly or at regular performance evaluations. Make it an open-ended discussion with plenty of time dedicated to employee feedback.

Partner with a co-managed IT MSP

Nothing can quite replace the immediacy of an internal IT staff member, but no matter how broad their skill set, few are going to be a jack of all trades. That’s where using a co-managed approach to IT with an MSP like SUCCESS can free up your staff and increase their job satisfaction. “If we do our jobs well together, we free up capacity for him or her to do more, and drive more value to the business,” Morris explains. “I can focus more on making sure the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted and the security is checked. Let’s free that person up from the tedious time-consuming work.”