What IT Managers Can Learn About Retention From 2013 Linux Job Report

The Linux Foundation recently released the 2013 Linux Jobs Report and in a competitive marketplace where companies are struggling to find new talent and salaries are skyrocketing, the other side of the coin is "love the one you're with."  We're talking about retention of course, and if you think it's not something that you have to be worried about, consider that 75% of those surveyed said they have received a call from a recruiter in the last six months and 35% plan to switch employers in 2013.  Instead of monitoring your employee's phone records, below we provide some ways IT managers can retain their Linux talent.  


As part of the jobs survey, Linux IT professionals were asked the top three incentives to staying with their current employer.  74% said more money, 61% chose better work/life balance and 47% selected a flexible work schedule or telecommuting. Also highly cited was opportunities for professional development, especially if they resulted in advancement.


Here are four ways to keep your employees sitting tight in their current chair.  


Give Engineers a Seat at the Table


Talented engineers don't respond well when they aren't given an opportunity to contribute to the decisions being made.  Involve your engineers in architectural decision processes. Make sure your support technicians have a chance to provide feedback before new systems get deployed. Rather than just impose technological decisions, increase ownership in your infrastructure by involving everyone in the design process.


When you share ideas and future plans with them and give them a chance to share their opinion, the result will be an increased connectedness to their managers and the organization.


Challenge Them and Make Sure They're Learning


Most employees don't think ahead about what's next for their careers until they are unhappy or bored.  A work environment where employees are constantly learning is key to keeping them happy.  Consider finding them a mentor in the organization or looking for projects you can get them involved in that will push them in new directions.  Investing in Linux training for your employees also shows a commitment to helping them advance their skills, while providing value back to your department / organization.  


Provide Constant Feedback About Clear, Meaningful Goals


When talented employees understand how what they do every day contributes to the success of their team, their department, and the entire organization, their interest, commitment, engagement level, and retention increases.  Receiving feedback and aligning it with meaningful goals makes employees feel valued as a contributor and is a critical component of employee engagement. Employees want feedback and they want it often, so build a process where feedback is a constant.  


Give Them Freedom


The 2013 Linux Jobs Report shows your engineers want flexibility and the freedom to get their work done from home or on their own time.  We all have our families and lives outside of work that also need attention. 


Your goal should be to hire great people, set challenging yet realistic goals with them, be available to help when they’re stuck, and then get out of the way.  Show trust in their ability to work through challenges and meet their goals.


During the great recession, employees felt fortunate to have a good gig.  Now, at least for Linux talent, it’s an employees’ market, and if you don’t give them freedom, the next time their phone rings, don’t be surprised if they listen. 

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