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CIO Summit 2012: How to attract and retain staff

Panel discussion group shares their tips

Finding candidates with the right personality for your team or organisation and retaining them is not always an easy task, but a panel at the CIO Summit 2012 offered some guidance to IT managers on how best to go about it.

Get to know interviewees personally

CIO of Calibre Global, Jason Cowie, said that when his team conducted interviews candidates would be asked questions about themselves — "their personality, their likes and dislikes".

“My interview with them is more around, ‘What do you like? What excites you? What makes you passionate?’” Cowie said.

By getting to know an interviewee personally, it will help determine if a person’s personality is the right fit for the organisation or team.

Use profile tools

Director of information technology at Deloitte, Raymond Danton, said he uses a profile tool to help understand and effectively communicate with team members.

“Once someone comes on board we use a profile tool just to understand that person’s strengths and vulnerabilities and how they will fit in with the rest of the team. That helps us communicate better with that person and helps them communicate with the rest of the team” he said.

Focus on team building

“We focus on team building, around the specific themes and individual weaknesses. We do real-life scenarios in those sessions,” Danton said.

“We also help the team understand the importance of process, methodologies, communication and general willingness to help solve customer issues and problems in a proactive manner.”

Back your staff

“You’ve got to back your people,” said Syed Ahmed, head of business technology at Servcorp. He said it is important to offer a safe environment for staff members to learn and still drive their own input.

He gave an example of a team member who independently built an application that temporarily brought a production system down. Ahmed said that he continued to support the team member's learning experience and enthusiasm to try something new instead of just condemning them.

Put staff career goals over money

Cowie said solely using monetary incentives would not help retain team members over the long term.

“I think money is a short-term thing,” he said. “You have got to do things differently. Money is not a driver... If you just focus on that, you’ll lose staff faster than you imagine.”

Instead, CIOs and IT leaders should allow team members to discuss their career goals and offer them direction and support in building their experience.

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

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