Top 10 ways to retain IT security talent

With the pressure that a data breach can place on a company, the IT pro often doesn’t stick around long.

retain IT security talent

Keep ‘em around

With the growing number of threats, it's vital for companies to hire — and retain — the best and brightest IT security employees. But, with IT hiring above the national average of 44 percent and the average employee tenure in the IT industry only being three years, employers need to explore new ways to not only attract talent, but avoid burnout and keep that coveted talent around.

The following tips from Derek Brost, who is CISSP certified and director of engineering for Bluelock, examine some of the steps businesses can take to retain IT security employees.

retain IT security talent

Ensure employees have access to coaching

In addition to refining soft skills, employees also want to increase their skillset. By providing opportunities for exposure to new technology and training, employers will ensure their talent stays challenged and growing.

retain IT security talent

Change up project assignments

Keeping an employee on the same project for a prolonged period of time could garner stagnation in motivation and lower contentment. To keep talent excited about their work, be sure to have a regular project rotation schedule in place to ensure they’re consistently getting fresh projects in additional to their more regular responsibilities.

retain IT security talent

Give them somewhere to vent

With all the access to private information, including the exit of other employees, the security space can be very stressful and it comes with specific requirements about remaining silent about sensitive information. Because of this, employees need a safe place to vent stress. Make sure your talent knows who they can talk to about these sensitive issues. Also, be open to rotating them off stressful projects, if desired.

retain IT security talent

Provide opportunities for career development

Everyone wants the opportunity for advancement in their career. Make sure you give your employees this possibility by providing chances to expand their boundaries through new projects, and even moving them to management roles when they exhibit high leadership abilities. Make the effort to provide talent with different options for certifications and continued education so they can avoid stagnation in their career.

retain IT security talent

Encourage continued education

Make sure your employees know the different certification options and continued education possibilities available to them. Much like giving them access to coaching, providing your talent with the opportunity to grow their knowledge through new certifications and degrees will keep them on their toes and excited about their work. You can do this by offering tuition reimbursement or even time off to complete said schooling.

retain IT security talent

Give them metrics to measure success

Part of performing well at a job is knowing how you’re performing. Make sure your talent receives all the critical data — like how many viruses were stopped, how many got through, compliance numbers and the tax on the network. Giving them the numbers can help unburden those staff who feel their job is an un-ending battle by showing them the impact they have on the company as a whole.

retain IT security talent

Train your talent on how to approach stressful situations

While stress in security jobs is inevitable, training your talent on how to approach these situations can help reduce burnout. Security employees may feel heightened pressure in the case of serious security events because they may have to use ‘no’ more often than normal. Instead of leaving them in the dark on how to handle this stress, train them on how to give helpful suggestions to get the task done without compromising the security of the business.

retain IT security talent

Promote work-life balance

With the high stakes of IT responsibilities, the work environment for tech employees may not always encourage a healthy work-life balance. Be sure to clearly promote a balanced schedule for your employees, encouraging them to use their vacation days and flexible working environments when desired.

retain IT security talent

Keep the job interesting

While senior-level employees may have more experience than entry-level talent, it doesn’t mean that junior-level employees must be reduced to an employee ID number. Both entry- and senior-level employees have knowledge to share, and both levels can benefit from interaction. To ensure employees at all levels of talent are engaged, encourage mentorship within the company to keep everyone interested, challenged and open to others’ experiences.

retain IT security talent

Don’t enforce ranks when it comes to ideas

Emphasize the importance of everyone’s opinions and ideas, no matter if they’re entry-level or senior-level. By considering every employee’s thoughts on problems that might pop up, you encourage your talent to think outside of the box and voice their ideas. Doing so will help your talent feel valued and will give them a reason to stay long enough to move up in the company and keep their experience in-house.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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