Three CIOs discuss their strategies for keeping top tech on staff by focusing on opportunity, mobility and purpose.\n\n1. Match Skills To Future Opportunities\nDennis Hodges, CIO, Inteva Products:\u00a0When we acquired a fellow automotive supplier in 2011, we doubled our business and tripled our IT headcount. Our goal was to keep everyone, but building a blended IT family is challenging. The key was being up-front about where we were headed and what skill sets would get us there.\n\nWe mapped out everyone\u2019s skills and showed them how they matched up with roles in the new organization. We lost a couple of very technical people who wanted to work with an ERP system we did not plan to keep, but we were able to retain most employees.\n\nHere in Detroit, where huge companies like GM are hiring, and in Bangalore, India, where we also have IT operations, turnover is always a risk. We don\u2019t have big money to throw at people, but we do have big opportunities. Some CIOs say you shouldn\u2019t train employees too soon: They\u2019ll get too good too fast, and they\u2019ll leave.\n\nI disagree. I want my employees to work on interesting things from the beginning. We\u2019ve got young people who arrived without much experience now running major projects. They couldn\u2019t do that at GM. If they do leave, they\u2019ll leave on good terms and will advocate for us in the market.\n\n2. Give People a Mission\u00a0\nAnil Cheriyan, CIO, SunTrust Bank:\u00a0We started a transformation two years ago and quickly realized that the skills we had were not necessarily the skills we needed. Fundamentally, we were looking for \u201cbuilders\u201d who were interested in fast-paced change. Also during this period, it has been critical to retain our most valuable employees. We\u2019ve sought to achieve this balance by driving cultural change, such as switching from a command-and-control culture to a more collaborative organization. We also make a point of listening to our employees, whether it\u2019s via our enterprise-wide innovation hubs, where teammates propose ideas, or through our engagement surveys. It\u2019s critical to keep your ears open when making a change.\n\nThe IT job market in Atlanta has become hot, with companies like GM, State Farm and Wipro setting up tech centers here, while in India, it\u2019s been hot for over a decade. And certain skills are in demand, such as software-as-a-service, workflow and imaging experience. In the past, we may have gone to other banks to find IT people, but we\u2019re now looking to other sources, like Google or Facebook, for talent. In the end, what keeps people here is their connection to our purpose. Are you here to build, or are you here to operate?\n\n3. Allow Unlimited Mobility\nAlison Dack, Vice President of IT & CIO, FedEx Express Asia Pacific:\u00a0The key to low turnover is creating an environment that makes it easy for employees to want to stay. It\u2019s not all about compensation\u2014people want to be successful and want their contributions recognized. For instance, we don\u2019t limit career progression.\n\nWe have a tradition of training up our team from junior positions to management levels and offering lateral moves into new areas. At our Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong, a quarter of our senior managers are locals who started in front-line roles such as couriers.\n\nWe have a long tradition of developing our employees to their highest potential and of hiring first-line managers from within employee ranks. Because we make lifelong learning a priority, we can readily promote from within. Each hourly employee receives 50 hours of training annually, while management and professional staffers get 40 hours. Corporate responsibility to local communities is another increasingly important retention tool, and we maintain strong relationships in the areas where we work.\n\nFinally, we encourage open, two-way communication, including the opportunity to communicate with management about all aspects of the company; guaranteed fair treatment, in which employees can have their concerns heard and evaluated; leadership and communication effectiveness surveys; and an open-door policy among executives and managers. Successful retention comes down to making sure employees know they are valued.