Are Your IT Bosses Teachers or Graders?

Susan Hall

With so many opportunities out there, it's no wonder that more than half of IT workers are eyeing greener pastures. That's just one of the findings of a survey by Randstad Technologies and Technisource, which found 53 percent considering other jobs. At the same time, it found more - 76 percent - are proud to work for their companies, an increase of 6 percentage points over last quarter.


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InfoWorld quotes Bob Dickey, executive VP of technologies at Randstad, as saying:

Our results underscore that IT workers are more apt to consider leaving their current jobs than employees in any other industry sector. This speaks volumes on the need for employers to truly understand what motivates this talent and how to carefully balance the desire to scale back on various workplace incentives with the need to have a workforce that wants your business to succeed just as much as you do.

In a post on HP's site, writer Pam Baker talks about the push/pull mechanics of retention. You want to eliminate things that would push your employees away, such as lagging salaries or a bad boss, and minimize the pull from rival employers. She offers some excellent ideas to retain IT staff, such as letting them finish, rather than having projects killed or radically changed mid-stream, and offering opportunities to learn.


But IT workers are primarily seeing their bosses as "graders" (61 percent) rather than teachers (26 percent), according to's May report. (Full disclosure: I blog for Dice, too.) Writes Senior Vice President Tom Silver:

In tech departments, there is a certain notion of through-put or just getting the work done. However, managers should remember they have benefited along the way from their mistakes. And, it's crucial to create a nurturing workplace, instead of a pass/fail department.

Much has been written about the value and tolerance of failure - indeed Facebook's motto is "Move fast and break things." The new generation of workers especially values the opportunity to learn - and to learn from your best people. That's a low-cost perk you can offer that could pay off handsomely in your retention efforts.

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