As Retention Becomes Key, Offer Engagement, Career Path

Susan Hall
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Work Force Challenges in 2011

Despite the improving economy, we'll continue to struggle with difficult work force challenges in 2011.

South Florida tech employers have got to be totally wigged out by survey findings that 88 percent of IT pros are willing to change jobs, up from 81 percent who said so last year.


As the country emerges from recession and companies focus on growth, tech's at the center of those big plans. So a lot of those IT pros will have opportunities to make a change, though this Business Insider post warns against making a change for no reason other than a small raise.


As companies try to hang on to their IT talent, I've written that financial incentives can backfire, pointing to a piece from Knowledge@Wharton. It advises finding ways to shore up intrinsic motivation-another way of saying their engagement with the work.


At The Leadership Advisor, however, writer William Powell stresses that engagement is not the same as keeping everybody happy. He says:

Move beyond making everyone feel warm and gooey and give them the opportunity to become engaged. It is NOT the same thing. Provide for their well-being, value and appreciate them, empower them, and help them see how what they do matters. Continue to communicate clearly, hold them accountable, define their responsibilities, and get on with running a successful and profitable organization.

Gilad Chen, a professor of management and organization at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business, maintains that any small improvement you make to workers' satisfaction tends to help steer the whole ship in a new direction.


And this article at Atlanta Business Chronicle makes the point that employee recognition doesn't have to be expensive. Here's a perk I especially liked: lunch with the CEO to discuss work issues. I think a lot of IT pros would like to express their ideas and feel that they're being heard.


I've heard a lot lately about a lack of a career path for IT pros, something that's especially important to them. Vincent Milich, director of the IT Effectiveness Practice at Hay Group, told me that recruiters often can lay out a job to a candidate they're trying to poach, telling them what's the next step in the new company and the step after that. Those being wooed often complain that they can't even find that out about their current company. That's certainly something to keep in mind. And that path shouldn't necessarily require moving into management for those workers to make more money, he said.

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