Focus on Career Development to Keep IT Pros Happy

Susan Hall
Slide Show

Five Mistakes that Will Stymie Your Career Progress

Promotion-seeking managers looking to ascend to the executive suite will want to avoid these mistakes.

In a post at, writer John Dodge makes the case that the best way to keep your top IT talent is to prepare them to leave. He's talking about supporting them so they develop the skills to go on to something bigger and better. With any luck, that "bigger and better" will be within your own organization.


When I interviewed Vincent Milich, director of the IT Effectiveness Practice at Hay Group, he told me that IT pros care deeply about being able to see a career path for themselves - and he faulted most companies for failing to provide that.


We've been hearing a lot lately about retention and with various sources citing surveys showing up to 88 percent of workers will be looking to change jobs this year. With IT salaries flat or even cut the past few years, that seems to make sense, now that demand for IT workers is up and the purse strings are loosening a bit.


This creative video at Horses for Sources looks at research on motivation and performance, and boils it down to three things workers seek: autonomy, mastery and purpose. That closely mirrors other pieces I've seen lately on what engineers want.


Meanwhile, leadership development firm BlessingWhite recently released its Employee Engagement Report 2011 and found career development the top factor for all workers. It concluded that workers motivated by pay are less likely to be engaged with the company and their work, reports Small Business Trends. The report summed up the findings this way:

Engaged employees stay for what they give; disengaged employees stay for what they get.

It suggested managers focus on coaching, personal relationships, frequent communication, developing trust by being consistent in words and deeds, and a culture in which the company's values are truly reflected in day-to-day business practices.


You say you don't have time for all that? John Baldoni at BNET takes on that and other reasons managers fail to provide coaching. He writes:

Only when the company treats coaching as a priority will it create a culture in which coaching as not something managers ought to do, but something they do.

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