CIO Symmetry

Apr 25 2008   2:07PM GMT

IT staff to CIOs: Pay us more!

Roger Crawford Roger Crawford Profile: Roger Crawford

A recent phone survey of 1,400 CIOs across the country revealed that offering increased compensation is the greatest incentive for IT staff to stay with a company.

The survey, developed by Robert Half Technology, asked CIOs this question: “Which of the following elements have you found most effective at improving IT staff retention?”

The top three responses were:

  1. Increased compensation 27%
  2. Professional development or training 21%
  3. Flexible schedules 18%

(Check out the press release for the rest of the results.)

For a second, I thought maybe the survey takers were responding to the question: What’s the best way to hire and retain auto mechanics, CEOs, convenience store clerks, killer whale trainers – or reporters.

Wow, imagine that. Money is the key issue at the heart of retaining employees. Well, I never.

What might be even more shocking are the conclusions that Robert Half Technology extrapolated from this survey, which, in my opinion, are worth reprinting here:

  • Pay competitively.  Periodically benchmark employee compensationagainst industry-standard ranges to ensure your salaries are keeping pace.  Robert Half Technology produces an annual Salary Guide with salary ranges for more than 60 IT positions.
  • Offer and promote training.  Provide IT staff access to the courses and certification programs they need to grow their careers.  Make sure employees are aware of professional development opportunities.
  • Support work/life balance.  To prevent teams from burning out, ensure that workloads are realistic. Encourage employees to ask for help when they need it, and consider bringing in project professionals to help during peak periods.

That’s some skilled analysis.

It’s easy for me to sit here and lob grenades at these kinds of surveys — and the accompanying results — but there may be some merit in pointing out that after money, training was the next concern that CIOs feel will help retain IT staff. This is a pretty solid point.

Working as a midmarket CIO offers you a different opportunity than being in an enterprise company. I bet you get to know your employees. You might even hold the door for them on the way into the office in the morning. Use that familiarity and train the people you work with. Not only will your employees appreciate the way you’re helping them enrich their professional lives, it’ll also make the operations that they manage for you run that much more smoothly. (And once they have those skills, they will, no doubt, use them to leverage a new position at a company that pays better. See survey result number one above.)

Think about it. Remember the first day you learned how to fix a transmission or tie a fisherman’s knot or sauté an onion in oil? Didn’t you feel enriched at the end of the day? Maybe you wanted to get back out there the next day and do it all over again. I bet your employees would feel the same way about using that new cooling technique they learned about.

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