Retain your top IT talent

CIO's July 2001 survey of 176 IT professionals shows that while the IT staffing crunch has eased in 2001, some skills remain in short supply and retention is still a big concern.

          CIO's July 2001 survey of 176 IT professionals shows that while the IT staffing crunch has eased in 2001, some skills remain in short supply and retention is still a big concern.

          Maria Schafer, programme director at Meta Group's Executive Services, suggests that companies develop competencies in human capital management defined as all the processes that are needed to leverage talent in the organisation to meet staffing and skill management challenges.

          "In 2001, CIOs are being asked to maintain and expand their services with less resources, which puts greater demands on a department where the burnout factor was already high," Schafer says.

          BEST PRACTICES

          1. Create a structure that derives the most value from your staff. "Most companies don't have a human capital management process; it's more like crisis management," says Schafer.

          Organisations need a holistic approach that links processes like hiring and recognition, performance reviews, resource management, budgets and skills.

          2. The CIO cannot do this all alone. Form a strategic relationship with HR to educate them on what IT requires, and align hiring and business needs.

          Ideally, a company should have a dedicated HR person who understands IT to develop job descriptions, incentive and retention programs. "CIOs tend to be very focused on technology when increasingly it is not technology alone that makes a good product. It's awareness of the business needs and communication skills," Schafer says.

          3. Keeping talent isn't always about money. CIOs don't necessarily need to get more creative in their retention strategies, they need to be more aware of the mood, workload and personal priorities of their staff and have a multiplicity of incentives in place like training and recognition.

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