Two tools for finding and keeping people

As if the holidays don't make the end of the year crazy enough, you also have to cram in all those performance reviews.

At least this time you won't have to worry that if you push people to improve, they'll simply head to one of 12 hungry dot-coms recruiting in the parking lot.

I had lunch with a CIO at a billion-dollar company the other day and he says that -- at the height of the dot-com frenzy -- one of his managers got a cold call that turned into an impromptu job interview and an on-the-spot job offer. And this for a job managing 11 people.

While that pressure has eased, it isn't as if there's suddenly an abundance of IT talent floating around. This CIO -- just promoted from IS director -- says he now spends 10% of his time finding and keeping people. He has two insights that are worth sharing.

One, his company -- which he wants to remain nameless -- is having success with a structured career development program used to open dialogue with employees. "The goal is to find out what people want to do and where they want to go," he says. It is intentionally kept separate from the performance review process so as not to confuse salary discussions with personal dreams.

Although sometimes the program results in employees moving to other departments, it makes for a happier group overall, and shifting people around is still better than losing them to competitors, he says.

The other thing this CIO is having success with is using the help desk as a proving ground for IS. The entry-level positions in this group are not only alluring to outsiders, they also prove to be a magnet for company insiders. "We get quite a lot of employees shifting over to the help desk and then growing from there into other IS positions," he says.

Sounds smart.Let me know what you do to find and retain people.

This story, "Two tools for finding and keeping people" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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