Prepare now for an employee exodus

By Adam Lawrence, Computerworld |  Business

There are no huge surprises when it comes to IT pay in Computerworld's Salary Survey this year. Salaries are flat, benefits were reduced, and bonuses were slashed or eliminated. And the Computerworld survey and Yoh's own data show that employees in nearly every vertical industry are reporting that their workloads have increased and their opportunities for training have decreased. But it's the resulting erosion in job satisfaction and morale that might give IT employers an unexpected jolt.

Workers might have been willing to deal with unsatisfactory employment situations during the recession because they feared there were no other options. But now that the economy is starting to turn a corner, a major shift is taking place. Employees are on the move.

Some companies are easing their hiring freezes. New positions are starting to open up, and many employees will be leaping at new and better opportunities. Therefore, employers should expect substantial turnover in 2010.

The talent pool will become more like an ocean, and large, aggressive companies will cast a net into it to snare the best workers. You might think this would hurt smaller companies that can't pay as much as large employers, but there are ways all companies can stem talent and knowledge loss. Here are some approaches:

Develop close relationships with your employees. It's important for managers to build strong ties with their employees no matter how the economy is doing, but it's crucial when times are tough. It helps when managers have open and honest conversations with employees about their job satisfaction. Managers can then understand where employee dissatisfaction lies and position themselves to address it. Close relationships also build trust and can keep employees motivated to support their managers and help the company succeed.

Improve your employment brand. People want a great place to work. The key is to create an atmosphere that motivates, respects, rewards and cultivates the skills and growth of employees. While that was probably difficult to do during the past year, it's crucial that companies don't lose sight of that goal, especially in hard times.

If you want your employees to stay, they need to understand how valuable they are to the organization. Acknowledge their accomplishments, whether in some form of companywide communication or through small perks or gifts.

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