Why is retention such a problem in IT? Those of us who just watch it from outside trying to make sense of the glitter and the gold would really like to know. As a CIO, admittedly plagued by the phenomenon of retention, writes anonymously in a post today:
I am responsible for IT operations in the "happening region" of Asia which has shown exponential growth rate in the last few years....As someone with IT technical background, I have to admit that we often see things either as one or zero, black or white. But I have realized one important component of IT which is "heartware" or people, in addition to hardware and software.He mentions the five criteria for retention identified by Development Dimensions International (DDI): leadership, meaningful work, organization, people and development. He then goes on to assess himself "humbly" along these criteria, but does offer any more meaningful insights as to the retention problem.
My own hunch is that the main culprit is the second one in the list above, namely, the lack of meaningful work. I would even venture to say that, barring the obsession in the eighties about Japanese productivity, our corporate gurus have paid inadequate attention to the link between retention, productivity and meaning of work. The current obsession lies with cost-cutting and deal-making, (oh and I forgot - carving a socially conscious image) as opposed to innovation at the shop floor. This is a peculiar contradiction that charactizes the IT sector. On the one hand, the industry is driven by innovation; on the other, the profit strategies of large IT corporations remain tied to the under-utilization of a large pool of skilled labour force who must perform routine tasks that is hardly meaningful to them.
Of course, these are simply my observations from the outside. I would love to hear from you..
BTW, our CIO ends in a rather philosphical tone
: Whatever meaning people find in their relationships, work, in their own unique experience of living -- that is real. Everything else is an illusion.