CIOs Need To Know Why Their Best Young Talent Is Leaving

by drjim on April 10, 2013

CIOs need to take action before all of their best employees leave

CIOs need to take action before all of their best employees leave
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Let’s say that you’ve built up a great team of IT professionals to run your IT department. They must all be happy and are planning on sticking around for a long time, right? The answer to this question is “no” and there are some very good reasons why your best workers maybe preparing to tell you “goodbye”…

How Do You Know That You Have A Problem?

We all know that despite the importance of information technology, the success of an IT department rests on its employees. Part of the CIO job is to solve problems – this includes IT staffing problems. However, you can’t solve a problem that you don’t know about. Dr. Monika Hamori and her team have done the research to find out what’s going on here for us.

When they were doing their study, they spoke with 1,200 young up-and-coming employees – the ones who are most likely to leave. The average age of this group was 30. The disturbing part for CIOs is that the 75% of them have sent out resumes and been on job interviews at least once during their first year of employment with you!

Where things start to get really ugly is when the researchers took a look at how long these highly valuable employees remained with your firm. It turns out that they will be leaving your company, on the average, after being with you for 28 months.

In the past, employees who were moving up the corporate ladder could be convinced to stay with their current employer because it was an accepted fact that your career would be better if you did. However, that no longer appears to be the case. The researchers found out that the salary of the employees who switched firms actually increased faster than those who didn’t.

Why Are Your Best Workers Going To Leave?

With a little luck I’ve been able to convince you that you’ve got a problem. Now since you have the CIO position, you’ve got to figure out what’s going wrong and how you are going to go about solving this problem.

The researchers took the time to ask the employees that were leaving why they had made this decision. What they found out is that a lot of the problem had to do with dissatisfaction with employee development efforts. This was a significant contributor to the employee exodus.

The good news here is that a lot of what companies are doing is working. The young managers who were leaving reported that they were generally happy with the on-the-job training that they were receiving. They also reported that they felt that they were getting the high visibility job assignments that they wanted. Finally, as they moved up the corporate ladder, they felt as though they were being given more and more responsibility. However, this was all not enough to keep them on board.

The big question that the researchers wanted to find an answer to was why were these employees leaving? It turns out that the one thing that they feel as though they are missing is formal development. This type of development takes on a number of different forms: training, mentoring, and coaching.

What a CIO needs to realize is that many firms are hesitant to provide the very training that this group of employees is seeking. The reason that this type of employee development is not often provided is because it can be quite expensive and the company fears that once the employees have received it, they will leave and go to work for another company.

This is where you need to step in as CIO. Yes, there is a risk that you’ll provide your best employees with high quality development training and they’ll still end up leaving. This is too bad, but it was going to happen anyway. What’s important is that by providing your employees with formal development in the form of formal training classes and hands-on mentoring and coaching you will be able to convince them to stay. These are the employees who will someday be leading the company and by convincing them to not leave, you’ll be positioning the company for future success.

What All Of This Means For You

In a perfect world all that a CIO would have to worry about would be how to use IT to make the company more successful. Unfortunately we don’t live in a perfect world and so you are going to have to deal with real-world issues like why your best workers are planning on leaving.

Studies have shown that younger workers are in the process of trying to find a better job. This means that they are sending out resumes and interviewing. The reason for this is because they don’t feel that their current job is providing them with enough training, mentoring, and coaching.

The good news is that what’s causing your best workers to leave can be addressed. You need to start to make more of an investment in them in order to offer them formal skills training. Yes, some will still leave; however, you’ll be able to retain more and you’ll end up with a better IT department.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: At what point in a employee’s career should you start to invest in their training?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Hey CIO, just in case you’ve been living with your head underneath a rock, the world appears to have gone “big data” crazy lately. The importance of information technology is now being measured by how you are planning dealing with “big data”. Your customers, your IT department, and probably your competition have all started to talk about the problem of big data and just exactly what can be done about it. No matter what challenges your IT department is currently facing, it sure seems understanding what the problem is and how it can be solved has become a part of the CIO job.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

ِِAhmed April 11, 2013 at 1:12 am

Hi Dr. Jim,

Talented employees do not need training, mentoring, and coaching. Because they know how to learn by themselves, otherwise they wouldn’t be talents, they are midi-core. What talented employees always need is a challenging assignment that leaves them after completion in the next level of their expertise road. If you give them simple and repeated assignments they will get bored and leave you.

Ahmed.

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Dr. Jim Anderson April 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

Ahmed: Hmm, an interesting way of looking at things. However, I’ve got to disagree. I’ve managed a lot of very talented engineers who didn’t know the first thing about managing. I took the time to get them the training that they needed and once they were promoted I both mentored and coached them. All have gone on to be successful IT managers and CIOs. Without this additional attention, I don’t believe that they could have been successful. Talent is NOT enough to be successful.

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