Enterprise Executive July-August 2015 : Page 48

TH E | E FFE C T I V E | C IO DOUGLAS PAULO very gardener knows that planting is the first step in the process. But if you don’t water and tend your plants regularly, they won’t tell you what they need. They’ll just stop growing and die off. Intuitively, we should all know that managing talent in IT is no different. Yet, 25 percent of IT managers are consistently dealing with engagement deficiencies that translate into visible issues such as high turnover, difficulty sourcing new hires and poor team dynamics. Why? I believe it’s due to a lack of managerial skills and weak employee development programs—silent team performance killers that are the equivalent of bad workforce gardening, if you will. Our Kelly Services Global IT Workforce study can help frame this situation. We found that 47 percent of IT-industry employees felt they completely lacked the opportunity for advancement, 25 percent felt undeveloped and an alarming 76 percent felt undervalued in their jobs. Considering the very low unemployment rate and the all-time high confidence levels these employees have or should have as a result of a robust hiring market, these are alarming numbers. Conversely, 73 percent believe they would easily get a similar or better position elsewhere. I’d say they have plenty of motivation to look, wouldn’t you? This convergence of low engagement with high confidence and career mobility is a growing trend that has very notable companies such as Intel, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others already experimenting with multifaceted programs E nt e rp r i s e E xe c u t i ve | Jul y/Augus t 2015 E to preserve engagement and retention of this valuable workforce. The question you need to ask is, how can you change this paradigm, and more important, how can your managers change it? The four pillars that can drive engagement fall into: • Talent Acquisition: What is my IT team’s employee value proposition and onboarding process layered upon HR’s overarching companywide approach? • Talent Management: How does management help and coach the team and individuals to perform better when they fall short of expectations? • Performance Management: How does management demonstrate to the team and individuals that they are delivering value? • Learning & Development: How does management develop the team and individuals? Don’t get me wrong, there is a laundry list of engagement factors in today’s work environment. Everything from working environments, cultures, co-worker relationships and customer focus, to employee empowerment matters now. Then there’s company potential, manager relationships, work life balance, learning and development, department relationships, senior management relationships, rewards, IT Workforce Engagement— The Silent Team Performance Killer 48 |

THE EFFECTIVE CIO

Douglas Paulo

Every gardener knows that planting is the first step in the process. But if you don’t water and tend your plants regularly, they won’t tell you what they need. They’ll just stop growing and die off. Intuitively, we should all know that managing talent in IT is no different. Yet, 25 percent of IT managers are consistently dealing with engagement deficiencies that translate into visible issues such as high turnover, difficulty sourcing new hires and poor team dynamics.

Why? I believe it’s due to a lack of managerial skills and weak employee development programs—silent team performance killers that are the equivalent of bad workforce gardening, if you will.

Our Kelly Services Global IT Workforce study can help frame this situation. We found that 47 percent of IT-industry employees felt they completely lacked the opportunity for advancement, 25 percent felt undeveloped and an alarming 76 percent felt undervalued in their jobs. Considering the very low unemployment rate and the alltime high confidence levels these employees have or should have as a result of a robust hiring market, these are alarming numbers. Conversely, 73 percent believe they would easily get a similar or better position elsewhere. I’d say they have plenty of motivation to look, wouldn’t you?

This convergence of low engagement with high confidence and career mobility is a growing trend that has very notable companies such as Intel, Google, Amazon, Facebook and others already experimenting with multifaceted programs to preserve engagement and retention of this valuable workforce. The question you need to ask is, how can you change this paradigm, and more important, how can your managers change it?

The four pillars that can drive engagement fall into:

• Talent Acquisition: What is my IT team’s employee value proposition and onboarding process layered upon HR’s overarching company wide approach?
• Talent Management: How does management help and coach the team and individuals to perform better when they fall short of expectations?
• Performance Management: How does management demonstrate to the team and individuals that they are delivering value?
• Learning & Development: How does management develop the team and individuals?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a laundry list of engagement factors in today’s work environment. Everything from working environments, cultures, co-worker relationships and customer focus, to employee empowerment matters now. Then there’s company potential, manager relationships, work life balance, learning and development, department relationships, senior management relationships, rewards, recognition, benefits and last, but not least, compensation. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with. So, understanding these pillars really helps to organize your thinking.

The pillars have great impact on almost all these items directly, and in some instances indirectly. But in all cases, followed correctly, they positively influence employee perception and will help your workforce maintain higher than average levels of engagement and therefore productivity.

So, how can you align these initiatives to make a real-life impact on engagement? Take learning and development as an example: If you have a process where managers meaningfully apply targeted training that aligns with an employee’s objectives for the year, then follow it with managerial or senior team member mentoring, that employee will feel a greater sense of accomplishment. You’ll also be able to easily chart how they’re delivering value.

Ultimately, whatever you commit to will have a positive impact on your work environment. Allowing employees to talk openly about what they’re learning, knowing everyone is being involved in their plan will help strengthen the bond between those with similar learning targets and those participating in the same training.

Expect to see relationships with direct managers strengthen as a result of mentorship assistance. Talent will feel vested and should project a better attitude when relating to other departments. And odds are, new employees who are onboarding will see the strong commitment to development and often overlook minor shortcomings by realizing that they, too will receive development help. Finally, employees will be less likely to job-hop to competing companies just for incremental increases if they see that development is not a priority at the company courting them.

While there are exceptions to every rule, there’s no question that carefully and consistently tending your team the way you would a garden will yield real, measurable results—and a happier, more productive workforce, year after year.

Douglas Paulo is the vice president and IT product leader for the Information Technology (IT) group at Kelly Services, Inc. Email: douglas.paulo@kellyservices.com

Read the full article at http://ourdigitalmags.com/article/THE+EFFECTIVE+CIO/2244010/269252/article.html.

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