Whatever Happened To IT Worker Loyalty?

by drjim on July 28, 2011

Image Credit IT Workers Are No Longer A Company's Best Friend

IT Workers Are No Longer A Company's Best Friend

Hey IT manager, just how loyal to your company are you? How loyal do you think that your team members are? I’m betting that the answer to both of these questions is “not very”. Given that that is the current situation that we find ourselves in, how did we get here and what is an IT manager to do about it?

What Happened To IT Worker Loyalty?

Once upon a time, as all good fairy tales start, IT workers did feel loyal to the company that employed them. The baby boomers who are running IT departments these days grew up in an era where loyalty to the firm was rewarded.

The thought was that if an employee was willing to stick with a company through thick and thin, then the company would reward the employee with long-term employment, career advancement, and both a pension and health care benefits long after they had retired. Those days are now officially gone.

What has replaced IT worker company loyalty is more of a temporary agreement. It goes something like this: workers say “if I use my skills and talents to complete work for you, then you’ll pay me but our relationship is not a long-term relationship.”

What Do IT Workers Want These Days?

Given that this is the new reality of the IT workplace, what does this mean for IT managers? One of the most important changes is that younger IT workers now expect that they will end up having many more jobs than the boomers ever did.

IT managers need to be aware that as the younger generation comes into the workplace, the lack of loyalty will mean that managers’ jobs will need to change. A key change is that the younger IT workers won’t stay in a job where they don’t feel that they are being challenged. If they feel this way for too long, then these IT workers can be expected to leave the firm for better opportunities.

The new job for IT managers is to make sure that they take the time to retain their workers – company loyalty is no longer going to be doing the job. Instead, IT managers are going to have to take the time to make IT jobs more challenging for members of their teams. On top of this, in order to retain IT workers managers need to find ways to allow IT workers to express their creativity. Clearly keeping members of their team from jumping ship needs to become an important part of every IT manager’s day.

What All Of This Means For You

IT managers need to face a new reality: the days when IT workers had a great deal of loyalty towards the company that they were working for are long gone. Boomer IT managers especially have to come to grips with this new reality.

What has replaced worker loyalty is a form of a short term promise: I’ll work hard for you while I’m here as long as you agree to pay me well and we’ll both agree that this relationship won’t last forever. This is the employment situation that IT managers need to deal with.

IT managers can still accomplish great things even given the lack of employee loyalty. In order to retain their workers, IT managers need to take the time to ensure that their staff’s jobs are both challenging while allowing them to express their creativity. IT managers who learn how to do all of these things at the same time will find that their teams stick around longer than everyone else’s.

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

Question For You: If there is no loyalty, then what is the best way for an IT manager to get their workers to stay with the company?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

I’ve got some bad news for all of you IT Managers out there: it turns out that 25% of the best workers in your IT team are planning on leaving within the next 12 months. Not to depress you even more, but it turns out that those internal job change programs that you have perhaps created that are intended to develop the next generation of IT leaders don’t seem to be working – 40% of the internal rotations that are made by IT “high-pots” (high potential) employees end up in failure. Let’s take a look at what problems you need to solve …

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