Employee morale is a key area of concern for information technology (IT) organisations during 2003, according to the '2003 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide' from META Group. Of the IT managers surveyed for the guide, more than 71% indicated that 'employee burnout' is currently a serious issue that could affect turnover, productivity, and shareholder value.
According to META's guide, working through the prolonged recession, which has seen budget cuts across the entire enterprise, along with staff cutbacks and general uncertainty, has taken its toll on IT employee morale.
The catch is that those same budget cuts are stopping managers from dealing with the problem. So, until budgets loosen, managers will have to implement internal career advancement incentives in the form of skills development and retention programmes.
"Proactively addressing these issues is essential to avoid a loss of productivity over the longer term," explained Maria Schafer, author of the guide.
According to Schafer, some 55% of companies surveyed have already begun implementing skills development programmes as a means of boosting employee morale, while 24% have created better overall retention programmes.
Financial rewards are still considered a viable fall-back plan, with 11% of companies raising salaries, 11% hiring more staff, and 8% offering cash incentives to prevent employee burnout.
Surprisingly, a few IT organisations with remote locations rely on a simple 'change of scenery' approach to attract more talent and retain good people, with some 5% physically moving the company to a new location in an effort to lure skilled workers and reduce employee malaise.
The majority of organisations are at least taking steps to assess the degree of employee dissatisfaction, with 84% doing employee surveys, and another 18% using the performance review process to obtain employee feedback. Some 15% also use suggestion boxes to keep the lines of communication with employees open.