Recruiting and retaining good staff is among the toughest challenges for any IT director. At this time of year, almost everyone is looking to see if the grass is greener elsewhere.
Pay is always going to be a driver. After all, the annual hike in travel costs, increases in gas and electricity charges, and higher interest rates mean that staff are worse off today than in 2006.
But pay is not the only motivator, and few IT directors are lucky enough to have a bottomless pot of money for staff salary increases.
There are many reasons why people choose to remain in a job, and the task for proactive IT directors is to identify what motivates individuals. Training and career development are crucial. Giving staff the opportunity to take on new skills is a sure way to keep them keen, as entrants to Computer Weekly's Best Places to Work 2007 Awards realise.
But don't forget the softer issues. The organisation needs to be an enjoyable place to work. Location is also important. Is the office convenient for the school run, gym, crèche and childcare facilities? What about restaurants and clubs?
Apart from the location, which, sadly, most of us are stuck with, a good working environment rests on the dynamics of the team. Team spirit works wonders when a project is going awry, and cements long-term loyalty.
Office banter plays a big part. It makes for a lively workplace, even if it's just about the latest shenanigans in the Big Brother house.
By creating a positive environment, you can have people who can pull together when they need to, who understand the company's values and appreciate the role they play in helping the business meet its objectives. And, more importantly, you can retain them.
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