Satisfied staff make a good business great

The Best Places to Work in IT 2005 awards celebrate those organisations which go beyond the basics of good remuneration and...

The Best Places to Work in IT 2005 awards celebrate those organisations which go beyond the basics of good remuneration and enjoyable working ambience to provide the innovative and creative environment that attracts the best of IT talent.

Accordingly, Computer Weekly has assembled a panel of judges which reflects the best of business, IT and employment expertise.

They will be searching for those organisations that hold out a beacon of best practice which can light the way for others.

"With the increasing demand for employees to contribute to their companies at a higher level comes the need for flexibility in the approach to how work is performed," said Ronan Miles, chairman of the UK Oracle User Group and one of Computer Weekly's Best Places to Work judges.

"The success factor is measured in employee satisfaction and the attendant improvement in contribution. How companies approach this will depend upon their circumstances, but those seeking original approaches will reap the biggest benefits."

Miles sees increasing realisation of the work/life balance and greater flexibility in working methods as the biggest drivers shaping the workplace in the near future.

"The issue will not be the workplace per se but more to do with the places where - and when - work can be done," he said.

Miles emphasised that employee satisfaction is not a one-way street. "The higher the level of employee satisfaction, the greater the commitment and contribution to the employer," he said.

"For the majority of people, no single factor is dominant in influencing their behaviour. Very high pay cannot compensate for poor working conditions except in the short term. Similarly, the most plush offices will not compensate for low pay.

"Striking a balance, which is most readily identified by employee satisfaction, is what gives the commitment of an employee to their company.

"With commitment comes energy and a desire to maximise contribution. The rewards to the company are then there for the taking."

Miles said the most immediate challenge for IT employers in the UK is the growth in offshoring - outsourced IT contracts which are carried out overseas.

"The economics of offshoring are quite clear and the effect is that people need to be up-skilled into 'higher value' work," he said.

"This transformation will not be easy and needs to be handled with great care. But it also has the potential for great reward."

Miles believes the Best Places to Work awards offer a valuable opportunity for employers and staff to evaluate how well their workplaces measure up to the challenges facing the UK IT industry.

"Any open and unbiased benchmark has value to modern industry and the UK IT workplace is no exception," he said.

"By highlighting those who are demonstrating good practice via these awards, Computer Weekly is helping the UK IT industry address the changes it must face to remain competitive and viable in the 21st century."

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