Thursday, June 28, 2007

Retaining IT Project Professionals

Did you know that the average employee turnover rate in the IT sector is approximately 12.5 percent, and that it can run as high as 40 percent in the most severe cases? This high turnover rate can have an impact on the success of your IT project.

There are three main reasons why your company should implement plans to retain its IT professionals—in particular, those who work on your IT project. These three reasons are explored below.

1. IT professional shortage
Today's organizations are depending more and more on the qualified employees of their IT departments to help sustain growth and develop new products or services. Managers need to know how to acquire and retain these qualified IT employees.

With a continuing shortage of qualified IT professionals, and recruiters aggressively pursuing these individuals, it is becoming more and more important for IT managers to develop employee retention plans.

2. Project delay prevention
The loss of an IT project team member can cause serious project delays. It may take the organization months to replace the skilled employee, and then another several months to bring the new IT professional up to speed on the core aspects of the project he or she will be working on.

The loss of knowledge and experience that the IT professional brought to the organization can be especially relevant in the middle of a project. Time needed to train a replacement will put the project behind schedule, and products or services may not get delivered to customers as promised.

The time delay caused by employee loss also will negatively affect project plans, cost estimates, and deliverables. This could result in poor relations with the customer, something an organization needs to avoid.

3. Staff replacement cost
Staff replacement cost is another major factor in the quest for employee retention. The financial and psychological costs related to staff turnover can include:
  • costs such as advertising, sign-on incentives, relocation, training, and recruitment fees
  • daily cost of production losses for training that may take three to six months
  • decreased morale and productivity of project team members due to excessive work hours while a new employee is trained.
With a shortage of IT professionals in today's global economy, the possibility of project delays, and the high cost of replacing employees, a plan to retain IT professionals and reduce attrition is essential to ensuring the success of your project.

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