Menu Close

IT Staff Motivation – What IT Employees REALLY want

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Do you REALLY know what motivates your IT Employees – what they REALLY want?  Do they?  Just how engaged are your employees – by engaged we mean do they really feel a part of the organization?  Do they understand their role in the organization’s success?  These questions are simple enough, but much more difficult to answer.  But the answers have a major impact on the organization and it’s ability to deliver the action plans necessary to achieve goals and strategy.  What should you be focusing on for your IT Staff Motivation?

What do Employees Really Want?  The Perception vs. The Reality” is the title of a report developed by David Finegold and Susan Mohman of the Center for Effective Organizations, in co-operation with Kom/Ferry International in 2000 and 2001.

This report, the result of an extensive survey of more than 4500 knowledge workers and managers, sought to establish what strategies organizations need to embark on to attract, retain, motivate and develop the people with the qualities and competencies needed to achieve organizational success.  What actually drives commitment and retention?  The findings are, to say the least, fascinating.

A number of elements of the “workplace relationship” were identified.  These are:

Adequate Development Opportunities Opportunities available to learn new and different abilities and opportunities to apply the skills and capabilities learnt.
Career Advancement The ability to move within the organization to secure the kind of job that fits the interests and aspirations of the individual.
Influence / Autonomy The ability to influence the organization and control over their own work.
Innovation and Risk Comfortable opportunities for innovation and creativity.
International Opportunities The opportunity to work in a different global region.
Job Security The commitment of the organization to retaining employees.
Opportunity for Career Self-Management The opportunity for individuals to manage their own career development within the organization.
Pay for Individual Performance Rewards such as individual performance bonus.
Pay for Organizational Performance Rewards such as share options or profit-sharing give employees a personal financial stake in how well the organization performs.
Professional Satisfaction Recognition of abilities and ongoing development of those abilities to maintain currency.
Strategic Clarity The organization has a viable and well-communicated strategy for success.
Work/Life Balance Balancing the commitment to the organization and the employee’s life away from the workplace.

The findings of the research indicates that there is a significant difference in what employees say they want and what factors actually do relate to retention and commitment.

What Employees Said

The table below lists what employees say are important to them in their careers:

Work/Life Balance

86%

Job Security

74%

Pay for Individual Performance

71%

Pay for Organizational Performance

71%

Influence / Autonomy

57%

Professional Satisfaction

51%

Career Advancement

47%

International Assignments

32%

What Actually drives Commitment and Retention

When the different elements were analyzed taking into account the actual influence on the attitudes and behaviours of employees, the results showed surprising differences.

In the increasingly diverse workplace today, it is common to have, within the same work environment, people at different “career stages”.  The “career stages” are:

Career Stage

Key Characteristic

Early Career:  Ages 30 and Under Establishing their personal value
Mid-Career:  Ages 31 to 50 Establishing themselves in leadership roles
Late Career: Ages over 50 Established skills and experience

The table below lists what showed to be actually important to employees in their careers, in descending order of importance:

What they Say is Important

Early Career

Mid-Career

Late Career

  • Work/Life Balance
  • Pay for Individual Performance
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Job Security
  • Professional Satisfaction
  • Career Advancement
  •  Work/Life Balance
  • Job Security
  • Pay for Individual Performance
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Influence / Autonomy
  • Professional Satisfaction
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Job Security
  • Pay for Individual Performance
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Influence / Autonomy
  • Professional Satisfaction

Actual Drivers of Retention

Early Career

Mid-Career

Late Career

  • Career Advancement
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Pay for Individual Performance
  • Innovation and Risk
  • Career Advancement
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Innovation and Risk
  • Professional Satisfaction
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Job Security
  • Career Advancement
  • Innovation and Risk

Actual Drivers of Commitment

Early Career

Mid-Career

Late Career

  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Strategic Clarity
  • Adequate Development Opportunities
  • Innovation and Risk
  • Influence / Autonomy
  • Professional Satisfaction
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Strategic Clarity
  • Influence / Autonomy
  • Professional Satisfaction
  • Innovation and Risk
  • Opportunityfor Career Self-Management
  • Pay for Organizational Performance
  • Innovation and Risk
  • Influence / Autonomy
  • Adequate Development Opportunities
  • Strategic Clarity
  • Opportunityfor Career Self-Management

Interestingly “Career Advancement” and “Pay for Organizational Performance” are the two most important factors impacting on Retention and Commitment.  Talent Management strategies should take this into account, especially in the current environment where there are more IT jobs than people available.

This shows, however, the inherent dangers in “Employee Satisfaction” surveys, and and using the outcomes of these surveys alone for making important Human Capital decisions.

TalentAlign.com is committed to assisting organisations to maximise their investment in what today is truly – their most important asset.