Information offered within this article should not be considered exhaustive, rather should be viewed as a basic starting point, grounded in research offerings, for emerging HR professionals, as well as informative information for those interested in some of the key areas HR professionals are beholding; information which could also prove invaluable for those in the current job market in the TI. The article will first outline some of the outcomes from a targeted research analysis of recent best practices for employee retention within the TI. Second, it will identify basic methods to assess compensation amounts for multiple positions within a technology organization. Third, an evaluation of some successful training and career development plans for a technology organization are offered. Forth, a discussion, through an analysis, of some current methods of employee motivation within the TI is offered. Fifth, an outline of procedures for the implementation of a motivation plan for new TI employees is discussed, to include an explanation of just how the plan would support the technology company’s overall goal of prevailing as their market leader. Finally, as a bonus, an outline of some necessary steps for creating a successful staff reorganization effort, if needed, will be provided.
1. Best Practices for Employee Retention within in the TI
The TI is one that is ever-evolving. To better understand the required elements needed to retain skilled professionals, it is first necessary to understand just why these experienced workers chose to leave their former organizations in the first place. According to sources likeConerly (2013), Jin (2014), and Pink (2009), the following, in no order, are the common reasons for professional turnover in the TI arena:
- Salary or benefit issues,
- Work relationships,
- Lack of job satisfaction and recognition,
- Issues related to leadership support (e.g., weak or biased managers, etc.),
- Correlations between talents, interest, increasing challenge, and current position,
- Burn out due to a lack of clarity in required deliverables, lofty expectations, and short staff,
- Other fascinating opportunities, and
- Perceptions regarding a lack of skilled or cultural fit of colleagues.
Understanding the causations of turnover provide HR professionals with critical information to combat the potential loss of essential personnel. Some common approaches that HR professionals can use to reduce the possibility of losing talent within the TI arena include:
- In addition to required work, allow for workers the opportunity to engage in projects that provide excitement for them,
- Provide opportunities to stay current on skills and education,
- Look to build a collective and collaborative organizational culture,
- In creating educational opportunism, make training less technical and show their value through correlations with business operations (e.g., information on who are the customers, or education on the organizations current market position, etc.),
- External trainings and industry interactions opportunities,
- Create flexibility (e.g., flex time, work from home, dress code, etc.), and
- Establish selectable career tracks the workers can chose, vice pigeonholing workers in traditional mundane required upward mobility career tracks. (see Cascio, 2016; Conerly, 2013; ExecutiveBriefings, 2012; Jin, 2014; Pink, 2009).
It also important to ensure that the organization understands and embraces that it is virtually impossible to keep from losing everyone. Therefore, actions connected to the establishment of succession plans and cross-training, coupled with required conducted exit interviews, will strategically assist in reducing outcome performance losses connected to the attrition cause by talent loses (see Cascio, 2011; 2016; Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2017; Silzer & Dowell, 2010; Jin, 2014; Pink, 2009). In understanding the best practices for retaining talent, salary naturally comes to mind. However, how does an HR professional look to assess industry compensation? In the next section, a discussion will identify methods to assess compensation amounts for multiple positions within a TI.
2. Methods to Assess Compensation in the TI
Compensation is one important way of negatively or positively affecting employee extrinsic motivation and behavior (Cascio, 2016; Kouzes & Posner, 2012; Noe et al., 2017). It is also important to understand that compensation alone is not the only factor that motivates employees (see Young, 2015). Two federal laws that outline pay are, Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on numerous factors, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (amended in 1978 and 1986) and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), which provides job protections for those who need to take time off to care for family members (Moran, 2010). Furthermore, there are a plethora of state laws that are more stringent than federal laws, thus, it is vital that organizations are abreast of state requirements as well, like those exceptions to general overtime law in California (see California Labor Commissioner’s Office [CA LCO], 2017). Furthermore, understanding current compensation, through market surveys and other compensation scale tools like understanding buying power in a region (see C2ER, 2017; Poon, 2015), can positively assist HR professionals and consultants when looking to create compensation strategies and relocation cost plans (Cascio, 2016; Noe et al., 2017). Lastly, it is important to recognize that compensation strategies do have a shelf life and should therefore undergo rigorous reviews to stay competitive in talent acquisition and retention efforts, as well as internally maintaining and increasing employee intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Kouzes & Posner, 2012; Noe et al., 2017).
Compensation can be viewed in multiple dimensions and from many angles. Organizations and their HR leadership must ensure that compensation is attractive, yet also remains cost affective (Cascio, 2016; Noe et al., 2017). Furthermore, with the continuous evolvement of technology, the workforce (Chou, 2012; Taylor, 2014), and the current demand for skilled talent, organizations must also ensure that investments in attractive benefits are also part of their overall compensation packages. Methods to assess compensation can be as simple as cross-comparing similar organizations through market research. Another method could be in formulating a compensation formula based on individual positions (i.e., position classification, competency requirements, seniority, and skill level) and based on organizational needs.
For example, the HR division of Virginia Commonwealth University, in 1998, created a pilot compensation program, and published a working formula that could be used as a starting point to HR professionals within the TI (see Virginia Commonwealth University Human Resource Division [Virginia Commonwealth University HR Division], 1998). Pay ranges were established and sustained with salary survey data that comprised public and private sector employers. Marketplace appraisals were steered intermittently, and other market data was assessed, to confirm that pay ranges remain competitive with those within the market (see Virginia Commonwealth University HR Division, 1998). Note: Check out more recent initiatives like that of Mississippi in their Information Technology Classifications Special Compensation Plan for FY 2018: http://sos.ms.gov/ACProposed/00022614b.pdf.
Other tools, described in an offered blog article by Elizabeth MacBride in 2012, also created additional assistance for HR professionals. MacBride in 2012, provided a tool for three years that workers within the tech arena could be used to effectively evaluate a potential organizations compensation offer. The tool compromised data on the tech startup job market, containing cash compensation and equity packages for a range of jobs, and could be downloaded free of charge (for your email address, of course). Unfortunately, in 2015, after three years they discontinued their free offering, though now offering other paid services. However, there are more recent approaches that TI organizations use in evaluating compensation, one such tactic is discussed next.
A more modern approach is one used by the software company Buffer, who openly displays company salaries and their formulas used for salary calculations (Gascoigne, 2016). Through transparency, the organization presents the image that there is nothing to hide internally or externally. This tactic (or ideology) directly speaks to workers by way of exuding the personification of high moral and ethical standards, and could appeal to those who are looking to be part of something greater than themselves through affiliation. Buffer reports that it is a transparent organization through action and salaries are just one of the many things in which the organization openly shares with the public, to include their formula for the past two years! Another is sharing externally not only their successes, but their failures. The company publishes articles on their website for the public to view. These articles vary from success stories as well as stories tied to recent failures; all aimed at staying in line with their company values of remaining transparent. Compensation is not the only factor that organizations need to retain talent. In the next section, an evaluation of successful training and career development plans for a technology organization are offered.
3. Successful Training and Career Development Plans in the TI
Successful Training and Career Development Plans (T&CDP) are varied, to say the least. Understanding how compensation packages will attract and retain skilled workers will provide the structure of how to train and develop them. Simply, depending on what intrinsically motivates a skilled worker would dictate the career development plan that would be initiated. It is also critically important that the adopted T&CDP distinctly correlates with both the individual and the organizations needs collectively (see Cascio, 2016; Conerly, 2013; Jin, 2014). This brings to the forefront a question, are organizational leaders at a point of asking themselves:
Despite strict needs, is there now a necessity for
individual employees to also invest and take
responsibility in their own unique career development,
vise a singular internal requirement many times
placed on the HR function to navigate and leverage?
4. Employee Motivation within the Technology Industry
According to the study results offered by Al-Alawi (2005), which evaluated motivational factors of information technology (IT) employees, motivational influences include “environmental factors, management factors, opportunities and training in the workplace, and job satisfaction are essential to motivate the IT hotel employees” (p. 224). Training on a systematic basis was the most preferred method for motivating IT employees, an outcome supported by others who have studied the IT field (see Jin, 2014); outcomes that could also be correlated within the best practices for employee retention section previously outlined.
5. The Procedures for a New Employee Motivation Plan
New employees particularly, require and deserve training and support to ensure they understand and can effectively integrate into their new organizations culture. Organization cultural fit is a leading indicator of employee retention and acquisition (see ExecutiveBriefings, 2012; Pink, 2009; Ted Talks, 2014). The following outlines some actions that HR professionals can use when looking to develop a new employee motivation plan:
- Provide new employees with a mentor, and working together with supervisors, collectively develop immediate, mid-range, and long-term goals within a comprehensive and measurable employee development plan. The plan should also include clearly outlined periodic reviews and adjustments that would assist in facilitating accomplishment of all adopted milestones (i.e., motivation),
- Ensure that there is a comprehensive onboarding plan in place aimed at assisting new employees (e.g., orientations aimed at introducing employees, and for providing information that would assist with successful integration, showing them around the organization, as well as, providing them with information and upon request as needed (i.e., engagement),
- Ensure supervisors and coworkers provide support for new hires that would assist in understanding the organizations policies and workplace norms (i.e., engagement), and
- Create platforms and mechanisms for receiving and providing two-way feedback (i.e., motivation and engagement) (see Anderson & Anderson, 2010a; Conerly, 2013; Jin, 2014; Noe et al., 2017; Pink, 2009).
6. The Essential Steps for Creating a Successful Staff Reorganization
In today’s ever evolving workforce, coupled with a dynamic global arena, organizations must place a higher priority on succession planning if long-term viabilities connected to goal achievements are to be sustained (see Cascio, 2016; Cascio, 2011). It is suggested that the following elements be added to a HR succession plan strategy:
- Correlating leadership succession needs with organizational goals and future organizational needs,
- Regard succession planning as a continual process in need of rigorous review,
- Make succession planning a priority by implementing an evaluation line item on performance reviews,
- Create a mentoring program designed to address succession needs,
- Require succession plans to be briefed at the highest level (i.e., executive board members),
- Ensure that the incumbents are a good fit for the organizations culture,
- Ensure that the incumbents long-term vision is correlated with that of the executive board members long-term vision, vise merely short-term,
- Ensure board members responsible for incumbent selections have a collective focus and ideology that is also in line with organizational ethics, goals, and needs,
- Adequately assess the credentials of the incumbent, as it will save both time and money in the long-term,
- Create ownership of self-career management, vise reliance solely on the organization, and
- Create face time opportunities for up and coming leadership with the executive board (see Cascio, 2011; Katz, 2012).
There are also times when the organization may need to reorganize (e.g., loss or gain of market share, under performance, work relationship issues, mergers, or acquisitions, etc.). HR professionals must also develop strategies that will enable their organizations to adapt to the ever-changing dynamics within their market, and the TI is one such volatile market. Reorganization should be approached and viewed simply as an organizational change initiative. There are some essential elements, which HR professionals should evaluate and implement, that can assist in creating and facilitating a successful staff reorganization change initiative plan. Apart from the first bullet, the following is offered, without order of precedence:
- Understand why the reorganization is needed,
- Re-evaluate all positions and correlate with organizational needs,
- Communicate the reorganization plan openly to all within the organization,
- Ensure that reorganizational actions are in line with the organizations ethics and are within legal standards,
- Allow for open feedback from all inside and outside of the organization that may be affected by the reorganizational changes (formulate a change management division perhaps),
- If relocating members, look to accommodate as much as possible, by again communicating rationale, but also working with any unions in collaboration. This to ensure contractual compliances,
- Ensure that leaders have the skills to facilitate a reorganization, otherwise get outside assistance from an expert to manage,
- Communicate the status of the reorganization transparently and regularly at all levels,
- Identify and adopt a new model that will support the organizations goals,
- Structure, document, and articulate the new leadership, cross-relationships, hierarchies, and responsibilities associated with the reorganization,
- Devise the needs and plan for required training, and
- Ensure that all leadership exhibit through communication and persona actions, the level of expectations required by all within the organization--leading by example (see Anderson & Anderson, 2010a; 2010b; Cascio, 2016; ExecutiveBriefings, 2012; Free Management Library, n.d.; "Steps in Managing a Reorganization," n.d.).
The TI is but one industry that HR professionals are saddled with cautiously navigating. Hopefully with this article has provided some helpful information for new and emerging HR authorities. If any part of this information can be useful for implementation, or as starting points aimed towards successfully piloting effective recruitment, motivational, development, and retainment developing individual strategic plans, HR professionals, and those involved, are the better for it!
Al-Alawi, A. I. (2005). Motivating factors on information technology employees in Bahrain hotel industry. Issues in Information Systems, 6(2), 224-230. Retrieved from http://iacis.org/iis/2005/AlAlawi.pdf
Anderson, L. A., & Anderson, D. (2010a). Beyond change management: How to achieve breakthrough results through conscious change leadership (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Anderson, L. A., & Anderson, D. (2010b). The change leader’s roadmap: How to navigate your organization’s transformation (2 ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
C2ER (2017). Cost of Living Index [Calculator application]. Published instrument. Arlington, VA: C2ER: The Council for Community and Economic Research.
California Labor Commissioner’s Office. (2017). Exceptions to the general overtime law. Retrieved June 20, 2017, from http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/FAQ_OvertimeExceptions.htm
Cascio, W. F. (2016). Managing human resources: Productivity, quality of work life, profits (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Cascio, W. F. (2011). Leadership succession: How to avoid a crisis. Ivey Business Journal Online, 1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.
Chou, S. Y. (2012, May 27). Millennials in the workplace: A conceptual analysis of millennials’ leadership and followership styles. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 2(2), 71-83. http://dx.doi.org/10.5296/ijhrs.v2i2.1568
Conerly, B. (2013). Quits are up: 7 employee retention strategies your company must have. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2013/12/11/quits-are-up-7-employee-retention-strategies-your-company-must-have/
ExecutiveBriefings. (2012, July 23). The Values-Based Leader [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAgVQxKqCAI
Free Management Library. (n.d.). Organizing or reorganizing an organization and its employees. Retrieved June 11, 2017, from http://managementhelp.org/staffing/organizing-staff.htm
Gascoigne, J. (2016, June 16). Introducing open salaries at Buffer: Our transparent formula and all individual salaries. Retrieved June 10, 2017, from https://open.bufferapp.com/introducing-open-salaries-at-buffer-including-our-transparent-formula-and-all-individual-salaries/
Jin, Y. (2014). What strategies are most effective for attracting, engaging and retaining experienced hires in technical roles? Unpublished manuscript, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Retrieved June 13, 2017 from Cornell University, ILR School site: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/student/65
Katz, D. A. (2012, June 11). Advice for boards in CEO selection and succession planning [Blog post]. Retrieved from Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation website: http://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2012/06/11/advice-for-boards-in-ceo-selection-and-succession-planning/
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
MacBride, E. (2012, September 12). Manage your tech career [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blog.wealthfront.com/startup-employee-equity-compensation/
Moran, J. J. (2010). Employment law: New challenges in the business environment (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2017). Human resource management: Gaining a competitive advantage (10th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
Pink, D. (2009, July). The puzzle of motivation [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation
Poon, L. (2015). What $100 is worth in cities across the U.S. Retrieved June 19, 2017, from http://www.citylab.com/work/2015/07/what-100-is-worth-in-cities-across-the-us/398564/?fb_ref=Default
Silzer, R., & Dowell, B. E. (Eds.). (2010). Strategy-driven talent management: A leadership imperative (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Sinek, S. (2009). How great leaders inspire action [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action
Steps in Managing a Reorganization. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://hrweb.berkeley.edu/guides/managing-hr/managing-successfully/reorganizations/steps
Taylor, P. (2014). The next America: Two dramas in slow motion. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/#The-Technology-Gap
Ted Talks. (2014, May 19). Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmyZMtPVodo
Virginia Commonwealth University Human Resource Division. (1998). Information technology compensation program: Program manual. Retrieved from https://www.pdffiller.com/en/project/121000776.htm?f_hash=5057ad&reload=true
Young, V. (2015, April 10). Employee performance & engagement blog: 3 reasons why culture matters more than compensation [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blog.reflektive.com/3-reasons-why-culture-matters-more-than-compensation?utm_content=13916856&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin