Respect means more than just the occasional pat on the back. Employers intent on retaining tech talent offer formal or informal rewards systems to recognize extraordinary efforts or achievements.
Marist's Thirsk, for example, encourages staffers to take risks and apply for awards. "It could earn them a really nice trip [that] we will sponsor, a Starbucks gift card, or an end-of-year cash bonus," he says.
If your company doesn't do the same, it may be a sign that it doesn't adequately respect good work.
3. No clear career path — beyond management
Management isn't for everyone, but far too few employers offer career opportunities beyond managerial ones. For many IT pros, this means alienation from their one true love: working with tech.
If your employer offers no clear career path for your niche, chances are it does not recognize — let alone value — the variety of career interests that a healthy IT organization should support.
Managers have to recognize that not everybody in IT is the same, says Greg Meyers, vice president of global IT at Biogen Idec, a biotechnology company. There are different types of IT professionals, he says, and each wants to be offered viable career paths.
Some people might like to run projects that deliver basic services to the organization, while others are happiest when they're continually experimenting with new technologies or testing new theories. Still others might want to dedicate themselves to security or governance efforts.
"We need to first be clear on which type they are, and then make sure we've created career paths for them," Meyers says. "There is room in IT departments for all of these types. I think where [organizations] often fail is they don't recognize that different groups of people need different things to give them a sense of hope" at work.
It's up to the supervisors within individual areas of IT to make sure that employees are receiving the appropriate career development and coaching they need. Is your supervisor showing a genuine interest in what you want to do over the long haul, or is it a day-to-day grind with no consideration for where you're headed?
4. Leaders are sought -- but not from the tech ranks
Working on an IT project from concept to completion and seeing the impact the effort has on the business can be hugely satisfying. If your company isn't creating opportunities for IT pros to have input throughout the lifecycle of IT projects, let alone lead them, then it might be worth looking for a new employer that does.
As PwC's clients demand edgier, faster, and more innovative offerings, the firm has created roles in its IT organization that are focused on strategy for each of its business lines, Garland says. "To provide the highest level of client experience and meet the ever-expanding demand for new solutions, we've created roles responsible for owning IT products through the entire lifecycle," he says.
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