“IT workers – especially at the helpdesk and maintenance level – are seen by many organizations as necessary but commodity-like functions that are not critical to the organization’s mission or strategy,” said BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice. “As long as the E: server is running, little thought is given to keeping this group informed, excited or committed to the organization's success. And often the development of technical leaders is underfunded. This may explain why engagement levels are lower in IT departments than functions closer to strategic decision making and customers like Sales, HR and Marketing.”
The Employee Engagement Report 2011 explores workplace attitudes among employees on four continents and is based on survey responses of nearly 11,000 individuals. Among the study’s other findings:
• Less than half of IT employees (48%) trust their organization’s senior leaders. In contrast, more than three-quarters (76%) trust their immediate manager.
• Career development and training top the drivers of satisfaction and contribution for this group.
• Retention of technical talent is an ambiguous issue: Despite lower engagement levels, IT employees are no more likely to jump ship than the North American workforce as a whole. 56% indicate that they plan to “definitely” stay with their employer for the next 12 months, which presents employers with a specific challenge of embedded disengagement.
• Of those considering a move, IT employees are most likely to leave to pursue career advancement or more fulfilling work.
Rice cautioned, “Disengaged employees stay for what they get – a comfortable job, a good salary, and decent job conditions. Engaged employees stay for what they give – they like the work they do to drive your organization’s success. Give IT professionals opportunities to build their skill sets through training and development and the challenging projects that they crave or they’ll settle in, contributing little, until a better opportunity presents itself.”
Intended for line executives and HR leaders, “Employee Engagement Report 2011” presents five levels of engagement: Engaged, Almost Engaged, Honeymooner & Hamsters, Crash & Burners, and Disengaged. The recommendations focus on the roles and responsibilities of executives, managers, and individuals in driving engagement every day. The report can be accessed online.
The survey was conducted between July 2010 and October 2010, and results were compared with pre-recession data (gathered December 2007). 27% of the 10,914 survey respondents reside in North America. More than half of respondents hold executive, management, or supervisory titles. Along with IT, R&D, Engineering, and Finance departments also experience low employee engagement.
BlessingWhite (blessingwhite.com) is a global consulting firm with key expertise in Leadership Development and Employee Engagement. Based in Princeton, NJ, with locations in London, Chicago, San Francisco and Melbourne, the firm has worked with nearly three million professionals in thousands of organizations since its founding in 1973.