With many of the tough times behind a lot of companies, I'm hearing more talk about some things I haven't heard in a while: motivating employees, investing in employees, and retention strategies. These things didn't necessarily disappear in recent years, but they just weren't at the top of the priority list for many. And as the IT workforce shrinks, these issues may (and should) become even more important.
Here's what one business-technology manager recently told me: "As the cost-cutting days come to an end, new opportunities will open up, thus employees now have something they haven't had in a while--options." He wasn't talking about stock options, but rather new opportunities in an improving economy where talent and skill and creativity will be rewarded.
"The really cool part," he said, is that "with these dynamics comes a breath of fresh air ... renewed creativity ... a sense of excitement that comes with the freedom to position one's self where you can both have fun and be a key contributor. And with this comes an increase in quality--quality software and quality customer service."
Another CIO recently said that her organization has become very focused on training, morale, improving skill sets, and developing leadership capabilities. So much so that some managers have bonuses tied to preventing turnover of high-potential employees.
It's been a while since I got letters from people telling me what a great employee-focused, creativity-encouraged, stimulating organization they work for. But I suspect those days are returning. If you work in one of those companies, we'd like to hear about it.