Arik Ragowsky accepted for publication in Communications of the ACM
Mike Ilitch School of Business Associate Professor of Information Systems Management Arik Ragowsky was accepted for publication in Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
Communications of the ACM publishes articles for readers with backgrounds in all areas of computer science and information systems. According to their website, Communications of the ACM is “recognized as the most trusted and knowledgeable source of industry information for today’s computing professional.”
The article, “Managing IT Professional Turnover: It is not as much about Compensation as it is about Distrust,” discusses turnover in the IT profession as a result of distrust in employer organizations.
IT employee turnover is, and has been for many years, a major concern to CIOs and senior IT managers. That concern is so great that some managers we interviewed said that they added an estimated 20% to their expected costs on account of that “revolving door”. Those IT managers also claimed that seeking higher compensation is a key reason why their IT employees leave. That claim supports the assertion among CIOs that a strong job market is to blame for high turnover. The objective of this study was to survey IT employees and inquire whether indeed that is the reason. Apparently, and in contrast to the assumption that it is mainly about satisfaction with compensation, this survey shows it is more about their distrust in their organization. Moreover, that distrust was correlated with a sense of having available alternatives and with a concern of becoming technologically obsolete, suggesting that these employees may have been considering their options. That is to say, throwing money at the problem of IT employee retention, i.e. blaming higher compensation in other companies for that problem, might be a tempting easy solution, but often the reasons IT employees leave are deeper and reflect how the organization treats them. The survey indicates that it is more about the organization may be inadvertently creating a push to leave, than it is about being pulled by other companies. This may seem outside the reach of IT managers, but steps discussed here can be taken to reduce that distrust in the remote target of the organization by reassuringly suggesting a partial antidote involving promoting trust in the closer team the IT employee is part of.