Training as important as salaries in staff loyalty

Everybody knows that salary plays a vital role in keeping staff, but the importance of training and development is often overlooked, according to a survey of IT professionals.

Everybody knows that salary plays a vital role in keeping staff, but the importance of training and development is often overlooked, according to a survey of IT professionals.

A programme of training can be as effective as higher salaries in retaining staff, according to new research.

Although IT managers are aware that salary can play a vital role in keeping staff, the importance of training and development is being overlooked, according to a survey of IT professionals carried out by market research firm Resource.

While there was broad agreement among IT managers and staff regarding the importance of a fair salary, only 23 percent of IT directors felt the provision of training could encourage employees to stay at an organisation, while 46 percent of staff believed it was crucial.

"Increasing pay alone doesn't necessarily increase employee retention," said David Bacon, chief executive of Resource.

While many managers use training and development to improve the skills within their organisations, they fail to appreciate that it can also generate loyalty, said Mark Frank, e-business principal for learning at IBM Global Services. "Training ties people to an organisation that values their personal development," he said.

Retaining IT staff is becoming increasingly important to organisations, said Mark Edelsten, European partner at human resource consulting firm Mercer. According to Edelsten, it is becoming harder for firms to find people with the right IT skills, and so they are having to rely more on their existing staff. "Until recently, the emphasis was on attracting people into e-business. Now retention is key," he said.

On the positive side, the survey showed that compared with other employees, IT staff tend to be more loyal to organisations.

According to Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development figures, turnover for IT employees is only 12 percent a year, compared with an average of 16 percent.

Through focusing on training and development, IT managers can reduce staff turnover, providing significant savings on recruitment, argued Bacon. "This should be built into the employee retention strategy for the company ," he added.

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