Posted by: kenwbudd | August 2, 2009

Do Not Neglect Your Workforce: Your Future Depends on it

IT executives are constantly challenged to retain skilled IT employees and attract new talent whilst, keeping the budget square and the cost of labour in line with recession-related staff cuts.

In the midst of all this brinkmanship, juggling and balancing, they have to remember that neglecting the IT workforce will definitely damage the long term prospects of the company and themselves.

Do not cut your staff out of your IT budget:
It is clear that the majority of organisations do not plan to add staff in the coming months. Nearly two-thirds of those asked say that IT hiring has been put on hold until the 1st Quarter 2010, and the rest said they expect to increase head count modestly, in the same timeframe and only to replace shrinkage.

The problem is that despite the need to contain costs, the greatest priority in IT departments is the need to maintain and update skills, whilst at the same time adding enough staff to help support their companies’ business. This is clearly more important in times of rapid growth and expansion but needs to be taken into account.

The Biggest Piece
Consider that the HR budget is the largest part of the IT budget, one of the primary challenges for executives and HR leaders, will be finding ways to better control those labour costs while engaging and retaining the workforce, effectively.

Morale
In addition, the current trend to restrict and reduce compensation and potential benefits coupled with additional workload will continue to stress and de-moralise the current IT workforce at many companies, and IT leaders need to be aware of retaining their key talent to ensure a potential for recovery from the current recession.

It will take time for the economy to stabalise and re-establish a new normal, the impact of this recession will continue to affect the organisation’s bottom line, as well as on the overall job market. This will tempt companies to consider making further cuts in workforce-related spending.

Key Skills

Additional cuts, despite the budgetary need, could be false economy or at worst, a very big mistake. Certain IT skills remain in demand despite numerous IT professionals looking for work during the downturn. Key skills areas such as Oracle, SAP (All Flavours but particularly HR), Java EE, Microsoft .Net, SOA, Java and PeopleSoft (SAP-HR) continue to be sought after.

IT managers find it difficult to fill positions for enterprise architect, database administrator, project managers, ERP programmer/analysts, Internet/Web architects and Web application programmer positions. The issue isn’t about the number of candidates available for hire, but rather their quality and skill profiles.It is ironic, because these are the very skills needed to implement the efficiency driven ERP system suites that are being put forward as essential to transform organisations in a crisis.

Dilemma

Here is the dilemma for IT executives. First you need to invest in powerful ERP Systems to transform, and re-shape an inefficient organisation but you don’t have the skills on board to manage it, you do not have the skills to maintain it and your budget is so restricted that it does not allow for a quantum leap in demand for re-training. Even if you did re-train everyone, once they were trained they would be snapped up by other organisations!

IT Consultants
The good news is that the ERP System are being introduced and implemented by willing outsourced IT Consultancy group allied to the company, which is great in the beginning but unless your people can quickly gain the knowledge and skills required to manage the systems, then the consultants will be with you for a very long time ,at a huge cost to the organisation.

You have to ask yourself, “Where are the savings and benefits now?” and “What’s my position and prospects for the future in all this?” Discuss!

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