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Study: Competent Supervision Essential To IT Worker Retention

By Jonathan Katz Cindy Larson, a human resources official at the Federal Reserve Bank in Baltimore, noticed a high turnover rate in the information technology (IT) department at her office. As a result, she decided to conduct a study to find out why. What she found was that IT workers consider competent supervisors to be just as important to job satisfaction as compensation. In a collaborative effort with the George Washington University School of Business and Public Management and the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Larson conducted extensive interviews with 10 high-skilled IT workers. "If the dollar amount is right, they're always going to leave for more money," Larson says. But Larson says she discovered that management seems to have the most impact on IT-employee retention. "If I have a good relationship with my management, and they're technically competent, they're going to look out for my raises; they're going to look out for the technology, and some of the things I don't have to worry about if I work some place else and don't have that relationship," Larson says. Competent supervision was defined by researchers as having a balance of basic technical, people, and management skills. In addition to management, participants cited the need for more qualified coworkers, timely and technical training, and maintaining competitive wages.

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