One of the things I’ve discovered about working for Microsoft is that the first couple of months feel a little like trying to drink from a fire hose – there is a lot to take in. So it was only the other day that I finally got the chance to browse through my December issue of Windows IT Pro magazine. One particular article about the IT community got me thinking about the relationship between involvement in the community and employee retention, which in turn got me thinking about employee retention in general and how much time and effort it takes to replace a good employee when one leaves.
Think for a moment about this: happy employees are less likely to start looking for greener pastures. So what makes an employee happy? More money is helpful, but it’s not always about the money. And besides, there’s not always money available to give out. The Windows IT Pro magazine survey done of IT professionals found that those most satisfied with their jobs were also the most involved in the IT community. The article states that “The happier you are on the job, the more active you’re likely to be in the Windows IT community”. However, I would argue that the cause and effect is the other way around – the more your staff is involved and connect with others in the IT community, the more likely they are to be satisfied at their job. Why? Being connected with the community gives them additional resources to do their job well; it gives them access to information and people potentially from around the globe; it gives them a sense of belonging and pride in what they do. As a manager, you get better informed workers that can find solutions more easily and who are knowledgeable about the technologies available to achieve the business goals for your company.
On a separate note - I'll be downtown Toronto today, tomorrow and Thursday at the Ice House at Yonge & Dundas, so if you're in the area come by and say hello! See Rodney's post on the IT Pro blog for some Ice House picutures.
Knowing a little of your background and the hard work that you have put in to the community I know how much you believe in the benefits that it brings. As a UG Leader myself I wholeheartedly endorse your belief.
I also believe that the benefit is by no means confined to technical gains. By interacting with a wide range of people you are also introduced to valuable personal and business skills.
As a UG Leader I don't think of my responsibility as simply helping to educate technically but to try and "educate" in the wider sense in the hope that we are contributing to the development of "IT Professionals" with a capital "P".
I totally agree - there are definately additional gains through this interaction...social, business, etc., as well as technical.