According to the upcoming 2003 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, an annual study released by META Group, Inc., among the many areas of high concern to IT organizations this year, few are as evident as employee morale. In fact, among those IT managers surveyed, more than 71 percent indicate that IT employee burnout is currently a serious issue in their organizations – an issue that could spell longer-range turnover, lower productivity and less overall shareholder value to the organization as a whole if not addressed.

"Working through this prolonged recession, which has seen budget cuts across the enterprise, numerous staff cutbacks and general sector uncertainty, has definitely taken its toll on IT employee morale. Unfortunately, it is those same budget cuts that are impeding managers from combating the problem by way of making concrete improvements," says Maria Schafer, program director of META Group's IT Human Capital Management Strategies and author of the annual IT Staffing and Compensation Guide. "Until budgets loosen, managers will be implementing internal career-advancement incentives in the form of skill development and retention programs. Proactively addressing these issues is essential to avoid a loss of productivity over the longer term."

In fact, 55 percent of those companies surveyed have begun implementing skill development programs as a means to boost employee morale, while 24 percent have created better overall retention programs. Monetary rewards still register as a viable "Plan B," with 11 percent of surveyed companies raising salaries, 11 percent hiring more staff,and 8 percent offering cash incentives to prevent employee burnout.

Surprisingly, a few IT organizations with remote locations relied on a "change of scenery" to attract more talent and retain good people – five percent moved the company to a new location altogether in an effort to lure skilled workers and reduce employee malaise.

At a minimum, the majority of organizations are at least taking steps to assess the degree of employee dissatisfaction, with 84 percent indicating they do employee surveys, while another 18 percent use the performance review process to obtain employee feedback, and 15 percent use suggestion boxes to keep the lines of communication with employees open.

For more information about the 2003 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, visit www.metagroup.com or call 800-498-META or (203) 973-6700.

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