Singled out

Regional enterprises are fast realising that the pool of available IT talent is no longer as deep as it used to be - and with the region's rising inflation, keeping staff onboard isn't easy either. Imthishan Giado looks at how CIOs can improve their working environments for prospective and present employees.

  • E-Mail
By  Imtishan Giado Published  March 3, 2008

Regional enterprises are fast realising that the pool of available IT talent is no longer as deep as it used to be - and with the region's rising inflation, keeping staff onboard isn't easy either.

Imthishan Giado looks at how CIOs can improve their working environments for prospective and present employees.

If I look across the IT spectrum, people who are paying the most may in the short term attract people who are currently unhappy in their jobs but they do not have the highest retention rates – those people are still looking for jobs.

In a region wracked by a recent wave of crippling inflation, it has never been more important to find new and innovative ways of attracting staff to your organisation, and then providing a dynamic, productive and rewarding environment with strong career progression so that they remain there.

While the salaries on offer have traditionally been a bone of contention, it seems that almost every day, a new survey emerges showing that pay is not keeping pace with inflationary pressures.

Under these circumstances, CIOs are also all too aware that existing employees are easy prey for roving headhunters from larger or better bankrolled regional enterprises.

But the CIO, under pressure from the boardroom to reduce expenditure, is often unable to match the packages available elsewhere in the market.

In this instance, says Ruth Fletcher, director of recruitment consultancy Indigo ICT, companies should start thinking beyond offering exorbitant salaries as a means of attracting new staff - at least, if they want these hires to stay.

"Some of the strongest brands and teams that we see in the marketplace are not the teams that are paying the highest salary.

If I look across the IT spectrum, people who are paying the most may in the short term attract people who are currently unhappy in their jobs but they do not have the highest retention rates - those people are still looking for jobs," she reveals.

The problem is that many managers believe salaries are the only barometer by which they can judge if existing staff are happy, or if prospective employees want to join their organisation.

Nagarajan Thangaradhna, IT manager for Qatar's Abdullah Abdulghani and Bros, believes this mindset reduces the manager to nothing more than a relay mechanism between the boardroom and the IT workforce.

"In the 80s and 90s, the manager was like a post-box - he'd take instructions from his bosses, pass it on to the subordinates and see that it's done on the scheduled date and time."

"Those techniques do not work today. My door is always open and at the same time I visit their desks."

"I also conduct regular meetings where staff can speak openly - if they feel their opinions count, they feel much better. Though it's difficult to spend time with everyone on a daily basis, I still try to keep touch with them on a personal level."

"With the confidence level I create, they know they can always come to me and lean on my shoulder for advice, whether work-related or personal," says AAB's Nagarajan.

While Nagarajan works to ensure employees feel relaxed in the work environment, Bassem Aboukhater, regional IT director at Leo Burnett Dubai takes the concept one step further - he defines the ability to have fun as one of the core requirements for anyone who wishes to work for him.

If you're not having fun, you probably shouldn't be here. This is because we're all about creativity and that requires you to relax and be
happy in your skin.

"At the end of the day, we don't have a product to sell except the consultancy, the know-how and the ideas of our people."

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code