IT departments in higher education are faced with some pretty tight constraints. Admins demand more from the staff, and budget problems prevent universities from hiring new IT team members. Workloads pile up on IT and—surprise—they quit. Turnover can have both negative and positive effects on the bottom line, but even those silver linings could come back to bite you if you’re not careful.
Keeping employees happy is an essential function of an administrator’s job. Fair pay and in some cases managing workloads are essential for positive IT environment.
The Virginia Community College System’s Joy Hatch formed a board of cabinet members whose sole duty was to delegate IT responsibilities more evenly. A well-paid and relaxed workforce is less likely to look elsewhere for a job.
But let’s face it, when it comes to IT, it’s hard to keep employees happy. IT Support staff keep getting asked to find new methods of cutting costs, even as they cope with managing existing computer labs, planning for upcoming technology changes, managing IT desks, and other responsibilities.
It’s an extremely competitive hiring market for IT Support staff. Great IT Techs can easily move on to the next university, leaving their IT department scrambling to find a replacement.
On one side, the negative effects of employee turnover can include:
- Additional strain on remaining IT staff handling extra duties
- Employees who take part in the search for a replacement become distracted from other duties
- A new hire may take some time to get used to the new position and may not be as effective as his or her predecessor
- If any training is needed for a new hire, the productivity of the employer assigned that duty could decline
However, there is a bright side. Thomas Hoover, CIO at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, deals with employee turnover all of the time. He views turnover as an opportunity to temporary reduce costs and re-evaluate necessary position. His IT department attempts to save costs by seeing whether a position even needs to be refilled. Sometimes offloading duties onto other teams can work wonders. Also waiting for the right candidate saves money on what they’d have to pay them in salaries.
This sounds great in theory, as long as in practice it’s not all about saving some money at the expense of stressing out the remaining employees by overworking them. That could just lead to more turnover. Sure that’d mean more savings, but at some point the turnover is going to affect productivity.
Do you think turnover greatly effects the bottom line, or is it a great way to save some money? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below and remember to check out our Facebook page!