IT Budgets, Headcount Predicted to be Up in 2014, Turnover Becoming a Problem

The Society for Information Management (SIM) has released some interesting survey data on what IT leaders and professionals think 2014 holds in store, as reported over on CIO.com.  Here’s the quick facts:

Looking ahead to 2014, 65% of survey respondents say IT budgets will increase.
Nearly half of companies (47%) reported an increase in internal IT employees in 2013, 55% of respondents anticipate growing headcount in 2014.
Turnover hit 6.58% in 2013, up from 5.23% in 2012, 5.51% in 2011, and 5.5% in 2010
Of these metrics, the one that I believe is most concerning is the rate of turnover.  With all of the bad news on the economy over the past 5 years, too many professionals have been sticking with jobs they didn’t particularly like out of fear.  Now, with the economy showing stronger growth and less uncertainty, turnover rates are going to skyrocket.

From a management perspective, some new thinking is going to be required to figure out: 1) how to retain the institutional knowledge their outgoing employees have gained over the years, and 2) how to transfer that knowledge effectively to the new wave of hires.  Collaboration and documentation capabilities are going to be critical to reducing disruption during this period, but there are other approaches that can help, such as:

Standardization can simplify documentation requirements, making it easier to train new staff in addition to its many other benefits.
Automation based on open standards can help IT continue to run smoothly while personnel transitions take place, freeing up time to send new hires to training.
Improving visibility in terms of performance, configuration and line-of-site between business objectives and technology projects can enable veteran staff members to temporarily cross functional silos while new hires are brought up to speed.