by Joe Janasz
kpCompanies Sr. Vice President of Sales & Recruiting
A 2016 Health IT Stress Report found that 55 percent of professionals in the field are either frequently or constantly stressed. What’s more, 38% of tech workers rated their stress intensity as high or extremely high, while 45% said their stress occurs on a frequent or chronic basis. It’s clear that tech professionals are stressed and burnt out, and if employers and IT managers don’t take action, they are going to face major talent shortages. That’s also why finding a less stressful job was the #1 thing IT candidates are looking for according to a 2017 CareerBuilder poll.
Some of the reasons tech work is stressful are difficult to control. One reason is that tech work is unpredictable–one minor change to a website can cause a bug that leads to an entire system malfunction. The shortage of tech workers means that many companies hire inexperienced workers who make more errors and don’t know how to correct those errors quickly. Full-time tech workers also face the stress of being replaced by consultants or having their job sent offshore. Those stresses in the IT workplace are not likely to change soon.
What can change is the way employers look at tech stress in the workplace. Most employers realize that as stress continues growing, employee productivity and and motivation drops. This is how employers can better manage stress on their IT workers and retain IT talent longer:
1. Better Work/Life Balance
Note how often tech employees socialize with one another. If you see IT workers rushing through breaks to get back to work or cutting down on social activities, help tech candidates develop a better work/life balance which may include more work from home or more company social activities.
2. Online Venting & Solutions Portal
Promote an online forum in which tech employees can share stressful situations before they grow out of control.
3. Provide Work-Schedule flexibility
Allow tech employees to structure their each day so they can be most productive. This goes beyond giving some tech employees the right to work from home each Friday. Each tech employee has different stresses outside work from daycare to aging parents. Trust your IT workers to get their job done and let the employee determine how to make the most of each day.
4. Gimme a Break!
Let your employees know it’s OK to take a vacation or break. Recharged employees get more done. Executives should take breaks too and lead by example.
If you are a tech worker, you are probably getting too many calls from recruiters asking you to change jobs. If you want to find a less stressful IT job, trust only those recruiters who have many years of experience placing candidates in the right environments, and recruiters who know what specific employers’ cultures are really like. The same can be said for employers and IT managers looking to add tech talent. Trust experienced recruiters to find candidates who are making job changes for the right reasons and will be good long-term fits for your culture.