Michael Dawisha has been the CIO in the division of Residential and Hospitality Services of Michigan State University for over eight years. He has previously been the CIO of a large medical non-profit organization.
As the global trend toward travel and distant communication continues, businesses are finding themselves competing with a greater number of potential employers. Talented employees are pursued and leadership is forced to make decisions that will effect if these employees stick around.
With a global trend toward technology, how does a large non-profit organization like a university keep their employees while a world of options and bigger offers await? What works and what needs to change to keep up with the new age work force?
Michael Dawisha notes the observable change from recruits being hired in with the expectation of being around for a full career. He wants the most talented employees on his team and he now has to consider the quality of life in his region compared to the world for the 1000 full time employees and up to 7000 part time employees that are a part of his division. Because Michigan State is a University, their focus is on education not profit. This forces talent retention tactics to go beyond the standard pay raise. Dawisha talks about treating people like gold. Instead of viewing management from top to bottom, you build an organization by keeping the employees happy. While Dawisha says this technique has been working well now, he acknowledges that businesses will need to adjust for a future with shorter stays by employees.
One specific technique that is used at MSU is to get people involved in projects outside their core work functions. You might find a web programmer helping design the new room in the organization’s dining area. This allows participants to get a first hand experience to the culture of participation and diversity at the organization. Its during the end presentations that you can tell everyone involved was honored to be volunteered, happy to participate, and proud of their work. The programs that people are a part of help enforce the idea that they are making an impact at the company and in the world. This opportunity for remarkable input is in-tune with the desires and beliefs of the young emerging work force.
In addition to the techniques that have been tried and tested- Dawisha mentions using the data gained from their own people analytics. With new technology the personal bias can be taken away from the data collection and better informed decisions can be made. The increase in technology has also opened up new avenues of study, in one case suggesting Dawisha observe the correlation between area code of the employees and the longevity of their tenure. The technology increases help guide Dawisha’s decision making, but compared to other organizations that might be for-profit the education industry is behind
To adjust for the future Dawisha talks about becoming nimble. Instead of reacting to employee offers from other organizations, be proactive- cut down on the number of employees seeking other job offers. Employees often are rooted and are not looking for a reason to change their living situation, Dawisha handles these events on a case by case basis- proving that relationships is still a big part of talent retention.
What you will learn in this episode:
Retaining talent amid higher paying competitors.
The trends of talent longevity.
How people analytics is being used for employee longevity.
Working in IT and increasing talent retention as a non-profit.
The high learning curve faced by new employees.
How an organizational goal to “Lead with food” is promoting talent retention.
The likely future of working with IT at a university.
Why Michael Dawisha recommends reading Isaac Asimov.
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