Does the IT workplace suffer from a Dead Sea effect? Bruce Webster, an IT analyst, says yes, and this is the reason large organizations struggle to hold onto their best IT engineers.
Located below sea level, water only leaves the Dead Sea by evaporation and what is left is generally unable to support life. This, in short, is the predicament of large IT departments, which work in a similar way. The most talented and effective engineers are the ones most likely to leave or "evaporate," argues Webster, fed up with the "stupidities" that can plague large organizations and with other opportunities that they can readily move to.
"What tends to remain behind is the 'residue' -- the least talented and effective IT engineers. They tend to be grateful they have a job and make fewer demands on management; even if they find the workplace unpleasant, they are the least likely to be able to find a job elsewhere. They tend to entrench themselves, becoming maintenance experts on critical systems, assuming responsibilities that no one else wants so that the organization can't afford to let them go," Webster explains on his blog.
The cycle is self-perpetuating--the worse an IT shop becomes, the harder it is to get really talented and effective IT folks to join it--but the core issue is that the IT hiring process is broken: Demand exceeds supply and people are hired for the wrong reasons.
How should it be done instead? The same way a successful American football team does, of course.