The Great Resignation


The IT community didn’t need to have a trendy buzzword like the “great resignation” to become popular to know that we have a talent retention problem. Job burnout and employee turnover are nothing new in our industry. The root causes are well-known, but it took employee retention problems in other industries to draw attention to the issues that the IT sector has been facing for some time.

I’ve been in IT for 30 years, and like everyone in this profession, I have experienced my share of job satisfaction challenges. I have also changed jobs several times to increase my earnings potential, accept new challenges, and improve my work-life balance.

Liberal Work From Home Policies Won’t Solve the Problem

IT departments are painfully aware of the impact that their work from home policies have on staff retention. But as the ever-increasing number of work satisfaction surveys can attest to, there is much more to keeping your workforce happy than letting them work from home.

If you keep doing what you always do, don’t be surprised when you get the same results. It’s time to consider alternative approaches to staffing and staff retention.

An Alternative Strategy to Improving Staff Retention

During my career, I have had the good fortune of being both a purchaser and a provider of IT outsourcing services. Most of the information we see on IT outsourcing focuses on large organizations replacing their IT staff with offshore workers.

What we don’t see publicized are supplemental outsourcing engagements, which are actually much more popular than their full outsourcing counterparts. Supplemental outsourcing occurs when the service provider augments the customer’s IT staff. Supplemental contracts allow the customer to define both the technologies the provider will support and the staffing levels.

As a purchaser, I found that I could customize a supplemental IT outsourcing services contract that would provide my organization with the hard-to-find skills we were looking for, reduce our support costs, and improve our internal teams’ quality of life. If I used an onshore provider, I was able to leverage the additional benefits of being in the same general time zone for ease of communications and not worry about my security and regulatory compliance auditors.

My organization would still be able to leverage our staff’s intimate knowledge of the technical processing environment, business workflows, and system dependencies. The outsourcing provider would help us retain our internal staff by reducing employee workloads, handling temporary workload spikes, and allowing our team members to switch from mundane support activities to higher ROI and more interesting projects.

When I switched careers and began working for outsourcing providers, I used what I learned as a purchaser to refine our service delivery and marketing strategies to promote the benefits of supplemental outsourcing engagements.

Engagement Benefits:

Here’s a quick list of employee retention benefits that these types of engagements provide:

  • There are times when an IT team only needs a partial resource to handle workload increases. In addition, temporary workload spikes also occur that don’t require a full-time hire. Supplemental outsourcing engagements can be designed to handle workload fluctuations by allowing you to increase or decrease the number of contracted service hours. The engagements allow you to choose not only the technologies the provider will support but also the number of hours. The end result is that your staff is not constantly impacted by workload spikes. The outsourcing provider acts as a temporary or permanent buffer to handle the workload increases.
    • No matter how great of a job your company does retaining staff, you will experience employee turnover. A supplemental services contract provides an additional mechanism that you can quickly leverage when staff attrition increases the workload on your existing team members. Which often leads to additional employee exits.
      • You can customize the services the outsourcer provides to allow your IT staff to switch from maintenance and day-to-day change management to higher ROI activities. Most techs prefer to work on projects that help their organizations penetrate new markets, increase revenue, and improve operations – not day-to-day change management, system maintenance, and job monitoring. Supplemental outsourcing engagements can reduce the amount of time your staff spends performing mundane support activities – freeing them to focus on projects that provide greater value to your organization.
        • Because of the flexible nature of supplemental support contracts, you can customize the skills and experience levels of the outsourcer’s staff. From senior-level experts that support your systems and train and mentor your internal team members to day-to-day support specialists that keep your systems up and running, you can tailor the outsourcing staff’s experience levels to your needs.

        Sharing the Staffing Risk

        As a provider, my #1 responsibility is to keep my customers happy. I want contract increases, not terminations. The keys to success in my business are recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and long-term customer retention. When a customer tells me “I have a staffing problem”, my organization’s responsibility is to help them fix it. The end result is that we now have 2 organizations with different tools and resources at their disposal sharing a common goal.

        To learn more about how supplemental outsourcing can help, please visit

        In an upcoming article, we’ll discuss an entirely new approach to IT staffing that my organization is offering. It is a longer-term partnership that focuses on both teams and individuals, staff development, extended right-to-hire, and employee retention risk sharing.

        I hope you enjoyed my article on The Great Resignation.

        To learn more about the services we provide to our clients, please visit our RadixBay Home Page.

        Chris Foot
        RadixBay Senior Strategist, Managed Services
        Oracle Ace Alumni
        TechTarget Author