ITIL certification key to retaining staff, Vic revenue office finds

SRO chief executive officer says ITIL certification has helped retain most of his IT staff

The road to achieving ITIL certification has not only delivered huge performance gains and substantial savings for the State Revenue Office of Victoria, it has also proven to be a key factor in retaining IT staff.

In 2002, the SRO, a government department that collects taxes and duties from Victorians, decided to seize control of its IT department from its IT outsourcing partner of six years and return to insourcing.

Retaining most of the staff from the outsource partner, it went about the simple, yet challenging goal of creating, what SRO's CEO Paul Broderick described as, the "best possible IT shop that we could". One of the paths that it would take to get there would be via the adoption of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library methodology.

As it sought to achieve ITIL certification, the IT department proceeded to align itself with the entire SRO business, reviewed its performance measures and Service Level Agreements, and made staff more accountable for the results of their work.

The outcome has been a very public success story: the SRO has slashed 20 percent of IT costs, delivered $50m in projects on time and on budget, and has boosted operational productivity by over 60 percent in the past five years.

Most encouragingly for Broderick has been the retention of staff during this period.

Of the 45 IT staff that began working on the project, only several have left, despite the lure of bigger dollars elsewhere.

"We have found that many IT professionals want to work for an organization that has ITIL certification as it is great to have on a CV. This assumption seems to be borne out as our staff turnover in IT is very low."

The best practice policy, which is the cornerstone of ITIL, also applied to the treatment of staff.

Each member in the IT department was allocated $5,000 per year for training of their choice.

"Flexibility in working hours was introduced, people who did outstanding work were acknowledged publicly."

Although IT staff may be seen as self starters and happy to work as individuals, Broderick said it was important to pay attention to theirs needs. "Their skills are highly transferable and it is expensive to lose good staff."

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