Date of Award

Spring 3-21-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Samuel J. Bresler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Cheryl-Marie Hansberger, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Carlos V. Guzman, Ph.D.

Abstract

Purpose. The purpose of this study was to identify the employee engagement practices that millennial IT workers perceive as important to retention. The secondary purpose of the study was to determine whether a difference exists between the engagement practices that appeal to millennial IT workers and the engagement practices that appeal to remaining IT working groups, which include the baby boomers and generation X.

Methodology. A quantitative, descriptive, survey-based research method was chosen for this study. The population included information technology workers representing three generations of working adults, including baby boomers, generation Xers, and millennials. The sample included technology workers belonging to the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) located in the Southwestern Region of the United States (Arizona, California, and Nevada). An online, 18-question survey was utilized to identify engagement practices found in research to be linked to retention.

Findings. Examination of data included feedback from a total of 44 participants. The research found that millennial IT workers are most engaged when they worked for an organization that valued their professional growth and continuous learning. The millennial IT workers rated the majority of the 18 statements slightly higher than their generation X and baby boomer counterparts. The most interesting finding was that all generations of IT workers reported that having a confidant in the workplace was the least important workplace practice leading to engagement and retention.

Conclusions. As the need for qualified, skilled, and fully-engaged IT workers increases, it will be imperative for human resources leaders, Boards of Directors, and company CEOs to implement policies that ensure the implementation of programs and practices that increase engagement and retention among IT workers in the three worker generations, baby boomers, generation Xers, and millennials. Equally important is the need for Universities to design and develop management curriculum that address the importance of engagement, and the contributing practices leading to increased retention in the workplace.

Recommendations. Further studies are recommended and include: (a) conduct the same study nation-wide through the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), and include additional demographic comparisons by gender, job title/position, length of employment, and industry, and then determine if a difference exists between employees and contractual workers; (b) conduct the study with soon-to-be University and College information technology graduates; (c) replicate this study in the future, as the next generation of IT workers enters the workplace, to determine if the findings for this generation are similar or different from their counterparts; and (d) replicate this study with other populations outside of information technology.