Open source as an employee retention tool

Chief information officers who want to retain top employees should feed them open-source software. Although noted by Kaplan's former CTO, the tip is overlooked in a Baseline post.

Ziff-Davis' Baseline has a list of eight ways to retain employees in a tough economy. Now, you'd think that no one would be foolish enough to be looking around as the economy bottoms out, but good employees always have options, and good employees are the ones you most want to retain.

Take Sam Ruby, for example, who is lateraling over to Microsoft from IBM . He could take his pick of companies.

Despite including tips like "identify your stars" (and cater to them), as well as "maximize morale," Baseline overlooks one key way to retain top engineering talent: open source.

Jon Williams, when he was chief technology officer of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, identified open source as a great way to retain employees because it keeps them in interesting code. The best developers, whether at IBM or Morgan Stanley, want to work with open-source code. It's not a panacea, but it may be an integral part of a CIO's employee retention policy.

Follow me on Twitter at mjasay.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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