In previous columns I have written about the 'War for Talent' and the critical importance of focusing resources on finding the best people for IT. 

It's no secret that large companies have the resources to find and acquire top talent. Based on simple math, you would think the best people work at the largest companies. But in IT, you often find the best and the brightest at smaller firms. Why is that? 

Part of the answer is that money isn't everything. The younger generation looks for a collaborative work environment that offers a sense of purpose, a spirit of community and a fulfilling career.  

As an IT leader in the modern enterprise, you have to ask yourself if you've created a work environment that not only attracts top talent, but also retains top talent. Moreover, you need to be honest with yourself about the quality of your mid-level managers. Are they encouraging and nurturing new hires, or are they undermining them?  

Anyone who has played a competitive team sport knows the nervous feeling of watching a new crop of players arrive. Rightly or wrongly, you feel certain that one of them will replace you and you'll wind up sitting on the bench. That kind of anxiety is common. Great coaches understand it, and they provide moral support for their veteran players. That doesn't mean that great coaches never replace veteran players - it means that great coaches focus on the whole team, not just the rookies or the veterans. 

The best CIOs make sure their deputies and managers understand that IT is a genuine team effort in today's modern enterprise, and that every individual on the team can make an impact. Older and more seasoned members of the team have different needs than younger and less experienced members of the team. Someone who graduated from college in the 1993 relates to technology differently than someone who graduated from college in 2013. Managers and directors must take those differences into account, or risk alienating entire groups of workers. 

IT resources are limited, and salaries account for a large portion of every IT budget. Successful IT leaders invest the time and energy necessary to figure out what motivates their employees - and they do everything they can to retain the top talent they acquire. It takes a couple of years for new hires to hit their stride, so it makes good business sense to keep them engaged and motivated, especially when they're new on the job. Consequently, the 'War for Talent' in the modern enterprise requires a leader that can retain and evolve that talent.