Although every company has a unique culture, those who work in IT tend to have some attributes in common. They thrive on innovation, don't fear change, and have a passion for challenges. Any business that can harness those characteristics will benefit from an IT staff that's engaged, creative, and mission-focused.
That's why it's important to make the most of IT staff skills and time. Not only will you create a stronger department, but focusing on these strategies will also increase staff retention, which is critical in a realm as competitive as IT hiring. Here are some tips that can help:
Stop the firefighting
Someone who is highly skilled in seeing data trends, programming mobile apps, and presenting security solutions that prevent breaches will probably feel less than enthusiastic about having to retrieve passwords and fix the printer for most of the day. Yet many companies make help-desk tasks into a general duty that everyone on the IT staff has to tackle. This can be a serious waste of resources. Increase productivity by outsourcing help desk functionality, hiring dedicated help-desk personnel, or at least automating some issues like password fixes.
Support ongoing education
In many professions, a degree is the main endpoint when it comes to education about a certain field. But in IT, that's just one stop along a lifelong road to knowledge. Technology is constantly changing, and that requires fresh certifications and courses, as well as conference attendance. Don't skimp when it comes to supporting your IT staff's efforts to stay on top of industry trends. That learning can easily turn into new business strategies and improved operations throughout the company.
Hold regular feedback sessions
When you want to know how to get more out of IT staff, just ask. Create a focused, regularly scheduled session — at least quarterly or more often — to find out about what types of projects they've liked working on, whether their teams feel cohesive, and if there are any technologies that could be useful, such as managed services.
Tie goals into business outcomes
Although IT staff members enjoy working with technology, they also want to feel that what they're doing contributes to a company's success. Knowing that they're helping to drive growth can be useful for meeting goals and keeping projects on track.
Leave them alone
In some companies, every IT staff member is wearing headphones and hunkered down low inside a cubicle or office. This isn't a stereotype about being introverted — the tactic helps them to concentrate fully, which is what's needed to be able to do the type of highly technical work they enjoy doing. When you bombard their schedules with meetings, especially on projects where they're only tangentially included, it creates a series of interruptions that can hurt productivity. Respect their need for large blocks of uninterrupted time, and you'll see better results.
To make sure that all the components of your IT — including technology and those who manage it — are working together seamlessly, consider setting up a comprehensive IT evaluation that can give you a high degree of visibility and boost productivity.