It’s no secret that IT departments and team members are often tasked with handling complex solutions and systems, some of which can affect an entire group of users and therefore have varying degrees of consequences. Of course, it explains why nearly everything and anything implemented in the field is rigorously planned out and strategized first.
It’s also a field where troubleshooting and unforeseen consequences are common. Many times, in fact, issues can arise and cause delays in development or operations. So, converting any IT team into a more productive cog in the wheel can be a monumental task.
To that end, here are three tips that can help you foster a more productive IT team or department within your company.
Give Them Purpose
People tend to work their hardest when they have something that feels like it belongs to them — or something that really does. It creates a sense of pride and personal investment that drives performance. It’s also the key to keeping your IT workers focused and driven.
No, you can’t give every team member a piece of the company — especially if you don’t own it or it’s publicly traded. You can, however, give them more purpose and more power. It could be something as simple as allowing them to make their own decisions or making them the lead of a major project or task. By affording them a measure of responsibility, you are telling them you trust in them and their abilities. It instills confidence, and it also provides them with ownership in the business.
You still have to keep things organized within the department, so you can’t go promoting everyone. You’ll need to find additional ways to give your team members purpose. Incentives work great, especially if they are monetary.
Purpose may even vary depending on culture and diversity. For example, if your workforce is primarily male, which is common in the tech world, you might consider finding a more relevant purpose for your female workers — one that helps them stand out a little more.
A vast majority of the work carried out in IT will deal with proprietary tools, applications, and software — too much of it, honestly.
Imagine your regular operations as a well-oiled machine that runs continuously and rarely stops. The components of that machine are your employees, keeping things running smoothly. At a glance, they appear to be nothing more than necessary components in that system. When things are going well — or seem to be, at least — it’s remarkably easy to overlook their needs and concerns.
So, it’s vital that you communicate with your team and listen to what they have to say. Is a particular tool they’re using inefficient? What do they think of your processes or strategies? Do they have any suggestions for improvement? What do they think serves as a bottleneck in their regular duties? Often, as managers, we get so wrapped up in the high-level, day-to-day activities that we sometimes forget who matters most — our workers.
Make it clear to your team that there are open lines of communication any time they need them. Foster a culture or environment where it’s okay to ask for help and seek guidance.
Make Sure They Have the Right Tools
If this were construction, making sure your workforce has the right tools would be a little simpler. That’s not to say construction crews don’t have a lot of tools at their disposal, just their application is straightforward.
In IT, things are a bit more complicated, and that’s precisely why it’s essential to ensure your employees have access to the right tools and systems. Do they align with your business strategy as well as the team’s goals? Do they help the team or do they hinder operations? Can managers and other decision-makers leverage the tools, as well? How is the support, especially if it’s provided via a third-party?
The tricky part is assessing the systems one-by-one — in IT, you have tools for security, monitoring and authentication, development, maintenance, and even implementation. You might even have multiple tools in use within a particular specialization. They all have to be offering value and providing more efficiency. If they’re not, you need to find a replacement.
Streamlining IT Operations
Ultimately, the way to build a more productive atmosphere and team is to develop an environment of collaboration and communication. It’s that whole concept of making a positive culture — only you’re more specifically creating a more active and prepared IT crew.
Through it all, don’t forget to be social and provide fun activities for your workers. It’s hard to imagine being stuck inside all day behind the glowing screen of a computer or plugging away at a keyboard, but that’s a majority of what we do in this field. Sometimes, you just need to get out and get active to avoid being sedentary for too long.