Better engage, train, and retain your IT employees
IT isn’t solely about checking off business goals, but becoming an active member of planning, strategizing, and implementing organizational change. The future of IT is supporting more creative, strategic tasks internally.
This is the first of five blog posts on internal IT teams and how businesses can best position them for success.
In order to empower your internal team to innovate around bigger picture business strategy, you need to cultivate outsourcing relationships to take care of the foundational IT. As Forbes notes, the IT worker is a “tech-savvy innovator who creates change across the organization’s entirety, not just a single department.” Your digital strategists are the heart of your business and they deserve ongoing recognition for their accomplishments and valuable contributions.
Within your company, recognize your IT team’s value by embracing innovative projects that attract and retain high-caliber IT talent. Lift your team up, as they are central to your success. They demonstrate their commitment by supporting professional development and technical training opportunities for these individuals.
“Most innovations are created through networks — groups of people working in concert.”
Key to uplifting your IT team and valuing their expertise, is respecting their time and the importance of work/life balance. Involve them in your strategic planning processes up front so that they can inform decision making and avoid having to clean up messes downstream, rush to meet unrealistic deadlines, or work overtime due to inefficiencies in the process.
Initial steps to empower employees
- Position IT as central to business strategy and success.
IT that supports business strategies and solutions is more important than routine maintenance. Clarify your business’ strategy to include your IT partner. Positioning IT as a core segment of your business builds trust, engagement and performance with your IT partner. Here are keys to building a relationship with your IT partner. Execution is also important. Swiftly take action on strategic and operational moves that are important to your business.
- Connect IT staff with organization leaders.
According to Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged at work, although that percentage is close to tripled in the United States: 33% are engaged at work. A recent Wall Street Journal article titled, “Together We Innovate,” addressed the importance of employees working together in an effort to pull new ideas from multiple sources regardless of hierarchy or rank. The article suggests that, “most companies continue to assume that innovation comes from that individual genius, or, at best, small, sequestered teams that vanish from sight and then return with big ideas.” Consider this wisdom: “most innovations are created through networks — groups of people working in concert.”
- Initiate strategic projects at the intersection of technology and innovation.
Drive business growth with goals, success measurements, and check-in points. Look to industry leaders who are shaping the future of innovation management. For inspiration, check out an initial list provided by Gartner Inc., the world’s leading research company. Employees need permission to learn, a Forbes article titled, “Three Tools to Inspire Innovation,” states, and tinkering and creative thinking allows them to feel empowered and to think independently. Start on a smaller scale with a project, and employees will eventually begin thinking about what Forbes writes, are “the big issues facing the organization and coming up with new ideas for solutions.”