Your IT staff is the backbone of success at your company. They keep your computers up and running, email functioning properly, data backed up. Yep, it’s all pretty critical stuff. But, what do you do if your IT staff is overwhelmed? It happens and can affect their job satisfaction – and your business – tremendously. To support them best, outsourcing some of the more monotonous things may give your team the breathing room they need to regain their focus and be more effective at what they do best.
Often, a day in the life of an IT person means constantly fixing everyone’s problems and leaving NO time for being proactive. Here are a few ways you can give your IT team all the warm and fuzzies by supporting them best.
- Start IT staff out right by preparing them to do what your company needs
Most IT leaders are placed in their jobs based on their technical skills and experience, not normally expected to need any training. Go over what you need done and provide as much detail as possible. Give the employee time to soak it all in, and then ask if there is training they need to prepare them for doing the work. Let them decide if they would like on-line or on-site training, and support their decision. Ask the employee(s) to explain to you why the training would help, and have them help you understand the pieces and parts of all the involved tasks. Hopefully, recognizing today’s complex operating environment and realizing the power of a prepared, motivated individual, will allow you to justify and welcome any training the IT employee suggests.
- Resist micromanaging
This is simple – first, help them understand all dependencies attached to the work they are to be doing. Have them tell you why doing this work needs training. Then, get them the training, and let them do the work. This sounds simple, right? But what if they fail? What if you lose data? What if you have downtime? What if you get compromised? What if you wrongly bill a customer?Just keep breathing and stay the course. IT employees will experience short term failures, but they learn quickly. And if you will allow them to fix their breaks and the time and resources to document – all these times of trouble – you more than likely will experience them less and less. You staying clear of them, trusting them to get through the hard times, and not holding any of it against them, is a very good investment.
- Get them the equipment, software, and/or services they need
IT staffs having to work with inadequate and outdated equipment/software and/or not having information services they should have, is guaranteed to lead to not only them being frustrated and unhappy, but to wasting their and the company’s time on monotonous, easily automated tasks, detrimental to long-term success. Think of the time your IT staff spends on data backups, replacing old computers, cleaning out dust from computers or switches or routers, installing, removing, updating and patching software, cleaning local disks to have free space, teaching users about email phishing, blocking users from browsing to non-work related web sites, removing viruses or malware or even… ransomware from computers, etc.Fuse.Cloud’s Fuse.IT service takes care of all this, so your IT employees can do what you hired them to do, such as managing your ERP, web/software development, email marketing blasts, e-Commerce operations, technical product development, data warehousing, deploying paperless filing, etc. Fuse.IT will work closely with your IT staff and then meet with you on a quarterly basic to help you understand new equipment, software, and/or services you should consider getting for your IT staff.
- Watch for Burnout
Getting work done is great, but if you do not celebrate successes and allow for recovery time, the people doing the work get burned out. When you have employees doing the same work over and over, knowing you expect them to produce the same results, each time, they begin to feel and experience stress. And, many times, they start bringing that stress into other departments, to your customers and/or vendors, and worst of all, home to their families. Make sure to have good internal communications, such as having your IT staff meet with you on a regular basis and have them provide progress reports each week or month. Keep up with what they are doing, and do your part to make sure, when possible, to have weeks where the pressure is off a little.
- Set goals – with your IT staff involved
IT employees in the dark is a serious morale killer for them. Keep up with the work they are doing, and align all their work with business processes or deliverables. Then, get input from all other departments, so you can set company priorities. With all this in hand, meet with your IT staff and tell them what you’ve found and how you feel the needed work would best be prioritized for the company. Then, ask them what they think. Respecting their input, establish individual goals, and update these at least quarterly, reviewing one-on-one, when possible.
- Pay more attention to your IT staff than your KPI’s and KRI’s
Instead of closely monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and/or Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and trying to associate those with your IT staff, make sure your IT staff is rested and ready to work. So, instead of them being at work each day 9 to 5, define operational parameters with them, so they are not having to stress about being in your offices all the time. Much of their work will be done when they are not at work and certainly many times after work hours. So, watch their schedules a little less, be a proud sponsor in making sure they have everything they need to work remotely, and just let them do their work, until you feel they are not. And when those times come along, pick up the telephone and check in with them, setting up a meeting, if needed. Most every successful IT employee greatly appreciates a loose schedule and the ability to work form home when needed, but what they most appreciate is you allowing them to work this way. And, they almost always show their appreciation by doing a fantastic job for your company.
- Make sure you pay your IT staff as the industry is paying at the time
Watch carefully to pay your IT staff properly. What you do not want is for your employee to feel he or she is not being appreciated, sure, but having the reputation for paying technical employees lower than current industry levels can seriously hurt your ability to employ good IT staff. And, most all technical employees highly appreciate being able to make money along with the company. It makes sense to them – they see the company making money, and they should get to share in that. So, income revenue-based bonuses, stock options, flexible spending plans and 401(k)/IRA plans are normally highly appreciated by technical employees.
- Encourage your IT staff to continue learning and keep up with new IT/IS technologies
Offer skill advancement opportunities, at least every six months. Sometimes, these can be training classes, but also can be having them attend conferences and/or professional events where they can see what your competitors are using or new ideas and technologies. IT staff normally enjoys getting to these training classes and/or events, where they are with people who do work similar to them.
- Consider new ways to get your IT staff’s input on managing projects and timelines
A big boost for IT staff performance has been agile methodology, such as Scrum and Kanban project management. Let Fuse.Cloud help you understand these replacements for PERT and Gantt charting, and how agile methodology project management can help you bring your company and its IT staff closer together.
If you’re finding your team is overloaded, Fuse.Cloud can help. We serve as a trusted Managed Service Provider (MSP) and will work with your IT staff working to solve technical issues and help them regain their focus.With a company vision, clear goals and an empowered IT staff with a strong MSP partner, your IT department is able to work effectively and efficiently, making the whole company more productive.
Fuse.IT is Fuse.Cloud’s solution for managing your IT needs. Fuse.Cloud uses over a decade of IT knowledge and a team of experts to provide businesses with very competitive pricing models, making Fuse.IT very affordable. Contact Fuse.Cloud to learn how your business can benefit from having a productive IT staff and a reliable IT partner.