Is Your IT Team Working at Peak Performance?
We work with companies of all sizes, some that have onsite IT departments and some that are still building their team. We’ve noticed a few best practices that we try to share with the clients we advise. In this article, we’d like to give you a glimpse behind the curtain and tell you what we ask ourselves, and our clients, as we offer professional consultations.
Signs That Your IT Team Needs a Refresh
If you notice that your staff is fearful, resistant to change, unwilling to take risks or capture opportunities, or consistently underperforming, you may already have a problem on your hands. It may be time to ask yourself a few hard questions:
(1) Is Your Team Always Learning?
You may have heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” Unfortunately, that’s hard to achieve if you don’t encourage a culture of learning. In an age when technology is rapidly evolving, it’s essential to give your employees opportunities to acquire and practice new skills and to become familiar with new software. One way to help is to identify mentors or reward employees that obtain new certifications. Another way to ensure an educated workforce is to make training tools readily available online. Create a knowledge base that all of your team members can refer to.
(2) Do You Monitor Performance and Celebrate Milestones?
Tracking productivity is one thing; it’s better, in our opinion, to encourage accountability and make team members responsible for their own performance. This will allow managers to quickly determine which staff members are performing and which are falling behind. We recommend setting benchmarks and performance metrics that are both quantitative and qualitative. Not every team member is externally motivated. We also recommend celebrating successes. Everyone needs an ego boost from time to time. Finally, it helps to think of improvement as a continuous spectrum. If you dig deep into team data, you’ll inevitably find opportunities for your entire team to improve.
(3) Do You Encourage Risk-Taking and Give Your Employees a Certain Level of Freedom?
We’ll be blunt: no one likes a micromanager. Team members should be given enough freedom so that they feel both trusted and encouraged to reach their full potential. This may require a fresh, even scary approach to management. And it’s not easy! Andrew Palmer, senior vice president/U.S. region CIO for Liberty Mutual, says, “as a management team, we have committed to transforming our leadership styles from the traditional top-down, command-and-control to a more inclusive, servant-leadership style.” He considers hiring the right people key to making this work. Managers need to trust that their employees will come up with workable solutions and deliver value. With the right group of ambitious people, this is a strategy that can pay dividends.
(4) Do You Communicate Well with Your Team?
In order for all of the above to work, communication is vital. The surest way to make team members feel resentful is to hide information from them or make them feel as if their contributions aren’t heard or valued. Maintaining a certain level of transparency can be as simple as having a weekly check-in or sharing workflows.
Contact Newtec Services for a Robust IT Solution
We recognize that these tips are just as applicable to marketing or R&D teams as they are to IT teams. If you’d like to learn more about the advice we give on technology or software, let us know! We offer consultation and service bundling as well as cybersecurity help.