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How to Develop Your IT Staff in The Workplace
Organizations that don’t believe in employee development end up with high turnover rates, and all the other problems that go with it. Finding great talent and people with the right IT skills and training for your organization takes time and considerable effort. However, it is even more difficult to engage and retain their services once they are on board. It is imperative that you invest in the progress of your employees, helping them reach their potential.
The trouble with employee development is that it is a long, and often stressful cycle. According to a 2013 Gallup report, only 30% of American employees, and 13% of employees situated outside the US, felt like their employers care about them. And now 5 years later, surprisingly the figures haven’t improved by much. Employee development efforts can help solve this dilemma once and for all.
Employee Development offers Significant Strategic Benefits
It is in an organization’s best interest to invest in IT employee development as well as their counterparts across the company. Converting employees into dedicated workers, who are innately engaged with the work that they do, is the most effective way for organizations to inspire growth in performance that leads to sustainable long-standing growth.
The Wasp Small Business Report divulged that 56% of businesses will hire employees within the next year. These businesses must also start preparing to retain their people. The 2013 Gallup Report studied more than 80,000 work units including 1.9 million people employed there. The analysis confirmed that there is a bona fide connection between high performance outcomes and employee engagement. The following metrics were impacted for the better as employee satisfaction increased:
- Customer ratings
- Safety incidents
An engaged and energized IT team is excited about their future, they use their expertise to enhance the productivity in their workplace, and more importantly they are willing to take up greater roles and responsibilities. Well-developed IT employees also help create a new generation of managers who lead and inspire, in turn increasing in their own teams. Investing in your IT department now, will deliver long-term returns. It is now more critical than ever for organizations to have in place, a plan for developing an IT team that loves the work it’s doing.
Help Your IT Staff Stay on Top of The Learning Curve
Formal employee training not only ensures their competency and excellence, but it also increases a sense of fulfillment for their career. Develop your employees for high performance by creating a thorough knowledge-base that all IT staff gets to access. For IT staff roles that fall above the entry-level, you require experienced candidates who rely on a continuous development of their skills and knowledge, instead of just the training manuals. They should have very clear know-how of the critical information and best practices to help them grow the organization, their careers and teams, as well as their own learning. Setting up these resources will no doubt be time-consuming at first, but these will pay off in the long run.
Help Them Augment Their Knowledge
Create a healthy organization-wide culture that is conducive to learning, whether it is through structured programs, or organically through conversations.
Books, seminars and e-learning opportunities are abundantly available. Make sure your staff has the opportunity to benefit from these opportunities, and then utilize their new-found knowledge in work settings. Encourage your IT staff to stay up-to-date with the latest practices, tactics and strategies. Encourage them to follow industry leaders online and learn what strategies they used to find success. Help them move their career forward by learning from industry experts, and your organization will also reap the benefits of their expertise.
Encourage Cross-Departmental Interaction
Your business is an eco-system. The different departments and teams are working independently, but in reality, they are all interdependent, waiting on each other for various stimuli. Encourage the various teams to interact with each other. Members of your IT team can, once in a while sit down with the sales team and learn more about their function. Similarly, have the IT department and customer service people join the scrum meeting.
Relax, no one is likely to make a radical career change, but they are likely to appreciate the impact their work is having on other employees. These exercises might turn your employees into willing stakeholders and participants in the organization’s success because they’ll better understand how it all works.
Don’t Forget the Soft-skills
Don’t downplay the importance of self-awareness, motivation, communication, empathy and social skills in corporate environments. Soft skills are important for employers. After all, we all want our employees to engage with others in some way. These soft skills come in handy when it’s time for them to interact well with others. Dan Goleman’s framework of Emotional Intelligence perfectly encapsulates the importance of soft skills at work, and how these are just as important as hard skills, i.e. trainings and intellectual expertise.
Link Up with a Professional Network
Information Technology is a rapidly evolving field. Your IT staff will enjoy being affiliated with professional networks where they can find mentors, coaches and take advantage of networking events. When the advice and support come from like-minded individuals who truly understand the challenges of the industry, it becomes that much more effective. Your IT staff will grow professionally, and your business will have an ambassador to sing it’s praises at all these professional events!
Getting the Best from Your Employee Development Efforts
Billions of dollars are spent each year on training and development programs. But employers are still unsure about the effectiveness of these initiatives.
The good news is that certain tactics can be used to maximize the effectiveness of employee development initiatives. These simple ideas can shape a company’s future, and help create a new line of leadership:
Create Individual Development Plans
Your IT department is the epitome of diversity in profession. The team members have different responsibilities, qualifications and job descriptions, so why would their development plans be similar?
The development plan is a road map for success. It details measurable goals, the time frame to achieve them as well as the resources required by the employee to make this plan a reality. Empower the employees to self-direct and control their learning. Let them take the ownership of their development, progress and contribution to the team. And then hold them to the ideals they set to themselves.
Give Constructive Feedback
Help your IT staff review the missed opportunities and give them recommendations that will help improve their careers at your organization. Feedback should be provided regularly, and it should come complete with concrete facts and data to back up your recommendations. Use feedback as a tool that promotes growth and recognizes the individual contribution of the employee, and you will see a measurable difference in the way they tackle their challenges with enthusiasm and commitment.
As a leader, you must know about the IT skills training services as well as the many learning and development programs available to your organization. With QuickStart’s help, you can stay on top of the emerging trends in the vast area of Information Technology, and upskill your IT staff to the point where they become a competitive advantage for you. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your IT training needs.