How to get the best from your IT staff
So, you’ve recently hired an IT person. What’s next?
As a manager or business owner, you should have high expectations from your IT staff, after all they are a crucial part of your business.
Setting expectations requires careful planning. Don’t expect new hires to immediately shift into high gear in their first few days. When you are building an in-house tech team, there are steps you need to take to ensure you get the maximum business benefit from them. Your goal, in this case, is to reduce tension, increase efficiency, and build trust with your team.
The importance of onboarding
Onboarding ensures that all new hires are properly oriented and assimilated to their jobs. It’s a crucial process you don’t want to neglect. A robust onboarding plan guarantees retention of quality staff, in this case, your tech team. Leave them on their own, and you risk either losing them early, having to start all over again or doubling the amount of time before they start contributing to the organisation.
Here’s why implementing a detailed employee onboarding plan is important:
- It shortens the learning curve, thereby decreasing the time for a new hire to become productive.
- It builds up behaviours aligned with the organisation’s goals, values, and culture.
- It improves job satisfaction and retention.
- It promotes open communication between you or the IT manager and the staff.
It’s not easy to search for the right person to fill in a tech position. And, it’s even harder to keep the good ones given the high demand for tech talents today. Needless to say, a tech team can be an expensive investment. To get more out of them, use this as a guide:
1. Set clear, specific, and realistic goals. IT teams often have lots of competing demands on their time. Setting clear-cut goals provide structure to the team. It gives them direction with clear boundaries. It ensures you are all on the same page in terms of what needs to be accomplished. Examples of tech goals you can set:
- 1-2 months – Expand and improve wireless connectivity in the office.
- 2-3 months – Develop a consistent process for scheduling and managing IT security.
- 4-6 months – Enforce secure and effective access to technology resources through use of authentication and identity management technologies.
- 6-12 months – Ensure the availability of systems through Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity planning, testing and execution.
2. Give your team good tools. If you’re stuck in legacy systems, you’ll be giving your team more future problems to handle. Sure, once in a while, people want to be challenged. But when they end up fixing things most of the time rather than innovating, they will leave you for a more technologically advanced competitor where they can learn more.
3. Provide training and development. Small business owners must also invest time and money in training their tech people to stay current and competitive. Your investment will be returned many times over in not only a more capable but also more loyal workforce. If you don’t have a budget for this, you can ask experts in your team to train junior staff.
4. Give and receive feedback. A two-way feedback system is one of the best ways to ensure continued improvement, steady progress, and better performance. Regularly provide performance feedback. At the same time, ask for suggestions where you all could improve.
5. Supplement your IT resources with a Managed Services Partner. Think of it as security. If your team suddenly leaves you, or if your business rapidly expands, having a reliable partner to take care of the critical aspects of your IT will keep your business afloat.
Why managed services?
A managed service partner (MSP) can be your IT team or a supplement to an existing one. But whichever route you take, an MSP will deliver substantial benefits to your business. The key, however, is choosing the right partner.
In evaluating a potential partner, you should consider the following:
- Do they have a knowledge of the industry you are in?
- Do they know your business, your customers, and your competitors?
- Can they deploy top-of-the-line technology to deliver cost-effective support services with minimal risks?
- Are they working with well-selected and reliable IT vendors?
- Do they provide 24/7 customer support?
- Do they have a proven track record?
Technology is one of the most challenging aspects of business operations to manage. That’s why you need to make sure that the people you have hired have the necessary skills, training, and motivation to keep your IT running like a well-oiled machine.
And, should you need the assistance of a MSP, make sure you choose the best.