One of the best parts of my job is that I meet a wide variety of business and non-profit leaders each week to learn how IT impacts their organization and to share my perspective. This unique vantage point allows me to hear, first-hand, the IT challenges across industries, and I can then serve as an early warning system for others.
Economic volatility, increased global competition, and rapid technological change were already on everyone’s radar last year, but then the pandemic added a layer of complexity no one was anticipating.
All these factors then led to a surprising conundrum; despite employers doing a variety of things to improve morale including pay, employee loyalty continues to decline. Could anyone have predicted a year ago that the percentage of people quitting jobs would be at an all-time high amidst the ongoing turmoil caused by COVID-19?
What role does your company’s IT play in all of this? A lot.
There are few functions that have more impact on your customers and your staff than IT. Technology touches every level of an organization and due to its 24/7 availability, its impact goes well beyond traditional work hours now. In fact, it would be hard to find an organization at the top of its field that does not also have a world-class IT structure to support its customers and employees.
Here are three important things to be mindful of as you assess your own organization’s IT mindset:
Treating IT as an expense to cut rather than an investment to nurture.
A recent Gartner study reported that finding new markets, winning the war for talent, and investing in a digital future are CEOs’ three most important goals for next year. But do most organizations actually give IT the importance these CEOs are advocating?
Two of the top three goals are explicitly tied to technology—both internally and externally. The more successful your IT services, the more productive your employees. The more productive your employees, the more successful the organization. That both statements are obvious does not make them less true.
However, like a center in football who usually only gets noticed for an off-sides penalty, IT often gets on the radar when something bad happens. The positive effects of IT are not as clear unless you systematically track metrics, compare them to best practices and tie them to productivity. The average help desk resolution time of three hours may sound good because it’s one hour better than last year, but your feelings might change if you knew that the best practice for average resolution time is a half-hour instead of three!
Another important sign is how your organization treats IT in tough times. Which budgets are cut is how the true soul of an organization is revealed. If senior leaders have done a good job of situating IT as a strategic asset, budgets will be spared. If not, IT budgets will be cut and the negative effects on productivity, customer service, and sales will bear out over time.
Focusing on security episodically not systematically.
The best time to find a job is when you have one. The best time to make your company’s IT structure impenetrable is when there is no immediate stress or panic due to the latest hacking headline.
Far too many organizations are permanently stuck in reactive mode rather than proactively building up a well-thought-out security infrastructure, delivering effective training, and conducting continuous auditing. Which kind of performance management system works best— a once-a-year formal review or monthly assessments focused on specific objectives/progress?
Well, the same applies to IT security. You can’t wait for a crisis to focus your attention. Often by that time, it’s too late.
Not understanding the crucial link between world-class IT service and employee recruiting/ retention.
No organization in the world will admit they don’t care about employee retention. But nice statements on websites are just words on a screen unless they are followed by action.
As hybrid work becomes the norm almost everywhere, how many organizations have the IT setup to ensure that problems are quickly fixed, larger issues pre-emptively discussed, and that their employees can list IT as one of the reasons they love their workplace?
Does your company have a one- and two-year IT strategic roadmap? Does your senior leadership regularly plan out ways to measure and improve productivity as it relates to IT?
When your smartest employees get the message that their IT needs are not a priority, they will think they are not a priority as well. And when that happens, it’s just a matter of time before prospective employees learn the same message.
Keep ahead of these problems and your company will be better situated for the opportunities to come. Fall prey to these issues and you will constantly be playing catch up with your competition. If you would like a free consultation to benchmark your organization’s tech services, feel free to set up a meeting or call me directly.
Gartner reference in the video – https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/ceos-see-growth-in-2021-marked-by-3-shifts/
Please feel free to reach out to me set up a quick zoom to review how MainSpring can help.