For businesses outside the tech sector, managing an IT team presents a number of unique challenges. You want to be sure you’re providing the tools and information that this critical team needs in order to function at peak efficiency while also drawing them in and making them an important part of your office culture.
Even if your business doesn’t operate within the technical sector, your IT team is an important part of your overall functionality, and you want to be sure that you’re managing them as well as possible.
Step One: Know What You Don’t Know
Chances are, your IT team is filled with individuals who have skills that you don’t. They’ve spent years in school, or working on certifications, or diving in with fields of study that simply haven’t impacted your personal needs. For this reason, it’s important that you understand the areas of expertise claimed by your tech team – and know what you don’t know.
You can effectively manage a technical team without vast technical knowledge yourself, especially if you follow these key steps. I worked with the CEO of an international software company who didn’t even know how to add an image to an email. It didn’t stop him from building a multi-million-dollar company, though.
Let the existing members of your team participate in interviews for new team members. They likely have a better understanding of the specific skills needed to work in your office, and they will know what questions to ask and what red flags to look for.
Listen to the advice of your team when it comes to adopting new technology. They keep up with the latest trends in their field and can provide more effective advice about the tools that will be most effective for your business.
Let members of the IT team participate in discussions about ongoing challenges or other measures that need to be taken in the office. Let them shape critical technical decisions and processes. They’ll help you to make better decisions and they’ll appreciate the stock you place in their expertise.
Step Two: Move Team Members into the Right Roles
When you’re dealing with your IT team, one of the most critical responsibilities you hold is ensuring your they each hold the right roles. Get to know the members of your team! Each of them has a unique set of skills, interests, and specialties. While they should all be able to fill certain basic functions within your environment, you should take a few key points into consideration when moving team members into a new role or assigning roles for a project.
What are the team members’ unique skills? What is each one good at? When you understand what your team members are good at, you can better place them in a position that will enable them to do the best possible job and draw real satisfaction from the role they play in your business.
How do your team members interact with one another? Are there members of the department who work together better than others? What skills are the members of your tech team interested in expanding?
You may not always have an expert in place for every aspect of a new tech job. By choosing the team members who have the closest set of skills, however, you can increase the odds that your project will go the way you want as well as decreasing frustration amongst the members of your team.
Step Three: Offer New Tools
IT specialists love operating on the cutting edge. They like playing with new gadgets, testing out new technology, and learning more about the latest advances in their field. That doesn’t mean that you have to adopt new technology just for the sake of moving forward with something new. In fact, it’s often practical to wait until some of the early testing phases of the newest technology pass through before jumping in with them – but it does mean that you should endeavour to use practical technology advances effectively throughout your organization.
When you look for the newest technical advances in your field, you can help keep your IT team excited and engaged.
Step Four: Provide Adequate Compensation and Benefits
Many non-technical companies struggle to offer the level of compensation expected by tech experts. If you want to manage an effective tech team, it’s important that you provide them with industry-standard compensation and benefits that will encourage them to stick with your business long-term. Tech professionals are looking for reasonable health insurance, tuition reimbursement or help attaining new certifications, and a paycheck that’s not significantly below the industry standard.
If you’re struggling to keep team members in their jobs, consider how you can change your salary and benefit offerings to help improve the odds that they’ll stick around. Make sure to carefully consider how much your tech team offers the company as a whole. You can’t run effectively without them, and that means that you need to provide adequate support to the team that’s so critical to your success.
Step Five: Clearly Define Company Expectations
Different companies have different expectations for their technical teams. In order to manage yours effectively, make sure that you provide clear instructions regarding your expectations. Make sure the team knows:
- What projects or items take priority. For example, if they’re in the middle of a big technology roll-out, should they put that on hold to deal with a CEO who’s struggling with their laptop?
- What procedures are in place for handling help desk tickets and other areas of concern. Is there a ranking system? Do some employees in the building take priority over others?
- How do you handle system updates?
- What procedures are in place for managing technology throughout the building? How do you handle upgrades? What’s the process for requesting new equipment or for retiring old equipment?
When your tech team knows exactly what’s expected of them, they’re better able to perform daily tasks throughout the workplace, and that means that, as a rule, the entire day will run smoother.
Managing your tech team has several unique attributes compared to managing others throughout the building, but the keys remain communication, respect, and understanding. The better you understand your IT team, the better you can work with them – from shifting them to the roles that are right for each member of the team to integrating their ideas and opinions into the company structure.
By showing them respect and appreciation, you’ll also build their respect for the company, which will make them more likely to stay with you over the long haul.
To see how ServiceTree helps you to manage your team and build a positive company culture, reach out today.