Landis Consulting Group has surveyed dozens of companies about their IT staff augmentation challenges. In this article, we focus on five of the most common and detrimental errors made while hiring or managing your IT staff.
Not showing IT staff how they impact the customer
The temptation when bringing a new employee into any company is to set them off on a series of technical trainings or an immediate dive into projects that need attention. Unfortunately, during onboarding too many employees don’t get a proper introduction into how their role impacts the end customer.
Why does it matter? Studies show that when staff members understand how the contributions they are making impacts the lives of their customers, they are more likely to be motivated and focused on excellent work. That bit of extra awareness can mean a 20-30% bump in productivity and an urgency to excel.
How can you avoid it? Include a training program during the on-boarding process which helps new IT staff see how their work impacts customers. For example, if you manage an IT department for a retail organization and train new staff, show them how customers feel when they get stuck in a checkout line because the credit card network is down. Help them understand their management of an efficient IT system reflects upon the customer’s experience, which in turn improves customer satisfaction and increases sales.
Waiting too long to augment your IT staff
Many companies we speak to are in a rush to fill a new position ASAP! Yesterday! (Imagine alarms ringing in the background). Usually it’s because they have waited too long to pull the trigger on finding new talent.
This is extremely common, but it can have a negative impact on your ability to remain competitive. When you are in the midst of a big project, it can be difficult to find the time, and even more importantly, the talent you need to get the job done. Often that work is pushed on employees that are already at capacity. Other times, there is a skill set missing which goes without notice until the project comes to a standstill.
Why does it matter? In the worst-case scenario, you could find important projects grinding to a halt until you can identify the staff that you need. That process can take months to complete, and in that time productivity is lost, deadlines are missed and the competition may pull ahead.
How can you avoid it? Review your current team’s capacity and compare that to today’s workload versus future projects. How much more can they handle before the work needs to be divided? Second, as soon as you ascertain you’ll need additional help, start looking. Top talent is hard to find and working on other projects, so the sooner you start the process the better. You’ll have a much better chance to secure the talent you need, when you need it.
Overlooking the actual levels of service required
Advancement in information technology isn’t slowing down. Constant change comes along with the thousands of new SaaS, IaaS, and other technologies sprouting up. Every new technology vendor wants you to think that their product is extremely easy to use and low maintenance, but be warned. A transition from one system to another may take a lot more time and resources than you are ready for.
Why does it matter? Both internal and external customers are relying on your IT service delivery to run smoothly. We’ve all seen the riots that can happen when systems go down. But that drama can be avoided if service levels are properly assessed per customer requirement.
How can you avoid it? First, establish a change board or group of people in your company who can review the risks and rewards of implementing a new technology, as well as the necessary staffing requirements to fulfill them. Second, assign a responsible person to the task of planning the implementation of the project. Encourage them to account for staff augmentation if necessary. For that service to function flawlessly, what do you need and who do you need? Ask these questions on the front end to avoid any service level agreement breaches and most importantly, ensure the satisfaction of your users..
Holding back when management changes hands
No two executives are alike. The last one may have been of the old and aging mindset that viewed IT as nothing but a cost center. Investing in new technologies or new IT staff was not an option. However, if there is a change in management, that might not be the case.
Why does it matter? Sometimes leaders are afraid to speak up and share ideas with their superiors if the last one was harsh or lacked vision. Perhaps you’re all overworked. Maybe customers are unhappy. Maybe there are serious security issues that could take down the company if not addressed. While the old boss might have shot down your suggestions, the new one might not.
How you can avoid it? Remember that your job is to support and enable your internal and external customers. The best way to improve your relationships with the business is by understanding what they need and also the best way to provide it. In some cases, that could mean bringing in new technologies and talent with the right skills. Make a list of all the initiatives that weren’t funded or shut down in the past, and make them known. She or he might just approve the next big idea. You have nothing to lose!
Putting software ahead of people
We’re in the middle of a digital revolution, where technology dominates each sector of the economy. Yes, there are some amazing software tools out there to increase productivity and customer experiences. But, we’re also going through an important new shift, where the focus needs to be on the people. Consuming more and more technology isn’t the answer to stay ahead. Its enabling your people to accomplish more with technology. Moving the right people to the right roles to fill the gaps is often the solution companies need most..
Why does it matter? Take for example a weak supply chain process. You might spend weeks or months researching vendors and implementing robust tools and applications, spending exorbitant amounts of money in the process. Only to find out (when it’s too late) you don’t have the right talent on your team to manage it.
How can you avoid it? Consult with an expert to conduct a true workforce assessment on your team. Develop a RACI chart or some other system of attributing service level needs to individual employees. Once you have every activity assigned, conduct a review of employee skill sets and see how well they match up against your project workload. If a skill-set or proficiency is missing, you now can see clearly where training or staff augmentation is required. Spending the time proactively to match tasks to manpower can save months of inefficiency.
Landis Consulting Group
Landis Consulting Group helps companies in the Pittsburgh region with their IT staff augmentation needs. We have the best professional network around. That combined with our world-class screening methods make Landis Consulting Group the go-to IT staffing service in western Pennsylvania. Learn more about our services here.