As a company begins to grow, the IT department grows along with it. The importance of a functional and happy IT department cannot be overstated – these are the people who are responsible for much of your organization’s success. The IT department needs to function as a “team” in the most literal sense of the word.
If one element is out of place, everything you’ve worked so hard to build can come crashing down seemingly overnight. There are a number of things that you can do to keep your IT department happy and successful as your company continues its ascent.
Listen to Your IT Department
These people were hired for a reason: their expertise. If your IT department leader comes to you with a request for new flash storage arrays, you need to take that request into consideration. Listen to your department’s case. Allow them to explain to you exactly why the new flash storage arrays are necessary, how they will improve performance and other benefits they will bring. Keep all of this information firmly in mind when considering whether or not to grant their request. Just listening to your IT department will make employees feel that both their opinions and their expertise are valued.
Be Prepared to Change Your Management Style
When an IT department is small, each member of the team may be firmly in charge of his or her own position. That person is capable of making serious decisions that could have equally serious ramifications on the well being of your company. As your business grows, however, you need to be prepared to assign group and team leaders who can be in charge of making decisions. As your IT department grows to dozens and even hundreds of people, it would be absolutely detrimental to give each person the authority needed to make final decisions on an ongoing basis. You need to be able to identify the points where team leaders are necessary.
Keep People Involved
Just because your IT department has gotten too big for everyone to be a decision maker doesn’t mean that each member can’t have his or her say. Be prepared to solicit advice from every member of the team on a wide variety of different topics. Send out surveys, for example, to get informed opinions on a particular product. Allow for product demonstrations to keep each individual team member in the loop, even if he or she isn’t a team or group leader. Both of these methods will go a long way towards maintaining a high morale and allowing employees to feel like their opinion matters.
Keep your eye out for IT employees who are excelling in the jobs that they’ve been hired to do. These people should be at the top of your list for advancement throughout the company. Advancement, when appropriate, can help not only keep employees happy but also get them to work harder as they’ll likely feel that their hard work hasn’t just been noticed, but appreciated.
A growing company brings with it a wide variety of different leadership challenges, especially when it comes to the IT department. By keeping your eye out for and anticipating change and reacting responsibly when it happens, you can make sure your IT department is as happy and as productive as they were on the day they were hired.