Building the team
Kyle McGinty, a partner at MitchelLake Consulting, says building and keeping an enthusiastic and productive in-house IT team must always start with hiring the right people. “You have to find staff that match the particular requirements and culture of an organisation,” he says.
“They certainly need to have tech skills, but you also have to think about an individual’s other characteristics.”
Thorough interviewing is key, during which time a candidate’s personality and softer skills can be evaluated, along with their technical prowess. This ensures each new staff member will be a good fit with the organisation.
Retaining good staff
Once a skilled team is in place, ensuring it remains committed to the organisation becomes key. Simon Meyer, managing director at recruitment firm Michael Page, says many IT professionals tend to be “project-driven” and this needs to be understood when trying to improve retention rates. “They tend to join an organisation to complete a project and, when that’s finished, they look to the market for the next project,” he says. “More forward-thinking organisations recognise this and try very hard to proactively manage their IT staff into a new project.” McGinty says organisations must also strive to create a collaborative environment for their IT teams. Rather than being treated as simply a back-office function, they need to be given an opportunity to contribute to overall business strategy and direction. “Teams that are successful have a defined purpose,” he says. “They jointly agree on values and team goals together. That way there is much more buy-in and improved productivity.”
An enticing workplace
Organisations with excellent internal IT teams also understand that retaining staff and achieving maximum momentum is more than just about the size of the pay cheques on offer. Opportunities for ongoing professional development, together with workplace location and facilities also play an important role.
“The money side of things is usually around 60 to 70 per cent of the reason someone will work somewhere,” says McGinty. “The rest comes down to other factors.”
Meyer says CBD-based organisations often have an edge with staff, however those in other areas can make themselves more attractive through the inclusion of extra facilities. These could include subsidised canteens, childcare centres and on-site gyms. “Any extra benefit that an employer can provide outside pure compensation is going to have a positive effect on the culture of the organisation,” he says.