5 ways to be more attractive to IT Professionals
IT professionals are a can be particular. They have their own way of doing things. The nature of IT also attracts people with certain personalities. This is a generalisation, but there are some things you can do to make yourself more attractive than the average company for IT Professionals.
Have cool technology/gadgets
Cool is very subjective. In this case, it means new. IT Professionals love to be exposed to the latest software or newest hardware. When we talk to each other, we brag about working on stuff with stupendous amounts of memory, or the fastest processors. We also love systems that lets us do things quickly and efficiently. It makes our peers that use workarounds jealous. Companies that have these new technologies tend to take their IT serious. Nothing screams “we don’t really value IT” like archaic hardware and software that should have been replaced a decade ago.
Your IT Department is not located in a basement (dungeon)
Most IT Professionals do not want to be stashed away in a windowless basement. Just because you might have equipment there (less likely in the Cloud era), doesn’t mean your IT staff need to be there. Don’t buy into the old anti-social cave dweller from TV. If you were going to leave IT alone to their own devices, there might be some appeal. Let’s face it, that won’t happen. So why should they suffer in the basement? Let them enjoy the sunlight and feel like valued members of the team. Just have a system to stop people walking up to them expecting instant fixes without even logging a ticket…we don’t like that.
Allow flexible working hours and working from home
Aside from front-line support roles, it doesn’t really matter when IT professionals get their work done. In fact, you probably prefer it if they do major work out-of-office hours. You expect them to suffer the downside of this, why not let them enjoy the upside? When possible why not let them avoid rush hour? If they’re working on a project with key resources in a data centre, let them do so from home. I guarantee they have more than adequate internet connections (Internet speeds are checked before local amenities when considering a place to live).
Pay overtime or at least time off in lieu
Implementing suggestion number 3 mitigates the need for this. If you can’t/won’t allow flexible working, then at least consider overtime pay or time off in lieu. It’s a small way of showing appreciation for the sacrifices (time with family, social life, etc) IT Professionals make. It also has the second benefit of reigning in managers. Not all work needs to be done out-of-office hours. Some managers will ask for the work to be done out-of-office hours just to err on the side of caution. If you have overtime or time off in lieu, they must justify the request. They are immediately aware there are consequence to their demands.
Provide training or study time towards certification
An IT Professional needs training in order to advance. Certification is a big deal to IT Pros. Allowing IT Pros to study and paying for exams shows a commitment to their development. You also get a better trained, more confident employee. If you still have doubts think about this:
CFO: “What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?”
CEO: “What happens if we don’t and they stay?”
If you practice these suggestions, you will attract, retain and develop an IT staff that helps the business grow stronger. IT will continue to become more important as the world embraces technology. You should do everything you can to be a welcoming environment for IT Professionals. Your survival might depend on it.
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