The past 12 months – with the harsh working conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic – have proven the importance of keeping people engaged and supported. So what’s the best way to build an IT organization that people love to work for in the long term? Four digital leaders give us their best advice.
1. Give your staff a sense of empowerment
Tarah Lourens, Director of Product and Technology at Rightmove, says the key to creating an organization that employees love is making sure the right building blocks are in place for success. Above all, this means giving people the autonomy they need to fulfill their roles effectively, while having the influence to go beyond their day-to-day tasks.
“The team is empowered and authorized to do what they feel. No one in the company says “you have to do it like this”. It’s up to us to help define the right approach. We work closely with everyone in the business, and everyone has an opinion that is valued, ”she says, referring to the way her IT department works with the rest of the business. “As a technical team, we play an important role in the experience you have as a customer, which for a technology organization is very exciting – and that’s something few companies can really do. say. “
According to Tarah Lourens, a few other elements contribute to worker satisfaction. According to her, these factors – which focus on the environment and the goal – are often “hygiene factors” for executives looking to keep their talents. However, this does not mean that the provision of these elements should be taken for granted.
“You have to offer things like a very nice office, a very informal environment, a very low hierarchy and little politics; we are not exaggerating on structure and processes. And then the other important thing is to have a real purpose as a business, and to create a philosophy that people can buy into, ”she says.
2. Find new ways to stimulate communication
Rich Corbridge, CIO of Boots UK, has developed his techniques for fostering engagement during his career as an IT manager. According to him, companies must constantly focus on their employees: “treat them like people, keep them engaged, keep communicating”.
Rich Corbridge uses a series of techniques. Every Friday he has a session called “Can you give me two minutes?” “. He sends a note before these meetings, which asks: what did you do this week, what are you going to do next week, and what is going on? “It’s about celebrating successes and giving insight into what we’re doing in IT – some videos, some written background and guest speakers,” he explains, adding that among the speakers Recent figures include Boots UK parent company Global CIO, Walgreen Boots Allliance, Company Chief People Officer and Global Head of Microsoft Retail.
It uses another technique – known as “golden time” – which was developed during the pandemic, but which could also continue into the new post-pandemic normal. During this hour, employees can spend quality time with their peers. “They do whatever they want: they can go for a virtual walk or have a beer with a colleague, but they do something with their colleagues. The goal is to avoid conversations that talk about work, ”he says.
3. Seek to continuously improve working methods
Gary Delooze, CIO of Nationwide, says his organization focuses on psychological safety, which is making employees understand that they will not be punished or humiliated if they voice their ideas, concerns or mistakes. “The ability for employees to feel they have a voice is really, really important, because not only does it motivate them to actively contribute to the team, but it also means they feel they can contribute more broadly to the team. the company’s agenda, ”he defends.
Gary Delooze says his organization worked with Jonathan Smart, a business agility specialist, to implement some of his ideas around a concept known as “Better Value Sooner Safer Happier,” a business-driven approach. results aimed at continuously improving working methods.
This approach, he says, helps Nationwide IT professionals feel that the work they do individually relates to the larger purpose of the organization. According to Gary Delooze, if you can make that connection, then it is much easier to make people feel engaged and empowered.
“It’s really about how to bring all of these ideas together, like Agile or bringing together execution and change,” he says. “If you do those kinds of things, then the pressure and the stress drops because the teams get to a pace that allows them to do well and successfully. “
4. Let people know that their work is important.
Chris Porter, vice president of talent acquisition and matching at BP, says the organization and structure of a business are crucial to creating a sense of well-being and belonging.
Chris Porter believes the recent BP reorganization has helped reduce segmentation and bring people together across the company. “I think it’s very important to focus on our goal. So we have our ambition, and achieving it collectively is very powerful. I think there is something important in having a shared goal and a collective vision, ”he emphasizes.
According to him, another crucial element in creating an organization that people love is to make sure that the company provides the right tools to employees and empowers them to accomplish meaningful tasks: “How do we get out of the way? out of their way, so they can show us exactly what they can do ”.
Finally, Chris Porter says that great leadership is a critical factor when trying to build a happy and successful organization. “I think we really need to focus on that within BP – we’ve done it, and we will continue to do it. And it’s not just the leaders who run people, it’s everyone; everyone is a leader, it’s about “how can you really help us shape our future”. And I think with this common vision and goal that we have now, everything becomes a little easier. “