Building And Keeping Your Team In Difficult Times

Building and maintaining an IT team is hard work
Building and maintaining an IT team is hard work
Image Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District

I’ve got a quick question for you: how is your IT team doing? Do you have all of the staff that you need in order to accomplish everything that the company is asking you to do? Has anyone left lately? Do you have any funding for positions that you just have not been able to find the right person for? I’m willing to bet that you just answered yes to one or more of these questions. Don’t worry about it, despite our IT manager skills we’re all in the same boat: not enough of the right people are currently available!

How To Find The Right People To Join Your IT Team

Can you remember back not that long ago when the unemployment rate was up close to 10%? Back then all an IT manager had to do was to tell the HR department that they had an opening on their team and the next day you’d have a pile of high quality resumes to work through. Well, unemployment is way down and the baby boomers have started to retire. It has gotten a lot harder to find the talent that you’ll need and none of us have the IT manager training that we need to solve this problem.

One of the things that IT managers need to start to consider is traveling to where the potential team members are currently living. This can happen in a number of different ways. The first is to attend industry trade shows. It’s easy to reserve a private room where you can interview IT talent that might be looking to make a switch. Secondly, you might want to plan on visiting military installations. Trained personnel are always in the process of leaving the service and they may turn out to be the perfect addition to your team.

Finding the right staff to add to your team is not necessarily a job that you should try to do all by yourself. Sometimes, this is when a staffing firm can step in and lend a helping hand. In order for this type of company to be successful, you are going to have to do your part. This means that you are going to have to provide them with a very clear description of the types of skills and experience that you are going to be looking for in candidates.

How To Keep People From Leaving Your IT Team

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to both staff and maintain an IT team that will be able to perform the work that the company needs you to do. Yes, one part of this task is to get new people to join the firm as a part of your team. However, the other side of the same coin is that you need to find ways to do IT team building and keep the existing members of your team from leaving.

Making your team a place that talented IT professionals want to remain is a constant challenge for IT managers. It requires an understanding of what the members of your team really want in addition to understanding what you can provide them with. We do not have access to unlimited funds or promotion opportunities. Instead, what we do have access to is the opportunity to present the members of our team with challenging objectives that will allow them to stretch and grow.

One of the reasons that members of an IT team give when they are asked why they are leaving is that they didn’t get any feedback on how they were doing. As IT managers it can be all too easy for us to get caught up in trying to do our job well that we forget to take the time to communicate with our team. What this means is that we need to regularly find the time to provide members of our team with both feedback and validation of the work that they are performing. By doing this we’ll be sharing with them what their career growth potential is

What All Of This Means For You

Between baby-boomers starting to retire and millennials not staying at any one job for very long, IT managers have a real staffing problem on their hands. The two challenges that they are looking at include trying to find the right people to join their team and at the same time coming up with ways to keep the current members of their team from leaving.

In order to find candidates to join your team, you may have to travel to where they are. Trade shows and military bases can be good places to find IT professionals with the skills that you are looking for. Search firms can help you find the right candidate if you can describe the characteristics that you are looking for. In order to keep your current team together, you’re going to need to present your team with challenging objectives and constant feedback. Consider how you can help them to grow their careers.

As an IT manager you need to realize that you will only be as successful as the team that you have backing you. This can be a real issue if your team has open positions on it or if current members of your team are considering leaving. The one thing that you don’t want to do is to ignore this problem. You need to take steps to both build your team and make it stronger while at the same time keeping the team that you have together.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that you should spend more time getting new team members or keeping the ones that you have?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the biggest challenges that IT managers are facing is that they are now responsible for using their IT manager skills tomanage team members who are 18-34 years old. This is the millennial generation and the way that they like to learn and work is very, very different from everyone who has come before them and we don’t really have any IT manager training that tells us how to deal with this type of team member. The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers are facing this exact same problem. The way that they are solving it may offer some suggestions for all of us.