It’s time to start a revolution!

How to build a better tech team

Shayne Harris
Shayne HarrisHead of Technical Sales ANZ
A highly successful sales and business professional with significant expertise in the in the Digital, Online and IT industries over more than 15 years. Extensive experience in Sales Management, Business Development and Account Management roles as well as managing people very focussed on setting and meeting targets, customer & organisational success and ongoing individual and team development. Strong track record in complex consultative, solution based sales, capable of establishing and maintaining strategic relationships at Executive and C level in industries such as Broadcast, Digital & online, Government and Enterprise. Shayne is responsible for the technology sales with the Lenovo Data Centre Group across Australia and New Zealand that comprises the internal technical sales team and also the pre-sales solution architects in the field across both countries. Shayne's primary role is set and manage the strategic intent of the technical sales resources for the enablement and market share growth of our alliance partners and end to end portfolio. Shayne has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry in technical and sales focussed roles and holds a bachelor of Business Management from the University of South Australia.

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The workplace and the world are evolving as the digital transformation reconstructs everything CIOs thought they knew about doing business in a digital age. This evolution requires IT departments to not just add to existing technologies, but completely replace systems and revolutionise their systematic approaches to IT and technology.

But the digital shift encompasses more than technology alone. It’s becoming increasingly evident that enterprises, small businesses and individual teams can reduce costs, enhance productivity and sharpen their competitive edge by putting the right people in place to initiate and execute a progressive strategy.

 

The value of building a strong tech team

As the executor of your strategy, having a team that is motivated to achieve excellence is crucial. But when individuals find it difficult to work together or are unable to engage their strengths, motivation and morale fail.  A company’s levels of engagement, productivity and retention all take hits, too, right along with their bottom line and top rank among competitors. One study showed that companies that had highly engaged employees earned up to 2.5 times more than their competitors who lacked an engaged team. They were also more likely to retain their staff, thus decreasing replacement costs of hiring, onboarding and training a new hire.

How can you create a more engaged team of individuals who are utilising their strengths on a daily basis? By planning your team. A planned team, like a city’s master plan, is focused on an end goal. It’s built to achieve uniformity of purpose and take cohesive action. But a strong tech team is about more than technical knowledge and expertise alone. Building a better tech team is all about finding and incorporating the right soft skills to create a balance that works.

 

Soft skills are more than trending

Soft skills are the personal attributes and behaviours that have traditionally been overlooked in the hiring process but are now seen as key to creating a solid, cohesive team. A LinkedIn report reveals that finding employees with the right soft skills is a challenge for company leaders, and 58% of managers reported that a lack of soft skills was inhibiting company productivity as a whole. While your C-Level management might be stellar, without the right tech team behind you, efficiency and productivity are not on your side. When it comes to a team’s ongoing success, soft skills matter far more than technical knowledge and experience.

As IT systems become increasingly automated and Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over computing, analysis, interpretation and implementation functions, employees must differentiate themselves to stand out from the mechanical crowd—and stay ahead of AI. A tech-savvy team that has emotionally intelligent, soft-skilled members that can maintain top spot and keep your company at the forefront of the digital shift.

Build your team around these skills to revolutionise your IT department and achieve your bottom line.

 

  • Emotional intelligence (EI)

The problem with, and saving grace of, AI is that it lacks the ability to possess, recognise and respond appropriately to emotions. Yet a Gallup study revealed that only about 46% of China, 50% of Australia and 54% of the U.S. has a solid grasp on EI. An American Express study showed a strong correlation between high EI and personal excellence and workplace productivity. Hiring a tech team based on this crucial skill can create a more aware, empathetic and collaborative environment.

 

  • Communication skills

While your IT staff may spend their days working in the digital realm, don’t underestimate the value of solid communication skills. Being able to clearly communicate without the use of jargon, and to listen intently, can help keep your team focused and moving in the right direction.

 

  • Leadership skills

As IT needs continue to grow, and new technologies enter the scene, it’s more crucial than ever to have team members who are not afraid to speak up and share their views. Leadership skills aren’t limited to executives. Find people who have a voice and know how to use it to ensure that your company doesn’t get lost in the digital flood.

 

  • Prioritisation

Every day is replete with to-dos, which can leave even the savviest staff strapped for time and energy. Prioritising a myriad of responsibilities is critical for maintaining efficiency and productivity.

 

  • Cultural fit

Cultural fit is crucial to team cohesiveness, productivity, satisfaction and retention. That’s why employers are increasingly looking to see how prospects fit with their existing culture. A Recruiter Nation Survey revealed that for many employers, cultural fit is an integral part of the hiring process, often taking precedence in hiring decisions.

 

  • Growth potential and adaptability

Tech is on the rise, and your team should be, too. Versatile, innovative thinkers can help ensure that your human capital investment keeps driving returns. In an ever-evolving digital world, the ability to adapt to change and implement new, relevant solutions is crucial. IT staff who can’t evolve with the times become a drain on a company. Find those who can adapt to changing technology and culture to ensure relevant, streamlined efficiency for years to come.

 

What’s trending in the IT workplace?

 

  • AI and deep learning

AI is the face of the future, but it’s also quickly overtaking the present as companies explore new opportunities for automating their systems and achieving more accurate results across their organisations. Hiring people experienced in predictive analytics, deep learning, machine learning and AI can keep large and small businesses ahead of the curve, enabling them to tap into emerging technologies as they arise.

 

  • Immersive experience

Gamification and immersive experiences are the next waves of the future, and they are quickly overtaking the workplace and the tech world. Gartner predicts that AR, VR and MR will comprise 20% of a company’s digital strategy by 2020. Companies are increasingly exploring how they can tap into virtual technologies to streamline and enhance their internal processes while connecting with their end-users. Equipping your IT department with qualified staff who can keep VR in check and balance it out with true reality is crucial to future growth.

 

  • Security analysis

Cybersecurity is increasingly becoming a top threat among companies. As more companies move to cloud-based storage systems, Information Security Analysts see an 18% growth. Finding the right forward-thinking technologists who can stay ahead of intelligence and threats, all while communicating effectively with stakeholders and executives, is crucial.

 

  • Cloud integration

With the explosion of cloud-based systems and networks, having staff on board who can implement and manage the range of cloud-based solutions is key to a company’s ongoing success.

 

With more employees than ever quitting after only 3 years for more challenging growth opportunities, and 33% of new hires quitting after only 6 months, 78% of business leaders are trying to bridge the gap between hiring and retention. Taking the time to build a great team is imperative to achieving your bottom line—but if you can’t keep them in place for long, you’re getting nowhere, fast.

 

Creating the right team is only one stop on the road to success. Retention rates will fall fast if IT leaders don’t also focus on maintaining a healthy work environment. Building, challenging and engaging your team’s strengths on a daily basis, as well as encouraging their overall learning and growth, will help maintain your team’s satisfaction—and their presence.

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