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3 tips for improving IT team engagement

Learn three ways to increase engagement and productivity during the workday, particularly among IT teams.
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Remote and hybrid work was once rare, but in the post-pandemic world, it's becoming the standard for many employers. While remote work delivers several benefits, there are a few bugs in the system that IT teams need to sort out, including increased levels of workplace stress, burnout, and overall dissatisfaction.

One recent Gallup survey found that only 21% of employees are engaged at work. Unfortunately, lack of workplace engagement is an industry-wide problem that IT teams aren't immune to. This is concerning for organizations because all companies rely on IT professionals to support every aspect of organizational infrastructure.

[ Consider these 4 simple ways to boost team engagement. ]

While some leaders may think a weekly team video call will eliminate engagement problems, that's not true. The workplace trends impacting dissatisfaction at work are far too pervasive to be solved with quick, simple fixes.

IT leaders can thoroughly and smoothly address their team's hindrances and return to business as usual. With that in mind, I'll suggest three methods you can use to increase engagement and productivity during the workday, particularly among IT teams.

1. Connect teams with focused conversations

In the era of remote and hybrid work, ensuring teams can connect instantly throughout the workday is essential. However, remote and hybrid workers spend hours each week navigating among chat, email, and other communications and messaging apps.

To reduce the time spent searching for answers, teams need to have more focused discussions on messaging platforms, just like they'd have in person. The easiest way to do that is by taking advantage of threaded conversations, which provide a dedicated space for one topic of conversation without sending notifications to other people. In other words, threaded conversations ensure that main channels aren't filled with side conversations that distract the rest of the team.

But threads aren't just beneficial for busy channels. Employees can also use threads within direct messages with colleagues. This approach ensures there isn't any confusion about who's handling what problems and which action items may need to be prioritized.

[ Get 10 resources to make you a better communicator. ]

For IT teams especially, it's essential to have a dedicated channel when a crisis occurs. This channel keeps critical information from being hidden in the clutter of a team's everyday conversations. Admins should program this channel to automatically post incident reports and statistics once problems are resolved.

Companies must consider who will use the systems when searching for a messaging platform. For IT teams, it's important to find a solution that's customizable and fits seamlessly into their everyday workflows. This can help decrease the time employees spend searching for information and help cultivate better communication within teams.

2. Create autonomous processes

Professionals in all industries use checklists to visually represent what they've done and what needs to be addressed. But one person's sticky note checklist can't be seen by someone else, especially on remote teams. Lack of visibility into a team member's checklist can be especially disruptive when multiple people are working on the same task. To help streamline this process, IT teams can create a playbook.

Playbooks are checklist-based automations that streamline repeatable workflows, such as incident response. Team members can also create their own playbooks that only they can see. For example, a personal playbook could be an end-of-the-week checklist everyone on the team can use. Team members can also create playbooks and invite colleagues to use and edit them as needed. An example of a team playbook would be a list of what needs to be completed on a project.

[ Learn best practices for implementing automation across your organization. Download The automation architect's handbook. ] 

Teams can use playbooks for more than tasks; they can also be used to set personal and group reminders. Some vendors offer playbook options that go hand-in-hand with other products, which helps streamline workflows by reducing the number of software tools the IT department needs. Along with assisting employees in staying up to date on what they're working on individually, effective playbooks let employees see what colleagues are working on across the organization.

Creating well-documented workflow orchestration can play a big part in setting your team up for success. Using playbooks to increase visibility allows IT teams to work together effectively by keeping them aligned and bringing more efficiency to workflow execution.

3. Stay organized

Another way to build a more engaged, effective team is by adding project management capabilities alongside messaging and playbooks. IT leaders can streamline their team's processes by creating an easily accessible drop zone for all tasks and events. This is possible by using applications that allow IT workers to create "boards" where they can organize their work. Boards help get all team members on the same page by allowing them to configure lists of events or tasks that can be repeated and customized for IT teams to use over and over again. These tasks will help orchestrate a predetermined workflow that, in turn, streamlines every part of the workday.

Teams of all sizes can use boards to give members information they can consume at their leisure. This decreases the amount of unnecessary messaging and makes asynchronous collaboration a breeze. No one wants to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for information across several platforms. Boards serving as a central collaboration space can solve this problem.

Creating a board where everything lives and can be customized to support unique workflows helps teams align on common goals by offering clear instruction, context, ownership, and communication.

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Streamline communications to increase engagement

It's no secret that IT teams are incredibly busy. Not only are they the backbone of every sector of every company, but they also have to put out fires daily and respond to incidents rapidly. By streamlining communications, organizations can increase IT engagement while decreasing the volume of workplace stressors and preventing burnout. It's an easy way to solve what's become an incredibly complex problem.

Topics:   Collaboration   Leadership  
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Corey Hulen

Corey Hulen is CTO & Co-founder of Mattermost, an enterprise-grade messaging solutions for the world’s leading organizations on a vibrant open source platform. More about me

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