Picking the right candidates for an IT profession is challenging in its own rite. Creating a team from scratch? That’s another task entirely. But achieving this monumental feat may not be as complicated as you think. Just as with any other effective team, building an IT staff is a simple matter of defining roles, and structure, hiring the right candidates, and giving them the freedom and confidence to build success. In this post, we’re outlining five ways to build a great IT team from the ground up.
Know Your Needs
As tempting as it may be to begin by hiring individuals based on their skill sets or certifications, laying the groundwork for a solid team begins with identifying what you need. A PHP wizard may be useful if you’re performing web development, but if your department is largely responsible for database maintenance, then a seemingly lesser candidate with a database administration background is a better hire.
Following this approach provides two benefits. The first is efficiency. Your team is fundamentally limited by the budget you’re given. This is why it’s crucial to find the right tools for the job instead of splurging on a deluxe tool set. The second is context. Much of the work you perform hiring new employees relies on adequate foreknowledge and beginning by assessing your situation is a great way to guide all of your efforts in the right direction.
Build a Structure
Once your needs are identified, it’s time to determine how your workflow will progress. Will all hardware requests funnel through your desk? Is system imaging everyone’s job or are these kinds of lesser tasks delegated to junior employees? Just as with hardware, identifying bottlenecks is crucial to optimizing your performance.
This structure isn’t limited to personnel, however. Analyzing the construction of your efforts can include everything from what communications solutions to employ to what workflow platform you’ll utilize. Take the tasks that are likely to be sent to your department, and create a system that handles them effectively and efficiently, from email to inventory.
Once you have a functioning structure in place, defining individual roles becomes the next priority. An effective team functions a bit like a clock: every piece has its purpose, the combined efforts of which amalgamate into the correct time. In addition, clear definition of responsibilities will help avoid administrative headaches and clarify duties amongst your employees.
The reason this works lies in the power of protocols. IT is an evolving occupation, operating in a particular environment for a time and then frequently adapting that environment to growing needs. Developing a coherent operating procedure for handling tasks, delegating responsibilities, and responding to emergencies will help run your department much like a computing environment: enabling flexibility, but with an eye toward best practices and standardized functions.
Hire the Right Candidates
While engineering a versatile solution to your organization’s needs sounds tidy, ultimately your efforts are enabled, and sometimes inhibited, by people. People are not computers, and unlike computers, employing the “best” hardware does not always breed the best results.
Whether a candidate has a strong technical acumen or not, their ability to work is predicated on their capacity to do so with others. The candidates you select will be working with you, eating lunch with you, even, possibly, socializing with you. Bringing on a new employee is more than just a matter of choosing the best resume, it’s about understanding the needs of your team and the management environment you’ve created, and adding the right individual for the job.
The technologies you use today may be gone tomorrow. IT marches onward based on the evolving needs of business and your team must do the same. Provide training opportunities for your employees and avoid costly turnover by keeping their minds fresh and engaged. Sometimes building a team “from the ground up” means re-defining their roles, skills, and competencies in a changing technological landscape.
IT departments, like any other team, are a complex combination of structure, agility, and chemistry. And while building an IT team from scratch can seem like a daunting task, delineating responsibilities, hiring the right candidates, and educating new (and old) hires within the context of your organization’s needs is a guaranteed way to find success. Your work will pay for itself through satisfied workers, and satisfied board members.