In a slow economy, IT departments often tend to scale back new initiatives, cut projects and just maintain the necessary functions of the business in effort to limit expenses. However, such measures can drain employee morale and be highly counter productive to the success of your department.
A critical component of surviving, and even thriving, in a downturn is to protect employee morale. Let’s face it, when coworkers are being let go and budgets cut, remaining employees are at risk of wasting a lot of energy worrying about their own job security. Here are some tips to set a proactive course of action towards maintaining employee morale and preserving the productivity of your IT department.
1. Keep the lines of communication open wide. You don’t want employees in the dark over the current status of the business, or constantly looking over their shoulder wondering if their jobs are secure. Face-to-face communications is best to keep employees in the loop, and remember to spend as much time listening as you do talking.
2. Focus on new initiatives that improve productivity, eliminate waste and further align IT objectives with the business. Looking ahead to new opportunities keeps people busy and optimistic.
3. Establish rewards for ingenuity, particularly those that save the company money. Encourage thoughtful risk taking. Nothing kills creativity faster than fear of failure.
4. Continue training and employee development programs. These don’t have to be costly. Consider training offered by vendors or training provided by your own employees.
5. Encourage your IT department to keep current. Even if software, system or equipment upgrades are not in the budget this year, staying on top of the latest IT tools to consider in the future will help employees keep their eyes on the horizon.
Morale and productivity go hand in hand. Protect the morale of your employees and you will help to ensure your IT department remains productive through difficult economic times.