Six Ways to Help Your IT Staff Learn the Business

Big or small, every employee plays a role in business success. And the more employees understand their business, the better equipped they are to help propel business forward. In an article written for Tech Pro Research, Mary Shacklett offers six ways to help your IT staff learn the business:

  1. Put it on the agenda.
  2. Let IT staff work in a business area.
  3. Have IT develop relationships with super users.
  4. Make business education a goal.
  5. Send staff to areas of greatest need.
  6. Encourage IT staff to interact with users.

The Business Down-lowd

Devote time during staff meetings for the business itself. This time can be used for reviewing overall organizational goals, discussing recent company announcements, and maybe going over financial quarterly reports. In this way, IT staff will better understand what is currently motivating the company and be able to empathize with users more.

Next, create opportunities for IT developers to build more intimate connections with the business by allowing them to work directly with business areas or at least spend some time in them. Yes, it will take them away from their important work for a while. But when they come back, they will return with an invaluable new understanding of what users actually do from day to day.

Third, Shacklett says to have IT develop relationships with super users:

A third approach is to organize a program where key IT contributors (especially developers) get to know the “super users” in end business areas. By forging strong relationships with super users, IT staff can build a better understanding of the business while gaining super user counterparts who understand enough IT to assist in application and system requirements definition.

Sending your IT staff to seminars or self-education programs can be a more direct route of deepening their general understanding of business. Alternatively, staff can be sent to the business areas of greatest need. You can do this by thoroughly investigating backlogs and areas that have required the most assistance. It is a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.

Lastly, it will be valuable to implement a service culture in IT. This is a fancy way of saying IT workers need to look up from their code every now and then and develop their communication skills with each other. But the twist is that salary incentives should be connected to it.

You can access the original article here:

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