Richard Branson once said “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.” If you have an unhappy employee within your business, the chances are they’re having a negative effect on your wider team. This can manifest in several ways and ultimately it creates a toxic environment, which demoralises everyone, reduce productivity and in extreme cases can cause productive employees to leave the business.
In these cases you may turn to HR to see how you can turn things around by understanding what’s causing the negative behavior. As a business owner, your team is your most valuable asset and each member should be happy working within your organization.
So, why are your IT systems like an employee?
Going back to when IT first became ‘a thing’ in business, if the computer said ‘no’ you could go back to pen and paper and work around any down time. Fast forward to today and most businesses can’t work without their IT systems being fully functional. I know that most of our clients would suffer a substantial financial loss if their systems failed and in much the same way as a toxic employee, a slow and unresponsive IT system will negatively impact your entire workforce.
This is why I believe your IT systems should be thought of as an employee with needs, rather than a cost center, which isn’t essential to the success of your business. A good example of this is with a client who had an aging IT system that had not seen any investment for over 5 years. The computers we’re slow, crashed often and generally weren’t fit for purpose. The IT system had become toxic, negatively impacting the whole team, all day, every day. Convincing the board to refresh their computers and move some services to the cloud wasn’t an easy task, because they didn’t see their IT as an employee with needs, however laying out a clear plan which highlighted the benefits made their decision less of a headache.
Moving forward a few weeks, the work had been completed the staff had been trained to use their new cloud services. Knowing their IT systems are up-to-date, fast, reliable and streamlined was a big weight of our shoulders. Within a few days we noticed a drop in support calls, our monitoring systems we’re all green, backups we’re working correctly and the metaphorical sun was shining.
This was great, however, what about the employees who had been negatively affected by the old IT system?
“Our entire team are happier since you sorted out our IT systems and I can do more work in less time” was the feedback we got from a Director of the business. Not only had the new system increased moral throughout the business, everyone who used it could do more work in less time. Sure, there was a cost attached to the new IT system but we knew that would be offset after a few months. Their new system has been in place for several month now and it’s still fast, reliable and ‘happy’. The toxic system had been assessed, the problems it had were addressed and resolved, and the team benefited in many ways.
So to look at Richard Branson’s quote from a different angle. “Look after your IT systems and it’ll look after your staff”.
Thinking of you IT systems as an employee has helped many of our clients. Give it a go! I’m confident changing your perspective will lead to a happier and more productive business.