Mention the issue of morale on TechRepublic, and members are quick to chime in and share insight on how some IT leaders and organizations have worked to combat low morale and its negative impact on staff esteem and productivity.
A discussion about a new report on morale dropping to an all-time low in the IT field provoked responses from dozens of TechRepublic members. While many cited layoffs, outsourcing, and job scarcity as a primary cause of poor morale, just as many noted that burnout and an overall lack of recognition and respect from both upper management and users can easily foster declining morale.
"In our office, when everything is working fine, no one says 'hey great job, glad to see you guys are keeping our network, workstations, phones, servers running,'" wrote Alias_IT, adding that "the only time we ever hear from someone is when something goes down…it is very frustrating to keep a multimillion dollar company running 24x7 and receive no credit."
For TechinCA, morale is a "mind game," and when reaching a low point, IT professionals need to ask themselves "'what am I doing here then.' It's like anything else in life, if you come across positive and confident your users will notice and even though they don't say it, they do appreciate you."
Yet many other members don't agree that taking a positive approach is all that's needed to keep morale on a better level. "I feel IT staff should be complimented or incentivised as much as the sale staff…give credit where credit is due and you will see your pressurized IT guys smile for once," wrote paperclip.
Several members also suggested that to gain appreciation, IT staffers need to take steps to make it happen. Rensaun's advice is "simply to pull together as a team and not to concentrate on what's going on that you don't like unless you are actively doing something to change it."
Spread the good word
One way for IT to gain recognition and make both users and management understand the department's value is to share information on what the IT department contributes to the business effort. One good approach is publishing a monthly newsletter detailing both IT's accomplishments and offering some extra value to users.
To help IT leaders and staff get this kind of morale-boosting effort up and running quickly, since time is always a critical issue, TechRepublic has developed an IT Newsletter Template Kit. This downloadable tool, priced at $14.95, offers six newsletter issues—with artfully designed templates featuring customizable sections as well as boasting hearty, useful end-user tips.
Each of the six two-page templates provides room for an IT department to include information on what's new that month, such as staff changes, upcoming networking downtime, and end-user training seminars. There's a spot for placing department contact information and detailing the department's mission statement; a user poll area; and even a profile section where IT staffers can be "promoted" with a bio and photo.
TechRepublic also provides good suggestions on other data points that IT managers might want to include in their monthly note to users, such as links to IT policies and an IT FAQ to help answer those repetitive and common user questions. Each template issue comes fully loaded with individual Microsoft Office user tips and a PC security tip. These tips are aimed at helping users tighten security on their PC as well as increase their knowledge of Office applications. The newsletter templates also offer a Geek Trivia tip from the files of TechRepublic's Trivia Geek—fun facts on a wide range of topics that users will enjoy.
By providing information to the corporate user base about the IT department's accomplishments for the month, and giving important user tips on a variety of programs, an IT manager can reap several rewards from publishing a monthly newsletter—all of which can help boost morale.
It's clearly an excellent way to show the IT team's value—a vital requirement according to JayMiller25. "Not appreciated? Well instead of sitting at your desk and avoiding everyone, why don't you get out there and show the executive team the value you've added to their organization?" he wrote to colleagues.
Grab the IT Newsletter Template Kit today and start spreading the good news about your IT team.