IT Employment

General discussion


User perception of IT staff as irrelevant or slackers

By Steve_IT ·
OK, here's the issue...

Our department has come under fire for our perceived "slackness" This is mainly fuelled by people seeing us coming and going at non-standard hours (not knowing the real hours put in) and the fact that we all refuse to get stressed / angry when they are having problems. We are the normal bunch of guys who happen to love and enjoy our jobs, who get along well and even management conceed we are doing a great job.

The problem is how to fix the public PERCEPTION that we are not worth our pay etc. etc.

Any ideas???

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If you really care ...keep it simple

by highlander718 In reply to User perception of IT sta ...

in all honesty in some of my previous jobs, I had the same impression about the other departments (what on earth can they be doing the whole day, how come they go for a smoke every half an hour, chat next the water cooler every hour, and having a vague idea about their work just couldn't imagine how can they fill in more than 3-4 hours a day).
No if I look at my part, there are/were days and days ... I had the ones where I was cleaning up the server room just out of bore, than the normal ones when I was running around, really working for 4-5-6 maybe 7 hours out of 8, and then there were the crisis or special project ones when I was there up to 20 hours (maybe 2-3 times a year) and some calls in the middle of the night to spice it up (at one point these were happening almost weeky).

So ....

we used to have interdepartamental presentations, discussing diferent projects, trying to get an understanding on what others are doing.

Right now, I'm at the point when I want to give my best service, the fastest possible way, I want to have everything as organised as possible, I do not care what other colleagues are doing and how long they work as long as it doesn't affect my work and as long as I get their attention when I need it. I also do not care what they think of my work schedule or how I look in their eyes as long as I stick to teh above mentioned principles :-)

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Enjoy the live

by ayugo In reply to User perception of IT sta ...

:) ... Just enjoy it... then you will fell better... trust me...

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Tell your business customers the following ...

by GlennHughes In reply to User perception of IT sta ...

You need to articulate to them 2 things.
1 - That you understand to some degree their business and what is important to them.
2 - Where IT is adding value and making the IT services better.
For example have you identified the root cause to a recurring system problem ... every month end the finance system slowed down due to all the accounting bods running month end reports so IT added additional capacity to improve performance (either permanently or when demand peaks). This shows you fixed something AND you know when the system is most important to them. Make sure it is in plain English not techie babble.
This assumes you are actually doing something productive, if you are not then you deserve to be fired anyway.

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Further to that...

by sartrains In reply to Tell your business custom ...

When was the last time that your department went to the groups that you support? Your department has the role of providing the Infrastructure that allows them to do their roles, so go and see what it that they want and not just at a managerial level, see what the guys/gals on the floor need, there may be things that are being missed that could help out your colleuges that would really help them out and increase your inter-departmental reputation

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users must come first

by efranko In reply to Further to that...

Long time reader, first time poster. I have been in the IT world for about 15 years now, mostly on the consulting side. I do agree it is important that you must have the powers at be on your side and happy but users or employees are more important.

In today's world IT is the clue that holds companies together. ALL Employees need to be able to do their jobs to keep the company going. It is the function of IT to make that happen as smooth and easy as possible, 24x7x365 if need be. If you are not willing to do that then you need a new career path Like it or not it's not 9 to 5.

If you are finding your users are not happy with the IT department then get out and find out why. I have found over the years it is crucial to talk with everyone in the company not just management. Users are more important because they are doing the lions share of the work. They know the ever day process and what it takes to do them. What better way to find out about things that are not working correctly then going to the source.

My advice after 15 years is to talk with the users. Be response to more then just problems or emergencies. Be proactive. They have a wealth of information to give. It really works.

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by SWardCo In reply to User perception of IT sta ...

Wow I have read the statements here and I think that everyone is missing the big picture here. Perception is everything (think Beta vs VHS) and if you are not managing perceptions that your "customers" have about you then you are probably exactly what your customers are complaining about. While it is true, most customers have no idea what exactly is needed to keep a network up and running it is also true that sometimes all they need is a few minutes of your time to be reassured that their concerns are being at least evaluated. Also don't confuse their ignorance about computers as if they are stupid; after all you can't do brain surgery but some people who can't boot their computers can.

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Perception is everything

by highlander718 In reply to Perception

While I used to think the same when I was a beginner in the field, now I find it sad to say that "Perception is everything". You end up caring more about perception than the actual job to be done.

My personal opinion is that the focus is the job, and if it's done properly, perception comes automatically. Or else there are users who will not care, or will have something bad to saywhatever you do.

Sorry, but your "Perception is everything" sounds more like lip service to me. Again, sorry if I didn't understand, nothing personal, unfortunately we don't have the space here for a detailed debate :-)

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Adjust Customer's Perception

by samuellthomasjr In reply to User perception of IT sta ...

It has been my experience that end-users, our customer, don't have much opportunity or reason to know who we are and what we do. If we seize the moment, and make an opportunity, to address a customer's issue in a timely manner, rapidly & thoroughly resolve their problem and do it with a happy & positive attitude, everyone wins. Seize the moment and frequently visit with your customers. They may need help with something very simple, that can be addressed as a "drive-by". It does not help ticket resolution count, but it changes the customer's perspective and surely adjusts their perception.

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Support by walkling around -getting to know the users

by charles.williams In reply to Adjust Customer's Percept ...

Your message is very important! The manner that we use to handle our internal customers does make a difference. I work in a large Community College. Since I am assigned to a fixed building with many users, I have found that by making about 3 rounds a day through my building I can be proactive with my end users. Through some brief conversation (even if it is to say Hi! ) My internal customers have gotten to know me better and items that are little problems can be solved right there while I am talking to them. This prevents the customer from waiting until it is a big problem and everyone is stressed. You mentioned the help tickets, what I do is file a ticket on their behalf for the service work that I do during my rounds. This way everyone wins! I also carry a small pocket sized spiral book to make notes with, where each service is recorded.
My Customers always look forward to see me because I don't put them down and I use humor to defuse the situation. How many of you get a call and you get to the customer's location and the customer says "It's working fine know, I don't know what happened." I always tell them that like people Computers always feel better when the Doctor walks in. I offer to make a cardboard cut out of me to scare the dickens out of the machines.
Another thing is don't be afraid to to say I don't know. then follow it with: I am going to consult with my department's experts to see if we can solve the mystery.
I always follow up and I never promise more than I can deliver.
So if you want the users to rave about your help, get to know them.
Remember, other people are our mirrors. THey mirror back to us , what we are giving them. Think positive, be positive and the smile is best way to melt the worst grouch. Always talk to the good side. Be friendly and always helpful. and finally: the solution: All computers do that when you jiggle them. Will bring a smile to most faces when you are trying to figure out a problem. I always teach how to avoid the problem or the new method for a customer to use to get the answer they expect. Don't use jargon unless it is funny and it will help them to remember what you taught them. For example, I was installing Vista and a customer was asking me about the differences they might expect to see. We were talking about software activation ( I used the example of ET ... Software phone home. I told him we have a server that handles this every 180 days. I called it the EULA server. EULA phones for us and she is efficient. HE asked me what a EULA was so I explained it to him, he thought is was funny we having to let our server phone home so 'Uncle Bill' wouldn't worry about it.
HAve a GREAT week!

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THAT's The Ticket! SBWA

by jedmundson In reply to Support by walkling aroun ...

SBWA: Support By Walking Around.
I agree wholeheartedly. I work at a small chemical manufacturing plant. I support, not only this site, but two others more than 200 miles away.

I make it a point to walk the local site every day and just check in at every office that has a computer.

Every week, I make "telephone rounds" of my two other sites (I support their databases remotely), just to check in.

I not only find that many of my users don't like to deal over the phone and just wait for me to come around.

You get to know everyone by name eventually, and they know you.

Now my problem is "How do I keep them from trying to have cannonized?"

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