IT Employment

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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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SBWA at Multiple locations

by charles.williams In reply to THAT's The Ticket! SBWA

I too have multiple locations. I let my users know when I will be out and how to reach me in a hurry. They know I carry a blackberry with a Nextel push-button. Should there be a problem I can call in back up to cover for me. When walking around I may not always be able to respond while working on emergencies or high priority jobs. I always am honest with them and I let them know what I am doing. I will call them during any break in the action to talk with them further. If at any time they appear to have a problem that does require an immediate responce I will call in backup support.
WE have a small, close knit group, and we help each other out as needed, there is no "its not my area" conversations.
In the business areas the we support they always invite us to their group meetings and they rave about our work.
To be the best you must raise the bar every day. to be appreciated you must first appreciate others jobs.

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by clark1 In reply to SBWA at Multiple location ...

I also take at least 2 "walk-arounds" a day just to see if anybody has any issues. Usually as soon as I get in and check my email I go up to communications (I work in a sheriff's office) where our **1 consoles are and make sure there are no issues in house and I also ask about our units (we have laptops in all of our cruisers) to see if anybody had any issues overnight. I come in an hour before everybody else for the express reason of taking care of any laptop issues before the next shift if possible.

Some days I do very little when everything is running good, other days I have to wait till I get home for my butt to catch up with me because I was busy putting out fires all over the place, be it desktop issues, laptop issues, print issues, whatever it may be.

The key IS to walk around, talk to people, ask them directly if everything is working ok. When you do that, the end users are more comfortable telling you about the smaller issues that you can fix quickly instead of waiting until they become large issues that require a more intensive fix.

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Right On the money! SBWA Works

by charles.williams In reply to SBWA

I know exactly what you are saying, on those days where we are Working like crazy and the users see you in action and they appreciate what you do that much more!

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Wonderful Recommendation Charles!

by Wayne M. In reply to Support by walkling aroun ...

Nothing to add. Charles said it all.

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That's the way to do it

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

I do the same, but my territory is almost 250 long (and pretty much the width of the Interstate ). I make weekly or bi-monthly visits to all my stores and also make a point of asking if there are any problems.

My customer service mentor always attributed the "It's working fine now, I don't know what happened" syndrome to "technician effect." His explanation had to do with that noise your car makes until you take it to the shop.

You know you're doing well when the customers who used to seriously ask "What do YOU want?" now ask the same question to tease.

Edit: punctuation

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you need a knowledgeable manager involved

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

I've been in an odd-hour job (24/7 tech support for a major telecom) and had people working elsewhere in the same building complain about our group not keeping standard hours.
It required having a manager a couple of levels up on the complainants' side to tell them "No, they don't work 8 to 5. They often work much longer days than that. You can work the same hours if you want, but with no increase in pay for the extra hours."
The complaints stopped.

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

It is always a problem with techies since people do not know what the **** they were doing. I felt the same problem when I was still an ordinary engineer and how did I solve it? I started documenting what I am doing and created a report that I submit to all departmental managers. Eventually I became a manager and rose up the ranks and reporting and documentation has been one of my strongest assets. I even maintain a daily activty log as well as my daily log-ins and log-outs.

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Is there a grain of truth?

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

... I don't mean that your department are a bunch of slackers, Steve, but rather that the user perception could masking a genuine service issue. For example...

I've worked in a couple of companies where users tend to be early starters - in at 7:30 and gone by 4 or 4:30. IT departments are notoriously late starters (often precisely because they were in until midnight last night fixing yesterday's problem or forestalling tomorrow's.) But all these users see is people rocking up a couple of hours late by their perceptions.

And if one of these early bird users finds a worm or other bug in their PC at 7:30 and can't get a response from their Help Desk, who are still asleep at home, then they may even have a genuine grievance.

I don't know whether this is or something like it could apply in your situation. Is it worth researching? Maybe ask the other managers. Or if you really want to find out, ask your team what they've learned from the non-management users at the coffee machine/pub/gym/whatever. Scuttlebutt can be very useful - managers don't always understand their team's problems.

The more you understand the problem, the better your chance of finding the right solution. For the rest - I think user perception's always going to be an IT problem!

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Talk to the Users?

by Wayne M. In reply to Is there a grain of truth ...

Has anyone verified the users' perceptions and underlying reasons? One needs to take care not to assume why the users feel they way they do.

Though coming and going at unusual times might explain the "slacker" comment, I am not sure it addresses the "irrelevant" comment. Why do users not feel the department is helpful?

Try to have some informal discussions with the users. A series of 5 minute discussions over coffee can reveal a lot more information than a month's worth of "survey monkey" style requests. Also, realize that the department may need to change what it is doing to better meet the expectaions of the users.

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Style monkeys speak with the opinion of the writer

by charles.williams In reply to Talk to the Users?

Surveys, the bias goes in before the name goes on. The more informal the talk the greater the accuracy. Sometimes an informal donut and coffee talk can find the true path. But you first have to be trustworthy, someone who has earned their trust not someone who parrots the stock answers.

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