When most people think about the departmental structure of a business, the tech team is often regarded as the strange stepsibling. It serves a purpose — though not everyone is entirely sure what that is — and it often works independently from the cohesive family unit.
But for your businesses to lead its industry, you have to change the perception of the tech department starting from the inside. As a leader, this means communicating the tech team’s role in the company’s big-picture goals to incite their participation and unify the organization.
Empower your tech team
Tech teams are enablers; they make things happen. Once tech employees are educated on a company’s mission or a project goal, they can take that information and transform it into something other departments can see, understand, and even monitor. But your tech team can’t build a foundation of information for your business if it isn’t given the necessary tools to do so.
Many companies don’t include their tech teams in every aspect of their business, which creates a division between tech and other departments. What’s worse, tech departments are commonly misconceived as being cost centers — draining the company of resources — rather than revenue centers. But a properly assimilated tech team can be incredibly impactful in building revenue when it sees its role in helping the company accomplish larger-scale objectives.
Here are five steps business leaders should take to redefine their tech teams and maximize their growth potential:
- Establish a vision
A clear understanding of a company’s vision is vital for both departmental and overall success. Unfortunately, the tech department is often left guessing at the company’s overarching goals. Make sure your tech team can comprehend and articulate your company’s biggest aspirations. Team members should also be able to see how their work moves the needle.
- Facilitate team engagement and communication
Members of the tech team should be involved in every stage of success. Too often, companies stress the five pillars of success (strategy, methodology, technology, implementation, and adoption) but only involve the tech team in the last three pillars. Placing tech employees in executive positions at every level of business will ensure they’re involved in the strategy and methodology conversations as well.
- Incentivize performance
Tie your technical team’s compensation to performance metrics and the company’s performance as a whole. That way, members will feel invested in the end goals and be motivated to create tech that performs and improves the company.
- Embrace change
Disconnected employees might see the tech department as a burden on the company’s resources. But the progress it makes should excite employees. Help everyone understand how the tech team works and how innovation generates revenue and grows the company to shift this mindset.
- Open communication
Once all of these steps are complete, open up communication lines between tech employees and all other departments — especially those in leadership positions. Make sure any jargon or confusing language is explained so everyone can understand what’s going on.
Heightened competition in the business world has made it crucial for companies to forge a close partnership with their tech teams. Companies that align their tech teams and metrics and embrace a technology-enabled business structure position themselves to not only increase innovation and revenue but also become industry leaders.
Take Zappos, Netflix, and Facebook, for example. These companies use technology to generate revenue by actively investing in employee ideas and rewarding tech teams for uncovering bigger and better business concepts. Similarly, Wells Fargo started a financial tech accelerator program that presents tech companies with real business challenges to solve in exchange for a minority share investment.
Another great example is the Google X Rapid Evaluation team, which has given tech teams the power to discover and test new products and ideas along with the necessary time to work through the inevitable kinks and flaws. As a result of this trust and teamwork, Google X is responsible for projects including the driverless car, Google Glass, high-altitude Wi-Fi balloons, and glucose-monitoring contact lenses.
As more companies begin empowering their tech teams and incorporating tech employees into all levels of the business, new innovations and fresh approaches to business will emerge and transform the traditional business structure. As a leader, you can develop a relationship with your tech departments that will build a foundation for your entire company to solve problems, improve communication, and increase revenue.