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How to make productivity a differentiator for your tech team

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Every IT leader knows that demand for technology talent remains high.

Across the UK, half of all tech hiring managers are planning to increase their headcount in the year ahead. Within certain sectors - including financial services, ecommerce and fintech - demand is sky-high. Meanwhile, the costs of hiring are significant - both when it comes to onboarding and training new employees, and losing the institutional knowledge that existing ones take with them when they move to a new role.

For IT leaders, that means attracting and retaining talent is a key strategic priority as 2024 gets underway.

Of course, with wages growing, and remote work opening up talent to offers from not just local competitors, but businesses around the world, maintaining your headcount can feel like an uphill struggle.

Part of the solution lies in growing the pool of skills available. That’s why I’m a huge advocate of programs like CodeYourFuture - which equips refugees and displaced individuals with advanced engineering skills. It’s a win-win in the best sense: those who need it most get a foot on the ladder of a rewarding career, while organizations across the country gain access to incredible new talent.

But alongside attracting new hires, what can you do to keep existing teams happy? Speaking from experience, the best developers, engineers and other tech specialists tend to be driven not by perks, but productivity and access to best in class tools.

Empowering tech teams to have an impact

Technology and IT employees tend to be your problem solvers. They want to get stuck into a challenge, figure out how things work (or why they aren’t working) and build new innovations. That requires a high-level of collaboration but it also means they don’t want to get bogged-down in processes, or lost searching for important information as they swap between their many tools.

Yet too often, our teams aren’t able to focus on the work that really matters to them. Overall, more than half of employees report being relatively unproductive at work. And that leads to disengagement, a lack of motivation and - yes - the likelihood that they will start looking elsewhere for a productive environment.

To make productivity a differentiator for your business, you need to give your tech teams the right platforms and processes to drive impact, without getting mired in admin and endless context-switching between tools. There are a few ways you can do this - and integrating your tools in a single platform is an important first step.

Rather than spending hours swapping between Jira and their email inbox, or a help desk software platform and video calls, keeping everything integrated can help tech teams to stay on top of all the latest notifications from a single productivity platform. They can even take action - for example, closing out a ticket - without needing to leave the platform. That means fewer of the headaches that come with opening and closing two-dozen windows and a hundred tabs, and more time to focus on solving problems.

Focusing on intelligent productivity

Building on those integrations, you should think about how you can help to automate certain tasks for your tech teams. That might be setting up automations to share files, invitations to ongoing meetings and access to the right communication channels for a new hire - all with a single click. Or, it could be automatically notifying a specific team member when a certain ticket is raised. Another example would be automatically gathering survey feedback at the end of a quarter. The sky's the limit - today, creating and deploying automations is simpler than ever.

All of this can be used to help your tech team spend less time on mundane back-and-forths, and more time on engaging work. In other words, it makes for a more appealing workspace.

Meanwhile, with the dawn of generative AI, this era of intelligent productivity will evolve even further - from AI-powered code reviews to more intelligent search functions that help people find key information faster.

While that means more opportunities for the engaging work that keeps teams motivated and happy, it also means businesses that don’t focus on tech productivity are likely to fall even further behind in the race for talent.

Setting tech teams up for success

Competition for tech talent is always going to be tough. To lighten the pressure on that search, you need to build an environment that doesn’t just appeal to incredible new hires, but also caters to your existing team and helps set them up to make an impact.

That starts with looking at what truly engages tech hires: problem solving, clarity over their role and an ability to move fast. By removing the barriers to these priorities, starting with integrating tools and automating processes, IT leaders can offer technology specialists what they really want: a workplace that frees them to focus on the work they were hired for.

We've listed the best iOS productivity app.

This article was produced as part of TechRadarPro's Expert Insights channel where we feature the best and brightest minds in the technology industry today. The views expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily those of TechRadarPro or Future plc. If you are interested in contributing find out more here: https://www.techradar.com/news/submit-your-story-to-techradar-pro

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