Communication: Why it’s essential for IT leaders

It’s no secret that effective communication is essential for business success.

However, this goes beyond just having a flow of communication within the boardroom and among employees. Having open dialogue is important in all aspects of business and especially within IT teams and for IT leaders.

While communication has previously not been viewed as a necessary attribute for those working in IT teams, the rise of remote working and sophisticated cyber attacks has changed this. Effective communication is a fundamental skill that every IT leader must possess to succeed in today’s fast-paced and technology-driven workplace.  IT professionals are now responsible for more than just security, overseeing business compliance, operational efficiency and growth. Taking on this larger role is propelling IT leaders to the forefront of businesses.

Below are examples of just some of the areas IT teams are using communication to succeed in their roles.

Resourcing requires communication

Across businesses, more feedback from employees is being collected and used to inform business decisions including IT resourcing needs. By communicating with employees and asking questions about how the IT team can better support them, IT leaders are able to understand whether employees understand and use the technology and process in place and if not, what more is needed to improve job performance. Through communication IT leaders can identify areas where they need to invest team and company resources.

Furthermore, once this has been identified communication is necessary to be able to pass this knowledge to and work with different departments within the business to streamline processes and enable productivity among employees.

For example, once IT leaders have confirmed employee tech needs, they can work with the procurement team on buy-in for required software. This will ensure a company has software which will be utilised by employees using it and not just what technology has been deemed useful only by those with a seat in the boardroom. The importance of this has been highlighted in a PWC study which found that while 90% of C-suite executives believe their company pays attention to people’s needs when introducing new technology, only about half (53%) of staff say the same.

Security risks are better understood

According to the latest data, UK organisations experienced an average of 788 weekly cyber attacks across 2022, marking a 77% increase from 2021. Often employees are the weakest link in an organisation’s cybersecurity defences, falling victim to phishing scams, social engineering attacks, or ransomware threats. A cyber attack can cost businesses their reputation and have financial repercussions, so it’s essential that IT leaders are able to educate employees about cybersecurity risks and best practices through clear communication.

To effectively educate employees, communication concerning cyber risks must be easily digestible and understandable to even the least tech-savvy employee within an organisation. Complex topics must be broken down into simple, clear, actionable steps for employees whether that be through visual aids, interactive sessions, or hands-on training. Employees must be able to identify unsafe emails and understand that links shouldn’t be followed and files not opened unless from a trusted source.

Alongside being able to identify an attack, it’s important that employees understand the risk to the business of a potential cyberattack. IT leaders must be able to communicate the consequences of a data breach, such as financial loss, reputational damage, and legal liabilities to increase awareness and highlight the need to report anything suspicious to a member of the IT team.

Every employee plays a role in maintaining the cybersecurity of a business and IT leaders must be able to make this clear.

Adoption of new technologies and policies is smoother

More and more business decisions are now driven by technology, which means that IT leaders hold an increasingly important role in shaping an organisation’s overall strategy. These leaders are needed to clearly articulate the benefits of implementing new technologies and highlight the risks associated with not addressing technological issues and unmet needs.

 Having stakeholders understand the need for new processes and technology enables a smoother transition for IT leaders and employees. By bringing a human element to technology and making sure the program, policy, or technology under discussion is part of a broader, internal discussion is critical for adoption.

In today’s business environment therefore, IT leaders are not only responsible for implementing technology solutions, but they are also required to collaborate with various departments to align technology strategies with overall business objectives. This requires them to communicate effectively with other stakeholders, including senior executives, project managers, and end-users increasing their visibility and role within an organisation.

About the Author

Eric Johnson is Chief Information Officer at Momentive. Momentive (NASDAQ: MNTV), maker of SurveyMonkey, empowers leaders with the insights they need to make business decisions with speed and confidence. Our fast, intuitive experience and insights management solutions connect millions of users at over 300,000 organizations worldwide with AI-powered technology and up-to-the-minute insights, so they can shape what’s next for their products, industries, customers, employees, and the market. Ultimately, our vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.

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