The modern office. What does it look like? Do you still have a dedicated workplace or can you take your laptop and sit wherever you choose? Do you even go to an office at all? Perhaps you take advantage of the sunny weather by working on a park bench? Or seek out your favourite coffee house in the winter months? Regardless of where you work, one thing’s for certain; the workplace as we know it, is changing. And in more ways than one. What are the implications for your IT department?

IT departments do a lot more than simply keep servers up and running. They actively contribute to the success of the business. Innovative technology such as SaaS, however, is making technical expertise less important.

So, what skills are essential for the modern IT Department? According to Forrester, soft skills such as communication, innovation, and flexibility are becoming increasingly crucial. Precisely the same skills that are required to enhance employee experience.

Soft skills team checklist

The focus is clearly on soft skills. Below is a list of 9 indispensable soft skills for ensuring that your IT department is fit for the future.

Communication skills

  1. Customer communication is of vital importance. Source team members who can effectively communicate solutions to your customers.
  2. Highly knowledgeable employees are worth their weight in gold. But not if they keep all that knowledge to themselves. Or worse: if they leave the company. Facilitate knowledge sharing, with each other and the rest of the organization.
  3. Empathy is essential. Are your employees able to empathize with their customers? Do they understand what the customer wants? And why they want it? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then your team plainly exhibits the requisite levels of empathy.

Innovation and creativity

  1. Foster a safe corporate culture where experimentation is encouraged. Making mistakes is okay, provided you learn from them.
  2. Promote outside-the-box thinking. This empowers employees to devise innovative solutions and design bespoke apps customized to customer requirements.
  3. Help your employees to develop, learn new skills and perform research into new technologies within their discipline.

Flexibility and thinking on your feet

  1. Source team members that possess the necessary flexibility and can cope with changing circumstances or expectations.
  2. Make sure that your team is abreast of the latest technology and its implications for your organization. That way your department is ready with an answer should questions arise from the business.
  3. Ensure that your team can recommend the right apps and readily explain how to use them. This will enable your customers to benefit from the finest ecosystem in which to perform their work.

Adding value to the business

You now know which skills are indispensable for your IT department. But what else can you do to increase your value to your business?

  • Recruit business-savvy staff. Such employees understand precisely how your IT department can deliver added value to the business.
  • Align your team objectives to those of the organization.
  • Select employees who can see the bigger picture. Employees who look beyond their own IT island have a better understanding of what the organization needs.
Highly knowledgeable employees are worth their weight in gold. But not if they keep all that knowledge to themselves.

Keen to learn more about service culture?

Read one of our other blogs about service culture:

Or download our customer-centricity e-book.