How to Make Your Company the Best Place to Work in IT

Each year, Computerworld surveys IT employees to find the Best Places to Work in IT. What’s the secret sauce of the top 100 U.S. companies on the list? IT leaders share their insights and advice.

How do you help your IT employees thrive? What type of IT culture fosters innovation? How do you drive IT excellence?

We asked some of the companies on Computerworld’s most recent list of Best Places to Work in IT. Here’s their advice for making your IT organization one of the best, too.

Create a Culture That Incubates Talent

Leadership Advice from Zebra Technologies CIO Deepak Kaul

 

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Deepak Kaul, CIO, Zebra Technologies

Building a great IT organization comes down to developing the right talent by incubating it in a healthy organizational culture. Our leadership team does this by nurturing basic values such as collaboration, respect, innovation and agility.

As we put a lot of effort into selecting talented people, it is very important for us to enable growth and progression. We continuously calibrate our teams and provide timely feedback to our staff. Every quarter, our senior IT leaders meet for a day, and identify our high potentials and high performers. We collect feedback, match people to new opportunities and create mentoring and development plans for our people.

We have a learning culture. Our people are curious, and they get excited about innovation and learning new and emerging technologies. We invest in their development and have a liberal policy towards both skill development and self-development.

Our leaders try to keep energy levels high, consistently. Four things that come to my mind are:

  1. We try to create purpose. We show them how IT work is aligned to company strategy, and we have an important role in moving our company forward.
  2. We collaborate and align plans with our business partners. We are cross functional enablers and are connecting the dots for various business units.
  3. We create a sense of urgency. We underscore the importance of our work and why it needs to be done with high quality, on time and within budget.
  4. We recognize achievements. We take every opportunity to thank our people. There is an amazing sense of fulfillment and pride, when end users start using the process or technology that we develop.

Envision How You Want to Grow

Leadership Advice from Southern Company EVP and CIO Martin Davis

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Martin Davis, Executive Vice President and CIO, Southern Company

Begin with a vision for what you want your technology organization to be and how you want it to operate. From there, take the steps required to transform that vision into reality.

For Southern Company, we want our technology organization to be known as one that builds genuine relationships with employees through constant communication, meaningful work and investment in their well-being. Our employees appreciate the job stability historically provided by our industry and the opportunities they receive to work on meaningful projects—many involving the latest technologies.

We empower employees to pursue professional growth and career development along both the technology and managerial paths. We challenge our team to explore opportunities or assignments outside of their core discipline to expand their skillset. In doing so, not only do we prevent any feeling of being “stuck” in any one position, but also this cross-pollination of ideas and personnel makes us a motivated, stronger and more knowledgeable organization.

At Southern Company we stress that how we do our jobs is just as important as what we do. Four core values, which we call Our Values, guide every decision we make to ensure the best results for our company, customers, communities and shareholders:

  • Unquestionable Trust: Management fosters a respectful and inclusive work atmosphere.
  • Safety First: Our technology employees value that we provide a safe work environment.
  • Superior Performance: We ensure they understand how important their performance is, not only to the overall business, but also to our ability to improve the lives of many Americans by providing the clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy our customers depend on to live, work and play.
  • Total Commitment: Our employees do their best work because they believe in our vision and are committed to executing it.

Bolstered by this shared company culture, the technology organization maintains a strong sense of community. Combined with our collaborative and respectful environment that promotes employee recognition, our willingness to invest in our people and technology has resulted in our organization having one of the highest average employee tenures across the company.

Expect Constant Collaboration and Innovation

Leadership Advice from VMware VP of IT Jason Conyard

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Jason Conyard, VMware VP of IT, Colleague Experience and Technology

The extra magic sauce for our great IT organization is our CIO Bask Iyer encourages, even expects, constant collaboration and innovation. He has absolutely no tolerance for people being self-absorbed. It’s about the team—how we work and deliver together.

He has a high tolerance for taking risks and failing. He expects us to use our intelligence but not be afraid to try things, fail, learn from that and then try some other things. I could show you a road of debris of things we’ve tried and failed, but from that you would equally see jewels of things we’ve been able to achieve and accomplish because we haven’t been afraid.

Underlying all of that, there is a sense of trust, collaboration, support and teamwork. I’m one of the VPs that reports to Bask, but my peers engage my staff and the people that report to me as equally as they do their own teams, and they encourage me and each other to do the same. If something occurs in the security domain, and I need help, I don’t go to our CISO. I go to his team. If he needs something from my team, he doesn’t come and find me, he goes and finds them. That culture permeates across our whole IT organization, and it’s something that we try and nurture.

Really, our great IT culture is a result of VMware’s culture as a company. That openness, that collaborative nature at VMware is fundamental to who we are.

Innovation—the most precious commodity in IT for the next decade—is fueled by diversity. The most innovative IT teams will be those that embrace a culture in which all employees feel free to contribute ideas.

Bask Iyer, VMware CIO and GM of Edge Computing and IoT for Dell Technologies

Take Advantage of Unprecedented Opportunities

“With the industry’s race to digitize the business, there’s never been a better time to be a CIO or IT leader,” says Bask Iyer, VMware CIO. IT makes an unprecedented impact on the business and will continue gaining strategic value to the business.

Now is the time to bridge skill gaps, embrace new ways of working and to drive radical culture changes in order to grow and prepare your IT organization for even bigger responsibilities and more advanced technologies. Now, it’s time to make your company one of the best places to work in IT.