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Senior Director CIO Office in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
I was in a company that sold electronic components when it launched an e-commerce platform for the first time. We saw some competitors starting to set up these online platforms to execute transactions, so we decided to set up a work team. We sent them to a different site about 15 miles away from the corporate headquarters and told them, “You don't have to follow any of the rules. We've never done this before, so figure out what you want to do. You're not bound by anything that's going on here.”

For team morale, they had a huge fish tank at this site and they would take turns feeding the fish. When it was time to come back to corporate headquarters, they wanted to bring the tank back with them. The facilities people said, “No way are we putting a fish tank in here. You can tell them no right now.” It became a cultural jousting match, but we didn't end up moving the tank and the team was pissed. It had become the symbol of their freedom and we were taking them back into the corporate fold.

This e-commerce project wasn’t an IT-inspired idea. It was a competitive requirement and we recruited people from the IT group to support it. But the IT people that we put on that team had the greatest sense of job satisfaction that they’d ever experienced in their careers. Every morning they would have a scrum meeting where the marketing people would show them where sales were made on the e-commerce site the day before. The IT folks would then make coding changes to the site. They felt so viscerally engaged in the business process of selling the components, whereas the rest of the IT teams were three steps away from those transactions. The rest of the IT group was just in the background, helping the people that help the people that sell these products.
2 Replies
VP, Information Technology in Consumer Goods, 10,001+ employees

People are more engaged in what they're doing when they can see the real world results instantaneously. There’s a company out of Denmark called Bang & Olufsen that makes TVs that cost as much as a car. If you go into their production line in Denmark, you could ask anyone what their part was and how that linked to the next person, and the next person and so on. They had the highest staff engagement of any business in that country, even with the lowest wages, because everyone knew that they played an important role.

Managing Director in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

Everybody wants to have input and likes to hear the feedback when their input is accepted and utilized in the operation or development of something. They may like the role they have, but when we can gain everybody's input and then be able to acknowledge publicly that a time-saving idea came from this person at the help desk, for example, that really adds to employee satisfaction.

Vice President for Information Technology in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
My staff have been more engaged when we’ve pursued interesting new endeavors. For those projects you could say that we're doing this because it's forward-looking, and that’s more meaningful to people than maintaining something because it's been in use for the last 22 years.
1 Reply
CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

Not only do you have to sell your business on your strategy, you also have to sell your people on your strategy, including what isn't part of your vision. If they can buy into the fact that you have a plan and that you're trying to take them somewhere, even if the direction is not 100% defined, it's a lot easier to get that buy-in and gain momentum to move forward on deliverables. Hyperion was probably the best company I ever worked for because everybody was aligned to what the company was doing. They were vested in the stock price and it felt like that company was in lockstep.

CIO in Education, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
There are people who are happy with the status quo, but most people want the opportunity to do something new. When we talk about the Great Resignation and why people leave, besides pay, the two biggest things that come up are mobility and growth. People who are at the help desk don't want to be there forever because they feel like that's a thankless, dead-end job. The hope of being able to do something else is imperative for those folks. You'll lose good people who have valuable skills for your organization if you don't offer them the chance to do something different.
Senior Director Of Engineering in Services (non-Government), 51 - 200 employees
I don't think it's necessarily the new technologies that increase staff engagement but rather actually engaging your staff increases staff engagement.  What I mean is soliciting feedback and acting on that feedback is important in ensuring staff stays engaged and feels they're input drives change.  When bringing new technology into the fold, staff should be able to voice concerns and be a part of the research process so they are actively engaged every step of the way which increases the likelihood of successful adoption of the new technologies since they're input was taken into consideration every step of the way.

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Without a doubt - Technical Debt! It's a ball and chain that creates an ever increasing drag on any organization, stifles innovation, and prevents transformation.
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