5 soft skills every IT team needs

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By Clementine Jones on

We all know that IT departments do a lot more than just keep servers up and running. But with technology advancing at light speed and customer expectations rising rapidly, the role of IT is shifting and so are the skills IT teams need to function within an organization.

And it’s not all about adopting the latest tech. In fact, new research from the Service Desk Institute shows that so-called “soft skills” like emotional intelligence and communication are becoming increasingly valuable for today’s IT teams, while previously sought after technical skills are becoming less relevant.

5 soft skills IT departments need

Because technology is now changing at such a rate that technical skills can quickly become outdated and likely won’t retain value in the long term. And with artificial intelligence (AI) changing everything about how we work, it’s worth investing in uniquely human skills that can’t be replicated by machines.

1. Communication

Sure, your service desk employees should have the right technical know-how to understand a customer’s problem and help them find the solution they need. But effectively communicating that solution to them is another skillset entirely. Set yourself up for success by sourcing IT professionals with strong customer communication skills.

2. Emotional intelligence

According to the SDI survey, 73% of IT professionals see emotional intelligence as the most valuable skill for an IT professional to have over the next 2-3 years. And is it any wonder? Working at the IT service desk often means helping customers in stressful, emotionally charged situations. And nobody wants to be treated like a number. Making sure your employees can empathize and ask the right questions to get to the bottom of the problem won’t just save time – it’ll make for a much better customer experience.

3. Failing forward

You can’t innovate without making mistakes. And the same applies at the IT service desk. Your employees should feel empowered to take initiative and try to help customers without fear of failure. Foster a safe corporate culture where experimentation, failing and learning from mistakes is encouraged and you’ll be sure to see results in the long run.

4. Continuous learning

Your employees should always be learning – whether it’s their first week on the job or they’ve been part of the team for years. Encourage and facilitate learning and development opportunities and actively source employees with an intrinsic desire to learn – your organization will only benefit from their continuous growth.

5. Agility

Agile isn’t a buzzword – it’s a mindset. Done right, agile working can make your IT department more flexible, reduce response times and eventually create more value for your customers. When looking for new additions to your team, seek out people with an agile mindset, who actively embrace change and can think on their feet.

Help your IT team reach their full potential

If you want an IT team that consistently delivers great services, you’ve got to start by creating an engaging environment for your employees to work in. Check out these 5 tips for creating a better employee experience for happier customers.

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