When IT culture changes with or without you

Summary:Are you suddenly a bad fit for your IT department?Workplace culture is one of those terms you hear HR professionals, executive strategists and job boards throw around all the time, but what it means is generally less clear--and usually depends on who's doing the talking.

Are you suddenly a bad fit for your IT department?
Workplace culture is one of those terms you hear HR professionals, executive strategists and job boards throw around all the time, but what it means is generally less clear--and usually depends on who's doing the talking. HR pros often speak about their workplace's culture in terms of selling their attitude toward work to new candidates, execs in terms of employee productivity and the bottom line and job boards to goad you into a better one, perhaps one that is a better fit for you.

However, what all have in common is that conversations about workplace culture are more often about "transforming" or changing it than embracing the status quo.

IT is no different. In a new report, Forrester interviewed 15 CIOs and 41 IT decision makers about IT culture, and signs--from an unclear IT mission to a top heavy decision-making process or employees that are discouraged from extending their skills sets--that an overhaul is needed. Though CIOs and IT leaders are advised on how to go about making big changes to their IT culture, less is said about what changes could mean for the staffers within the department.

"It depends on the nature of the change," explained principal analyst and report author, Marc Cecere. A culture change from decisions being made from a large to a small group of people might force an employee to quickly adjust the way they get things done. A change from a U.S.-centric IT organization to a global one might put pressure on a worker to adjust their schedule, and their way of communicating with customers to fit the culture.

However, the message is that the onus is on the IT professionals to adapt to the changes being made within their departments. Yet most employees have from time to time felt that the culture of their group was changing and perhaps leaving them behind. Is the only option to quietly plot one's escape?

"First you'd want to make sure that things have really changed in a way that shuts you out. Sometimes you just perceive that things aren't going your way. This is something that happens on the lower levels of the organization, where they only see a small part of the organization," said Cecere.

"If the change is not in sync with your ethics, that's one thing. But if it's about the way decisions are made, who makes the decisions, global versus local, that is not in sync with what you think it should be, consider how much it matters, or consider that you might just be dealing with what you know versus what you can learn."

Topics: CXO

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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