Most employees who work in the IT and cybersecurity space have found the past few years to be a struggle.
Constantly evolving cyber security and network threats, new malware attacks, and the emergence of zero-day exploits have had an overwhelming impact on their state of mind. Playing the endless game of whack-a-mole against the constant barrage of malware attacks and IT issues can do that to you.
Being overworked and fatigued should not be a normal part of the routine – but it has become the norm, in fact, it is expected.
Heightened stress, anger, fatigue, and frustration can have devastating consequences for employees and it is simply not sustainable. At its worst, the extreme stress can result in employees leaving the industry entirely.
Your employees may be getting burned out if…
- They feel stressed out at the mere prospects of work
- It takes them longer to complete their assignments
- Their sleep patterns have been disrupted
- They find it harder to concentrate on their job despite having years of experience.
Although factors like increased compensation employee benefits can boost morale, there are various things you can do to prevent burnout. Let’s discuss 8 of them below.
Strong IT Leadership
IT leaders have a duty to persuade staff to think long-term and understand the consequences of inadequate quality of work. Although most IT professionals have achieved technical expertise, the leader of the security group should communicate their risk profiles to employees, especially if they are inadequately staffed. They must ensure that the risk is manageable by employees.
Addressing these risks may require focusing on skills such as communication and prioritizing soft skills.
Improving the Hiring Process
IT leaders should improve their hiring process to attract and retain high-quality talent. Try to seek talent that can demonstrate results compared to years of experience, previous employment, or place of education.
This strategy is particularly effective because it opens up your candidate pool and allows people from all walks of life to enter the IT space.
The recruitment process should be particularly effective when hiring someone to fill the role of an IT manager. Selecting the wrong person for a managerial role can affect productivity levels across the board. As a rule, all IT team members should be fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses.
Cybersecurity teams are now expected to stay active round the clock with minimal rest. We celebrate the stories of employees staying up all night and saving the day. But this mindset is exactly what leads to burnout.
If you don’t want more people to leave the industry, this approach to work has to go. This means that managers must allow their employees time for family, self-care, and exercise.
Work/life balance can also be supported at an organizational level. For example, shutting down a few days before the holidays can allow employees to spend more time with their families. Or, you could offer flexible scheduling to accommodate an employee’s preferred schedule. It is also important to be transparent during the hiring process and inform candidates about the demands of their new role.
Empower IT Teams with the Power of Automation
The only way to stay ahead of the constant barrage of online threats is to empower your IT teams with new tools and processes. This is possible with the help of automation and to work smarter.
For example, organizations should implement innovative technology to match their talent. This also means providing ongoing training as and when new tools are added. This also provides security leaders with the opportunity to teach employees how to manage anxiety when responding to security breaches.
In addition to this, your responses after a security incident also play a vital role. This also means arranging a seminar or workshop for stress assessment so that teams can work on managing their mental health.
Ongoing Training for IT Security Teams
A training program provides IT security teams with the opportunity to strengthen their skills. This helps ensure that everyone on the team is up to par and can perform their job day in and day out. With regular training and development, weaknesses can be turned into strengths and employees can excel.
These improvements will also affect the productivity of employees, which in turn, can increase the organization’s efficiency without having to spend copious amounts of hours dealing with an IT problem. Training can also be extended to areas that include work ethics, safety, and human relations.
Moreover, these programs can equip IT employees with leadership skills and open up the pathway to climbing the corporate ladder. Implementing a training program also helps employees feel valued and that the company is invested in them. This will ensure that your teams remain confident in their skillset while being capable of managing large-scale implementations and business solutions.
Minimize False Positives
While automation can improve cybersecurity solutions and protect digital assets, it can also be a source of stress if not implemented correctly.
Automation can help organizations automate several aspects of their cybersecurity, including real-time log management, network analysis, data aggregation, and threat mitigation. They can also be designed to alert IT teams when new anomalies in the system or network are detected to be dealt with right away.
However, it isn‘t uncommon for some of these threats to be false positives. These false positives can lead to loss of productivity and burnout from team members as they rush to protect their company.
The best way to prevent false positives is to continuously fine-tune your cybersecurity solution and upgrade your technology tools to ensure that the teams can stay focused and respond to real threats that need their attention.
Talk to Your Employees About Burnout
Due to the complexity of IT issues in business environments being part of an IT team can be a source of constant stress. Over time, this stress can result in lower productivity and poor performance of the security team, leading to increased system vulnerabilities and data compliance problems. Ensuring that your teams are rejuvenated and relaxed as much as possible is vital for ongoing success.
This means you should promote vacation and downtime for your IT teams, especially after rolling out large-scale projects or averting a security threat.
Consider Teaming up with an IT Partner
It’s hard to predict when you’ll need the help of an IT expert and certain technical issues may fall outside your IT team’s billable hours. You could have cyber incidents that require immediate attention, but no one is available to handle them. This is why it is a good strategy to work with an IT partner and cybersecurity experts to provide constant ongoing coverage to your organization.
The goal should be to find a trusted IT partner that can fill any gaps in your team.
Wrapping Up – Develop a Work Culture Against Burnout
IT managers and leaders need to remember that their behavior will have a direct impact on their team. Their attitude and approach to work will be replicated across the organization. So if the IT manager is feeling burnout, you can bet that the rest of the team isn’t doing too well. An effective way to prevent burnout is regular communication so that IT managers can understand what’s going on with their workers and how they can respond to minimize problems before they escalate.
Fortunately, preventing burnout is highly doable. You just have to take the right approach.
To learn more about IT, cybersecurity, and how you can prevent burnout among your teams, please feel free to contact us here.