One emerging trend currently weighing on the minds of IT decision makers is Quiet Quitting. The phrase, now popular in mainstream media, refers to a phenomenon where employees ‘opt out’ of their workplace and stick to the basic minimum to conduct their jobs, disregarding good corporate citizenship and leaving innovation and creativity at bay.
While Quiet Quitting relates to all corporate employees, it has implications considering the growing IT skill gap. With the exponential growth and adoption of digital transformation, enterprises are finding it harder to fulfil their skill requirements and implement new processes effectively. This brings an urgent need for organisations to free employees from maintenance tasks and develop their IT expertise to reduce risk and open their capacity for innovation.
In any large, modern organisation, IT typically has two main functions. On one hand, IT is responsible for maintaining day-to-day IT operations. On the other, IT is a source of innovation, working with business leaders across the organisation to accelerate programmes that establish differentiation and find new sources of value. As an IT leader, you naturally want your team to be focusing their time on these more innovation-focused projects and less on “keeping the lights on”.
Since the initial pandemic lockdown, there has been a higher dependence on digital platforms and a broad shift towards cloud infrastructure. This is placing heavier demands on IT due to the need for a new set of technical skills to manage the complex data requirements of multi-cloud environments.
As a result, some of the tasks that IT professionals must perform are tedious in nature, repetitive and outright unsatisfying. Think, for example, of the task of backing up data.
In today’s world, IT administrators must ensure backup policies are updated in multi-cloud environments. This requires running backup jobs at different frequencies, checking and relaunching jobs, and ensuring new workloads are identified and backed up. The pace and scale of these tasks is only increasing with the growth of data, data sources and data destinations.
So, what risks does this pose?
Firstly, there is the issue of employee engagement. Post-pandemic, employees are increasingly questioning their purpose. IT staff, tasked with leading the transition to digital during lockdown, experienced an exhausting period of long hours and higher workloads, often leading to a feeling of burnout. For many this has caused some disillusionment, as they find themselves being drawn away from the more exciting side of IT. Left unaddressed, quiet quitting can easily develop into formal resignation.
Furthermore, the shortage of talent poses more immediate risks for the security of an organisation’s data. The rapid process of digital transformation has broadened the exposure of many organisations towards risks such as data loss and ransomware. Without adequate IT resource to manage robust implementation and testing, as well as ongoing vigilance towards emerging threats, the risk of errors and shortcomings expose IT environments to potentially costly risks.
Failing to support IT through these current challenges can have serious consequences for enterprises, exacerbating staff disengagement and aggravating the skills gap already plaguing the industry. It is crucial we think about what IT departments must go through to keep up with the demands of the multi-cloud environment and digital transformation to better divert their focus to exciting projects of innovation at the forefront of the technology frontier.
For IT leadership, addressing the issue requires a hybrid approach that combines a ‘softer’ focus on employee engagement with a more technical-focused strategy to address the root of the problem.
On the softer side, IT management should empower and encourage staff to take on a more prominent, consultative role within their organisation. This means elevate staff to a level where they can replace administrative tasks with more innovative projects, in turn helping them to feel motivated and engaged. It also requires training for employees to teach them the new skills required for digital transformation.
On the technical side, an opportunity exists for IT leaders to explore how new technologies can automate the “drudgery” within employees’ roles. One specific area is data management.
We at Veritas have developed the concept of Autonomous Data Protection; where those mundane tasks are automated and supported with Artificial Intelligence engines, so the backup would practically run itself, requiring only human supervision. This autonomous capability runs across multi-environments and multi-cloud with a centralised management pane, allowing IT teams to supervise the automated work.
By implementing an autonomous data management platform, IT leadership can alleviate the pressures that staff are going through. Standardising resources enables them to reduce the tooling required to manage a multi-cloud environment and gain control of data regardless of where it sits. This helps to enhance the efficiency of data management and reduce the risk of human error that can occur due to understaffing.
Quiet Quitting, like any enterprise trend, will normalise as employees acclimatise to the new, hybrid way of working. Increasing engagement among IT teams, however, remains a long-term focus as enterprises seek to innovate and explore the opportunities of digital transformation.
For the individual, this means allowing them to work on projects that create a sense of purpose, where they feel that what they are doing is making a bigger contribution to the organisation. This purpose drives engagement; engagement drives job satisfaction; job satisfaction drives productive and creative people. It is important that leadership support them to rise out of the menial tasks and give them the opportunity to find this purpose.
For the business, increased available resource will help to close the skill gap by retaining and attracting talent who are keen on investing their time on purposeful work. It will also allow organisations to enhance their security posture through automation and increase their competitiveness in the marketplace through innovation.
The battle for talent starts with finding purposeful work and purposeful work can be achieved by automating mundane tasks through available technologies. If you are struggling with the issue of staff engagement and are interested to find out how autonomous data management could support your IT teams, then get in touch with our team. We would be happy to discuss a solution tailored to the needs of your organisation.