If you’re working for an employer in the IT industry, whether you’re a direct employer, or a consultant to a client, there are a few things you should know about them. I’m not saying “dirty little secrets” about them – just a few things to enhance your knowledge about the company, which can help you do your job even better.
1. Business Model
It might seem like a pretty basic one, but you should know what your employer’s business model is. How do they make their money? Who are their competitors? What kind of services or products do they provide? Knowing this will help you with your job and won’t make you look like a fool when asked what your company does!
2. Short and Long Term Plans for IT
Being aware of your employer’s plans for their IT department, and how it affects the company is a good thing to know. It’s useful for planning purposes, and as an IT professional, it can help you do your job better by knowing what the company wants on a more general level. It can also help you get more work, by making suggestions that match their long term plans.
3. Legal and Compliance Requirements
It’s pretty safe to assume that all companies request that you don’t break the law when you’re working for them. However, some areas of companies have tighter legal and compliance requirements for whatever reason. You’ll need to be aware of these so you can do your job correctly and don’t end up doing something that breaks these rules – whether you know about them or not.
4. Technical Knowledge
This mostly applies to the people that you work with rather than the whole company. How technical are the people that you work with? Do they know the details of what you’re doing, or do they just know it’s something with computers? Or somewhere in between? This helps you work out how to best communicate with them and find out what they need.
5. When and How To Reach Them
These days, there are many ways to communicate with people in the office – email, desk phone calls, mobile phone calls, office messaging systems, in person. Different people in the organization have different preferences for communication. Getting to know these will benefit you as you’ll get a more positive response from the people you work with.
Additionally, knowing when they prefer to be contacted is a good thing to know as well. Do they prefer calls in the morning instead of the afternoon? Do they not like receiving email after hours? This can be the case if they have a smartphone that is linked to their work email account – meaning they will get work emails at home. It’s up to you to find out these things – by either asking them directly or asking a colleague who knows.
6. Company History
It’s good to know at least a brief history of the company you work for. It’s not just used for job interviews to know who you’re going for a job with. It can be helpful when talking to co-workers and keeping up with the news inside the company. Knowing when your company was founded, who the current CEO is, when and if your company is trading publicly (and the current share price), any recent mergers or acquisitions, are all good things to at least know about.
7. Your Area’s Organization Structure
Sure, you know who your boss is and what their title is. But do you know who their boss is? And theirs? And who else reports to them? What your department is called? These are the things you should know. All the way from the CEO down to your level – whether that’s one level or ten, it’s good to know where it is in the organization. This is so you know who is who when people are being talked about, or you see their name in an email, for example.
8. General Organization Structure
This is related to the above point, but it’s also good to know what the organization structure is for your company. This doesn’t mean known everyone and their role in the organization – just an overview of what the departments are and who they’re run by. Does your employer have a marketing, sales, finance, or legal department? Who do they report to? What are the other major areas of the company? If you’re not sure about this, try networking with coworkers and other people in the office – it has great benefits too! What is networking, you might ask? Well, I’m glad you did. What networking is and why it’s used is all explained.
Well there you have it – eight things you should know about your employer. Are there any other things that you think IT professionals should know? Post your thoughts in the area below!