With the sheer number of COVID19 cases now spiking up to unprecedented levels and the remote workforce now a reality for probably all of next year, the cyberthreat landscape is now becoming murkier, and more difficult to predict. With this, IT security teams are now feeling extra pressure to take on more job responsibilities and are being expected to get these new responsibilities dialed in right away.
Now more than ever, these individuals need to be kept motivated at all times, in order to deliver what they humanly can. How can this be done? This is the focal point of this article.
How To Keep Your Team Motivated
Here are some key strategies that can be deployed rather quickly and easily:
1) Create an environment of trust and goodwill:
It is one of the very basic human needs is to be listened to and heard. In many businesses across Corporate America today, there is a sheer lack of communications between the C-Suite, the CISO, and the IT security teams. This disconnect has become so bad that nobody even has a clear vision of who is expecting what to get accomplished. Well, now that we are living in a new norm, it is time to change this, and foster a sense of open communications, and assurances that your IT security team will be heard from the higher ups. There must be a two-way flow of communications established, so that they know what to expect from you, the CISO. Also, they need to have their ideas and plans heard so that at least they know that their efforts are not going to a pure naught. In this regard, it is very important that you spend at least a few minutes on a regular basis with members of your team, even if it is just a phone call or a simple video conference meeting, as face to face dialogue is the most preferred method in which to do this. Just the fact knowing that they are being listened in an honest and open format will be a prime motivator in of itself. In fact, research has shown that those employees who feel that they are getting the support from their higher ups will be at least 2X more motivated than other employees.
2) Don’t micromanage:
The very last thing that your IT security team needs is to be micromanaged. They know what needs to get done, so it is very important for you, the CISO to take a step back and let this happen. Instead of having each of your employees submit progress reports of what has happened in terms of fighting threat variants, create a chain of command. For example, break down your IT security team into different subgroups, which is captained by a team leader. They should report to this person, and in turn, they should report to you. This will get rid of the fear that the C-Suite is always watching over them, which can be a huge, constant worry, and even be detrimental to getting the job done.
3) Foster an environment of career growth:
The very worst thing you want the members of your team is to feel stifled in their current positions. Therefore, it is very important that you show you care about their professional growth. In this regard, perhaps you can sponsor them to get the training that is needed in order to pass an exam for a cybersecurity certification that they have been wanting to get. Also, try to have training sessions on a weekly basis to keep your team members current on the latest threat variants that are coming out and perhaps even provide an educational forum for them so that they can learn more about the latest security tools and technologies that can be used to combat on a real time basis. Remember, you always want your IT security team members to maintain as much of a proactive mindset as possible. You want them to take down potential threats well before even they become a real one. By showing that you are personally vested in their respective career goals and interests will greatly help to foster that.
4) Offer rewards:
One of the primary ways of motivating your team members is to offer some sort of monetary based incentive. Yes, budgets are now tight with all of the uncertainty that is currently transpiring, but even small and simple rewards will go a long way. For example, if one group from your IT security team exceeds their goals in how quickly they can react to and triage real cyberthreats, you can offer to take them out for a nice dinner somewhere, or even offer gift cards in lieu of that. Also, with working from home (WFH), those employees that are working remotely most of the time obviously need to get out and do something different. With this in mind, perhaps you, the CISO, could even offer them to get substantially reduced gym memberships so that they can work out to help relieve the stress they are experiencing. But of course, if your budget allows for it, giving out cash awards is probably the best motivator of all to show your appreciation for their loyalty and dedication to their cyber jobs.
5) A little can go a long way:
This is something that will cost you no money whatsoever: Always keep telling your IT security team about the good job that they are doing, even if something does not appear to go right. Given the sheer pressure that they are under on a daily basis, the last thing that your members want to hear about what a poor job that they have done. This will only not break their spirit, but will also cause them to take “Who cares?” Kind of attitude, which is something you do not want at all. Instead, if there is something that you think needs to be improved or made better, take the route of offering tactful, constructive criticism. In other words, instead of chastising them, say “Hey, maybe you could implement this instead of what is currently being done”. Then follow that up with a healthy dose of positive feedback. Remember, even a little pat on the back on a daily basis can ignite human motivation to degrees that even you may not have ever seen before.