Georgia works to improve IT personnel management

As Georgia starts to hire its next generation of IT staffers, state leaders are changing the way they manage their employees.

Like many other state IT agencies, the Georgia Technology Authority is in the midst of a wave of retirements. As Chief Operating Officer Dean Johnson starts filling those openings with young professionals, he hopes to provide them with a roadmap to their future careers in state IT.

But rather than showing new employees an org chart, Johnson said he’s trying to help new hires understand how they can move “laterally as well as vertically” within his agency.

“We’re giving them the flexibility and creativity to learn new jobs and being able to get involved in projects and programs that maybe takes them a little bit out of their comfort zone to not just determine how they’re going to move up in the company, but maybe take some time to find out what their niche is and what they’re interested in doing as part of their career,” Johnson said at the National Association of State Technology Directors’ annual conference in August.

Johnson noted that his department now offers more teleworking opportunities, with some of his employees working remotely up to three days a week.

He added that the state is trying to restore some programs that might have fallen by the wayside in recent years to help the new workers acclimate to the IT environment. In particular, he hopes an increased emphasis on training helps new employees feel confident that they can do their jobs effectively.

“For some time with the downturn in the economy, things like training sort of went by the wayside,” Johnson said, “We make sure there’s money in the budget for each and every employee to get the training they need to either keep their credentials or make sure that they’re continuing to have the skills and capabilities they need to do the job”