Cultural change in the IT organization


From tech geeks to IT superheroes – inevitable cultural change in the IT organization

Blog: Linda Nummelin and Kirsi Kemi

The expectations towards IT professionals are growing: instead of mastering one specific technology, more and more IT professionals should become agile learners with multiple domains of expertise and great interpersonal skills.


This trend can be seen also in Finland. Organizations in different industries from manufacturing to financial services are all facing major disruptions in their core business areas. None of them can ignore the need to become more innovative, agile and digital. This is where IT organization can seize the opportunity and earn their value as business enabler.

We are living a time of high economic growth in Finland, and the job market for IT talent is scorching hot. Not surprisingly, according to our latest CIO survey, 64% of the Finnish CIOs state that it is challenging to find talents who can master both the technical as well as the soft side of IT work.

Cultural change is all about integrity

On one side, organizations have high hopes for recruiting IT superheroes with wide skillsets, and on another side the employees are seeking for jobs that are motivating, engaging and providing growth opportunities. In order to tackle this two-fold challenge, we should focus on the culture of an organization.

Corporate leaders need to take culture change seriously. It must mean changes in behaviors, living up to the corporation’s values and walking the talk. If the IT organization’s ways of working are closer to the 90’s than 2018, the culture cannot be changed simply by ordering hoodies to everyone and claiming to be “agile”.

The talent has the power

The IT workforce – especially in a small country like Finland – is well aware of different company cultures, and they do make career moves if their expectations are not met. A great example is the Finnish game industry, where employees from different companies have a monthly get-together attracting hundreds of people to meet over a beer and discuss what is cooking on the industry. These gatherings are not an official place for recruitment, however many who consider leaving their current job might find their future colleagues during these evenings. Getting information on which company pays well, which company provides learning opportunities, and which company provides autonomy (something that many programmers value) is easy to get simply by mingling around and discussing with people.

How to develop organizational culture?

The good news is that the game is not lost. Every organization (and their IT departments) have their own culture, and these cultures are constantly changing. The CIOs and other leaders have a choice: they can actively work on the culture to make it better, or they can ignore it and let it evolve to whatever direction it may go. In the latter case, the culture most likely shifts towards something that is not desired, and the results are usually high turnover, demotivated employees, poor productivity and bad quality.

The best way to approach culture development is to combine quantitative analysis with qualitative insights that have been collected e.g. by using design thinking methods. It is important to understand both “what is our current culture like” as well as “what kind of culture do we want to build and promote”. After understanding the current and desired cultures, it is possible to design and apply the needed changes. However, there is no single “dream culture” for an IT organization, and instead it is important to understand what it is that make your culture unique and irresistible.

If you are a CIO or a leader of an IT organization: Are you ready to take the first steps towards building a sustainable culture where your employees will cherish? Take a look at our CIO survey 2018 report and contact us if you are interested in hearing more about how we can support you with your change journey.

The author works as a consultant in Deloitte’s Human Capital Service area, with experience from traditional industries as well as the Finnish game industry. 

CIO Survey 2018

Visit Deloitte Insights to read more about our Global CIO Survey

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