As more organisations, across all industries, are relying on technology and digital platforms, the demand for cyber security professionals has increased rapidly. However, the supply of skilled cyber security professionals has not been able to keep up with the demand, and this can affect the wellbeing of your cyber employees.
There are many influences affecting the skills shortage – an absence of interest from young people entering the job market, beliefs that certain qualifications and/or skills are required, a lack of diversity and inclusion limiting the talent pool, and assumptions that the necessary ongoing training is expensive.
Cyber security expertise is needed 24/7 365 days a year, whilst this offers flexibility for those wishing to work different shift patterns, it also makes recruitment harder if the majority of your employee target market are looking for 9-5 jobs and want weekends and bank holidays off.
The result being that extra demand, and pressure, is placed on those who are already working in cyber security. Whether it’s undertaking extra hours, feeling like they are always on alert, or not having the right tools in place, cyber staff are at risk of burning out, and potentially quitting.
With 56% of companies struggling to recruit cyber talent and 54% struggling to retain qualified individuals, recruiting and retaining the right people is an ongoing challenge and looks set to continue to be so over the next few years.
Infosecurity Europe recently undertook a twitter poll to identify which aspect of cybersecurity their followers would like to see receiving more investment, mental health topped the list with almost 45% of respondents identifying this as a priority.
We regularly talk about cyber resilience for organisations, perhaps now it’s time to talk about how we can develop a culture of wellbeing and resilience for your cyber security employees. How can we avoid team members suffering work related stress, quitting their roles, and ultimately burn-out?
Here’s our top 5 tips to reduce the risk of employee burnout, and to improve the wellbeing of your cyber team:
- Clear and prioritised action plans: when there’s ‘too much to do’ team/business leaders need to ‘chunk down’ the tasks into manageable action plans, communicating these so that team members are clear on their priorities.
- Have the right tools in place: solutions that are correctly configured, to automate processes and minimise false alerts will go a long way in helping to reduce what can be an overwhelming amount of ‘notifications and noise’.
- Develop a culture of regular breaks and downtime for rest and self care: fresh air, sunlight, gentle movement, sleep, music, laughter.. all raise the happy hormones in our bodies, and reduce the stress hormones, which by the way put us in ‘survival mode’ – and survival mode brings bad decisions, dangerous reactions, stress and burnout. Whilst rest breaks are nothing new in the workplace (they form part of our employment rights), sometimes they aren’t ‘the norm’, so team and business leaders really need to lead by example and make it happen so that it becomes part of the culture rather than just the contract.
- Encourage flexibility: whether it’s part time hours, condensed working, later starts or hybrid working, businesses really need to understand that working life is just one part of our whole life, and that a balance is needed, so that staff can lead happy and fulfilling lives both in and out of work.
- Upskill your team members: investment in individuals is a must. If you recognise their talent then help them to improve their skills – cyber, management, soft skills, all included. If you can help them to get certified, and then continue their professional development, you will have a better chance of retaining them. Yes pay scale is important, and some employees will jump ship for a bigger salary, however it is not the only consideration for many when they look at the bigger picture – culture, flexibility, and having a great boss counts too.
In the current business landscape, cyber security is a critical aspect for every organisation. The nature of cyber security roles exposes professionals to pressure and can increase work-related stress levels, making employees susceptible to burnout. However, implementing strategies to alleviate burnout and improve wellbeing can help your cyber team lead a more productive, contented, and healthier working life.
If you would like to chat with the Infosec Partners team about how how we can help to reduce the risk of cyber burnout in your business, please get in touch.