Tech Expert News

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An Interview with Louise Elliot, Development Manager at Leeds Building Society

Louise Elliott "I'm not sure why we want to make computers be good at things which humans are good at. I think we should celebrate the differences and work to enable computers to excel in ways which humans never could".

Do you believe a computer will ever be able to paint more technically accomplished and/or true-to-life pictures than a human?
Yes. Technically accomplished and true to life are probably things computers could be good at. Creativity and subtly conveying a message in a new and meaningful way seems far less likely. I'm not sure why we want to make computers be good at things which humans are good at. I think we should celebrate the differences and work to enable computers to excel in ways which humans never could.

In the next 12 months what is the number 1 priority for your business?
The ability for our members to interact with us through whichever channel they prefer and for an integrated experience as they shift between channels. This involves a large number of changes within our area to move us forward in the IT Strategy.

How have you found hiring into your teams?
We have been very successful with our hiring over the last year - we've filled all of our vacancies and have some really high-caliber new colleagues. In addition to this, we have an excellent team in place and I've been very pleased to have been able to promote internally for a number of key roles recently.

Have you had any issues with retaining your staff?
No. Many people within the IT department have been with the organisation for a long time and those who join don't tend to leave. In the last 18 months only one person has left my team. Engagement is particularly high in our department and the Society recently received Best Companies accreditation for the first time. Having said that there are lots of areas where we could improve and it is definitely a work in progress.

Do you have any top tips for developing a hyper productive team?
The minute you start to believe you are a hyper productive team you start to lose your productivity. The job is never done. Continuous improvement is essential; we are always looking for small changes we can make which will improve the way we work and what we achieve. It's very important to put time aside to allow these improvements to be made. Combining this approach with empowerment and high engagement is essential.

What in your experience are the most important factors to keeping your staff happy and productive?
I'm a great believer in treating people as adults. The best people to decide how to approach a problem or what tools will make a difference to their productivity are the people who do the work day to day. My job is to enable them to do that and to ensure that they have time to consider how to improve our current ways of working.

Interview conducted in 2016 for our Women in Technology Survey, 2016 campaign.