When it comes to IT staffing, how attractive is your company? Technical staffing experts have learned that it takes more than a great paycheck or a standout perk to gain the best talent. In this blog post, HT Staffing’s Senior Technical Sales Director Cheryl Miller offers advice on how to think like a technical recruiter, giving you a leg-up on IT staffing in the areas of work flexibility, compensation, innovation and training, and management.
The concept of work flexibility has been a technical staffing focus for many years. As workers have started to use smartphones and tablets to stay connected to work around the clock, the logistical ability for employers to offer true work/life autonomy has increased. The major hurdle now is attitude. Work flexibility depends greatly on the behaviors and attitudes of management.
“If you offer autonomy, you’d better deliver on it,” says Miller. “Too often, a company will attempt to make work flexibility a part of corporate culture, while hiring micro-managers who are neither capable nor willing to honor that promise from the ground up.”
Perks Versus Compensation
A ping pong table at work is fun, but not at the expense of a great paycheck. You may not be able to offer the best of everything, but don’t over value one type of benefit over another: a balanced compensation package is important. That includes balancing a competitive wage/salary with fun perks (yes, the ping pong table and catered lunches still matter, as we discussed with the Austin Business Journal recently).
Take into account changing values as well. There was a time, for instance, when stock options were coveted. Now, health benefits are a better selling point, in many cases. Consider putting emphasis on the benefits that your employees want.
“It seems that the most widely attractive packages have different levels (single versus family coverage) with a slight focus on catering benefits to the demographic of the target employee,” says Miller. “The best way to do that is to ask employees what they want; what’s important to them. And if you have great benefits, publicize them as a way to attract IT talent. There’s no sense keeping it in your back pocket until after the hire.”
Innovation and training
It’s easier said than done, but having a culture that supports professional development is imperative to attracting top IT talent. IT employees have a need to be informed and competent with all of the latest software and hardware in their respective verticals. By assuring that your employees receive up-to-date training, you will reduce turnover and increase loyalty.
“Employees aren’t necessarily looking for you to cover all the costs and time for professional development,” explains Miller. “But they are looking for ample support and encouragement to pursue it.”
Just as important to structured training is time to “play around” with innovation. Some of the greatest companies in the world discovered this long ago. In 1974, Art Fry of 3M invented Post-It Notes during his “15 percent” paid time off the clock that continues to allow 3M employees to innovate whatever and however they want. Remarkably, the program launched more than 60 years ago in 1948. It has since been modeled by Google (giving birth to Gmail), Hewlett-Packard and dozens of other innovation-based companies.
In a recent IT hiring survey by Dice.com, 64 percent of the technology-focused hiring managers and technical recruiters that responded say their companies or clients will add new IT workers starting this month. That’s a lot of competition for good talent. Miller asserts that the single most important way to attract and keep great IT staff this year comes down to a sparkling personality: yours. In other words, the person hiring needs to look inward.
“When it comes down to it, you (as the boss) are why they came and you are why they’ll leave. It’s a near certainty,” she advises.
Miller recommends keeping one very basic skill in check: charm. Make sure you’re charming in the interview…and long after. Also, going back to a trait mentioned earlier, micro-managing will not serve you well. Some of the best managers are those who lead from behind, allowing the individual employees to shine. Forbes.com recently highlighted other, strongly related attributes managers should heed based on some troubling statistics including these: More than 70 percent of employees surveyed don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer, while more than 40 percent don’t respect their direct supervisor.
Share your thoughts with us. What companies do you think “get it right” when it comes to attracting the best and the brightest IT talent? What do you think is their secret for success?
Image: © Yuri Arcurs | Dreamstime.com