ChannelTrends: Using Culture and Vision to Tackle Tech Hiring Challenges

CorpCultureOne of the hardest jobs in the tech community is managing people. More specifically, some of their biggest headaches involve hiring and developing new employees. How do you find the right fit for your team?

More importantly, many companies need to evaluate their needs and ask if they’re looking for people with similar skill levels and personalities. No matter how good their existing teams may be, most businesses tend to stagnate over time as their employees start thinking and acting the same.

I know what you’re thinking: why rock the boat if it’s been smooth sailing? The issue for many small companies and even some larger firms is that the status quo doesn’t work in today’s global, internet-driven universe. You need new ideas and the ability to connect with a more diverse customer base.

That situation is occurring in Fortune 500 tech companies as well as small but growing IT services business. Most organizations will suffer tremendously without regular infusions of new talent. They need fresh perspectives and the energy that comes from bringing in and training recruits. Unfortunately, as many in the IT industry have discovered over the past few years, their success at hiring those individuals isn’t what it once was.

Despite what the naysayers suggest, great prospects are still out there. Some may not be readily accessible due to geography or may need a higher salary that many companies can afford to pay them. While emerging MSPs and IT firms may not be able to compete for the services of many skilled professionals, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to find raw talent.

New Drivers for Hiring
The challenge for many firms is connecting with today’s prospective employees. Those in the tech industry tend to rely heavily on the recruitment methods of old ‒ a classified ad in the local newspaper or sending a job description to regional colleges and IT training schools.

A more significant obstacle for some firms is their corporate culture ‒ or lack thereof. As the channel transitioned its focus attention away from tech and more on solutions for business customers, many companies didn’t make a similar leap. They still hire like it’s a break-fix world.

In other words, they create a basic job description, determine a market-suitable salary range, and notify the people who have always helped spread the word. Unfortunately, that’s no way to compete for top talent or even serviceable prospects.

Today’s job candidates aren’t always looking for the steady gig, even if the salary is respectable. The Millennial generation is driven more by experience than benefits. Is it a fun place to work, do they offer flexible schedules and will comp time be an option? Overtime is so passé.

Millennials are the first generation raised on technology. Their comfort level with smartphones, apps, and social media is high, and many prefer to work for employers that leverage automation in the workplace. Why work 9-5 if tools could help them accomplish the job faster ‒ and take more time for themselves?

Incentives such as days off for hitting sales or project milestones may matter more to some younger workers than giving them an extra $500. Experiences may matter more than cash.  

Of course, younger workers only make up part of the expanding talent pool. Companies need employees with diverse ideas and expertise, meaning they should be looking for anyone who can make a positive contribution. Veterans and women returning to the workforce, and those from different cultures.

Prospects who began professional careers in other industries deserve attention, too. MSPs have built formidable healthcare IT practices by hiring successful medical sales professionals. Former administrators make excellent business process and compliance consultants. Those with a unique understanding of an IT firm’s target audience should be considered ideal prospects, especially when the training requirements are minimal or non-existent.

Create a Positive Hiring Culture
Chances are, they don’t want to work for an IT firm. Most of today’s top business recruits are looking for a fulfilling role that offers a certain level of excitement and challenges. They will buy into a company with vision and flexibility that infuses some fun into the equation. Those are some of today’s top employment incentives, as are innovation in the workplace and individual empowerment.  

Creating an exciting corporate culture to entice recruits requires dedication. It’s not a one-time project, but an ongoing commitment to improving the workplace. The firms that get it right will be in a better position to compete for the right to hire raw talent and, when available, experienced industry professionals. Corporate culture is a true differentiator in today’s hiring environment.  

Brian Sherman is president of Tech Success Communications, a channel-related content and social media development firm. He served previously as the chief editor at Business Solutions magazine and senior director of industry alliances with Autotask. Contact Brian at Bsherman@techsuccesscommunications.com