The choice in software companies, networking sites and digital solutions available are increasing at a rapid pace. Constantly boosted by the spotlight of new advances in machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), language recognition and, well, much faster websites with more options and features baked in. Not to mention, the new social media platforms, fun and interactive technology on the web and all this recent talk about Web3, makes starting (and growing) a technology company of your own, no easy feat!
In this Fetcha insight, we’ll break down the five challenges we’ve seen, when it comes to our clients building and retaining their own dream teams. A challenge made even more difficult by the constant growth and variety in specialised positions.
Where to begin
As business owners, you’ve seen it all. The headache of setting up, raising funds and turning your ideas into real, organised and practical applications/products/services, to sell on to your customers. You might be building up a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, ready to release a unique and intuitive software solution to your targeted audience. You might be looking to become a challenger in an already saturated market, rivalling businesses that have already gone through those early-stage teething pains.
As a specialist recruiter for a variety of businesses, across multiple sectors, we’re often exposed to the ‘underbelly’ of challenges that our clients face. One of these being the way in which businesses hire, grow and retain their tech teams. Below, we’ll be looking specifically at the top five we see, day to day, and how you can combat them effectively.
1. Preparation is key, hybrid is the future
Being open to the fact that potential employees know nothing about your business is top of our list. As a business owner or HR specialist, you know the business, the team, the culture, the objectives. You live it, you breathe it, everyday. But when you’re looking to grow, putting out the ‘feelers’ through social media, job sites and direct messages, the people you’re contacting are likely to know nothing about who you are!
Make it easy for them to find out. Make your touch points (website, socials, job listing pages) easy to find and explore. Make links to your about page, company insights, culture areas, mission and vision statements, all accessible through your emails and messages. It may seem like a waste of time, adding in new links and flooding these potential recruits with what some call ‘over’ information. But, if they like what they read, you’ll be surprised at how many will click, explore, and make that first impression. Make it count.
Wrapped into the prep work above, we see that having the option of hybrid work as a necessity in 2023. Covid-19 (and it’s variants) are hopefully, for the most part, behind us all. But with Covid came the flood of remote working options which have remained and lingered well after the isolation periods. It won’t go back to how it was, so embrace the fact that the people you need for your team would expect a degree of hybrid, when contemplating joining your company. Did you know? 84% of the employees who worked remotely due to Covid 19 say that they prefer to have a mixed working culture of working from home and at their work location.
2. Finding the right fit
The second challenge ties in closely with the first, but we’ve seen it have a huge impact on retainment of staff across a range of our clients. Once you’ve built up your brand/business image, and have successfully interviewed and hired the right team, you now need to practice what you preach. Did you know? 38% of tech workers cited that they looked for other opportunities due to taking a role and not doing what was in the job application.
Matching the expectations of your new employees will be a constant game of cat and mouse. You’ve agreed with them their role, their responsibilities, and they’ve seen your mission, vision and future goals. Be transparent with any changes as they reach week one, week three, month one etc. Hold in-person meetings so you can quickly see if things aren’t going the way they planned or if they need further challenges, assistance or general guidance.
Always remember that they’ve been brought into your business by what you’ve stated in interviews and what’s available publicly on the world wide web. Remain true to that and you’ll see new members not only stay with your growing business, but flourish, making the role their own. Dream team.
3. Make the experience memorable
A nice easy one for you now. Place new members in ‘pods’, groups or areas in your office where they’ll get the most guidance, instruction and energy. You might look to place new starters close to their line managers or within a skill group that’s a closer fit to their specialisation. This can really help with the natural onboarding when an employee is settling in, ensuring they’ll get the most out of those first few months and be primed to carry on with you. We recommend checking out the FDM group article on assigning your workers to agile pods.
You’d be surprised how something so small like this can dramatically affect your retainment rates. Saving you thousands in costs for onboarding, training and salary (should they leave after a poor experience). The tech market is very competitive, with new startups and their ‘green money’ sprouting everyday. Give your team an onboarding experience and first impression adventure which keeps them with you, not looking for the next best thing.
4. Prioritise the workload
A heavy workload, or over working, leads to burn out. We know this, we’ve all been there. As a business owner, you’ve most likely come to accept that as you work to see your business grow, you’ll be working some very intensive hours, day and night. This mentality will not trickle down to all your team. Now there is some leeway here. When hiring high level positions, such as C-Level, there is an expectation that they will likely be working beyond their contracted hours. At least in the early days when all systems are go!
But for other, entry or mid level positions, there will be an expectation that they work only what they’re contracted to work. For this reason, having a strong, well formulated plan in place before they start, will ultimately help you keep them below that burn out level. Beyond that, a well thought out plan eases them into your business, prior to them becoming self reliant on different projects. Make sure they know who they can seek guidance from and be overly communicative during the early days, to reinforce the fact that they have help when needed. If you need some guidance prioritising, we suggest you check out this 5 min read by the folks over at IFP.
5. Choose the right learning platforms
Growing a tech team comes with a caveat unlike many other sectors of work. Training, and lots of it! Technology is always in a constant shift, with applications, coding resources, repositories and more being updated, replaced and modernised. Selecting the best learning platforms and training paths for new recruits, or promoting the training path publicly when looking to hire, will help you build a superior team, or find the right candidates who are seeking advancements. Fortunately, here at Fetcha, we work closely with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to offer their comprehensive training and accreditation courses. This means that for our team, and the teams of our tech clients, we can be there to guide which courses are the best fit.
Learning platforms do extend beyond that of training and accreditation. We see learning platforms extend into your business intranet, on services like Atlassian. Be mindful that as you’re growing your business, you need to document your decisions, reasons for processes and so on, in one centralised place. Then communicate these internal resources effectively, so your team knows where to look internally for updates, workflows, resources and the like.
College Consensus has a detailed article of some of the best tech courses online, should you want to start carving out which ones are right for you.
That wraps it up for this Fetcha insight. We hope you’ve found the information above helpful, in ways in which to attract, grow (and retain) your own dream tech team. Our final tip would be to simply look at your job listings and pretend you’re a potential candidate.
From the information provided, can you easily see what you’d actually be doing if you got the role? Are there links to explore the business and see what the culture, vision and values are? Do you have contact information for a HR specialist, should they want to ask other questions surrounding the role?
Nail the journey, master the onboarding, and you’ll soon be growing the tech team that drives your business forward.