Remember when fax machines, file cabinets, and switchboards were the backbone of business communication? It wasn’t too long ago that most technology departments were comprised of a small team of techies responsible for troubleshooting and repairs. But IT departments today are undergoing tremendous growth and rapid change, presenting IT managers with a challenge. In fact, for many companies, IT is now less of an individual department, and more of an agile force driving every facet of business. Keeping your IT team as expansive and up-to-date as necessary requires constant oversight, and is met with considerable competition. Here’s what IT project managers and development managers need to know when building an effective IT team
IT Staffing: The What, Who & Why
So what does the IT staffing process look like in the current business climate? IT skills are now desirable in many industries and across all departmental lines. That means hiring is tough- there is a huge demand and a short supply of qualified tech professionals. More and more businesses are turning to IT staffing firms to help them. Take a look at how it works.
- What is IT staffing? IT staffing companies are professional recruiters that source the best tech talent for a variety of industries, including short-term, long-term, or individual hires. They also compile entire teams, if needed, and have access to the brightest job seekers. They employ a rigorous screening process that produces candidates who best meet your requirements.
- Who uses IT staffing? Virtually every company could use a little help acquiring the best IT talent, since demand currently exceeds supply. IT managers and project managers don’t have time to heavily recruit, or even keep up with the changing trends. IT staffing agencies bring you the best web developers, network engineers, cloud architects, and database administrators, just to name a few.
- Why use an IT staffing company? IT recruiters have access to candidates proficient in all types of technology to customize your hire. They can also assemble entire teams in the time it might take you to hire a single employee. They perform all the legwork on aligning applicant experience, personality, and skills to your job listing, to weed out unqualified candidates.
The Difference Between Full-Time Employees and Contractors
When it comes to staffing your IT team, you’ll need to decide whether to hire full-time employees or independent contractors, or even a combination of the two. It’s a great time to work in the IT industry, since applicants have multiple opportunities. So, it’s important to hire a team that aligns with your company’s schedule, workload, and budget.
Full-Time IT Employees- Full-time employees are hired to work a set schedule of hours per week and may be entitled to medical or government benefits. They often require on-the-job training and paid vacation, sick days, maternity, or medical leave. Some full-time employees have opportunity for promotion or retirement funds.
- Risks- The changing industry means their jobs aren’t entirely safe, and they lack the versatile experience that comes with contracting at different job sites. Opportunities to advance may be limited, and time off may be hard to come by. It’s also difficult to keep current with emerging technology while holding a full-time position. They aren’t able to work seasonal hours or periods of growth without being paid overtime.
- Benefits- FTEs are able to form more lengthy relationships with coworkers and become experts in their particular field. Some enjoy a sense of stability and value and may receive perks like health insurance and networking opportunities.
IT Contractors- IT Contractors are hired on an as-needed basis, to fulfill a specific job. Some jobs may last a day, while others go on for months, or even turn into long-term hires. Contractors typically set their own rates and hours and have a more flexible schedule, with a wider breadth of experience. They often work with a staffing agency to secure frequent employment and enjoy selecting the jobs that appeal to them.
- Risks- Contractors must cover health costs on their own, and can lack a connection with your team. They have to be looking for the next job at all times, which can be daunting without a staffing firm. They often charge a higher rate than FTEs, but it usually comes with broader experience, as well.
- Benefits- IT Contractors can fill in necessary gaps whenever and wherever you need them. They aren’t subject to a 9:00-5:00 schedule and don’t require costly extras like benefits, overtime, or paid time off. They help insure that there is no downtime in your company, even when staff members are away. With the ever-changing nature of technology, your growth may be hard to control. Hiring trained contractors to work on projects as needed is more efficient and cost-effective than bringing your whole staff up to speed. Contractors also work with a sense of urgency and a desire to please, since they rely on referrals and repeat customers.
Solutions to the Top 5 Manager Pain Points
Whether you’re staffing a permanent team or heading up a short-term project, IT hiring presents several challenges for managers. It is an applicant’s market in the IT industry, making it tough to attract and obtain the top talent. Here are five of the challenges managers face, and ways to overcome them with the help of IT staffing firms.
- Recruiting top talent- IT help is in high demand across every industry. It’s challenging to not only locate but acquire the best of the best, with so many others vying for their attention. The solution is to let an IT staffing firm seek them out and attract them using their industry insight and reputation to boost the candidate’s interest. With multiple platforms of communication and countless connections, IT staffing groups reach the broadest audience.
- Finding a fit- It’s important that your employees have compelling resumes, but it’s also essential that they fit your specific needs. Applicants might know how to sail through an interview with you- providing stock answers of what they think you expect. But staffing firms are experienced in selecting an actual match for your team. They sort through the pile of applicants and present you with only the people you’d be interested in hiring.
- Employee retention- With so much to choose from in IT job listings, it’s easy for employees to jump ship. If you hire someone who’s not passionate about your company’s goals or is itching to advance too quickly, it might cause unnecessary turnover. IT staffing companies know how to select employees that are in sync with your purpose and mission. They are also experts at placing contractors in positions for exactly as long as you need them. Turnover is costly for companies, so contracting is a safer bet for IT hires.
- Managing growth- Technology is a burgeoning field, growing by unpredictable leaps and bounds. By the time IT managers hire and train a full-time employee, their skill set is practically outdated. In order to keep up with IT needs, managers need to partner with a firm who supplies them a steady stream of contractors to fill in the gaps. An employee who arrives on day one trained and ready prevents downtime and loss of revenue.
- Lack of time- Whether it’s time to train, time to interview, or time to lose, managers are constantly short on time. When you need an employee immediately, there’s no time to be picky. This leads to eventual firing or quitting if an employee is improperly screened. Let a professional staffing firm save you time and reduce that risk by taking the job off your hands.
Your IT team might be the most important component of your company today. Everything from marketing, to data storage, to communication is now fueled by IT skillsets. The needs are evolving and demand is high, but you want to hire quality candidates who will promote your brand, not just fill the spots. The best way to attract, obtain, and retain the strongest team is to partner with an IT staffing firm who knows how to get the job done.