Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Great IT Talent

By Anirban Guha on February 5, 2016

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“Worldwide, there is talent shortage in tech. European employers face this challenge as well: they have large numbers of vacancies and not enough candidates to fill them", Tara M. Sinclair, PhD, Chief Economist, Indeed.

ISVs and enterprises with IT operations are constantly struggling to ensure that their technology capability is on pace to support their core business growth. That means you have to consistently maintain your core engineering and technology capability and capacity, which calls for a well-honed strategy to recruit and retain tech talent. Many technology companies are still struck in a time warp, and haven’t upgraded their HR policies to deal with this challenging landscape for talent acquisition and retention. In this blog, let’s look at some strategies for recruiting and retaining great IT talent.

Hire for attitude and train for skills

While the adage that “People make the difference” is true for any domain, its applicability to the technology industry is much more. It takes smart people to master technology, and smart people build great products and services. Therefore for any ISV or enterprise that aims to attract great tech talent, must ensure that their recruitment strategy is aligned with that goal. Beyond the standard metrics of tech competency and experience, make sure that you seek the following personality traits in your tech hires:

  • Great problem solving skills
  • Ability to think out of box
  • A ‘can do’ attitude
  • Receptive towards new ideas
  • Not afraid of failure
  • Capacity for collaborative work
  • Transparent
  • Clarity of thought

We live in a collaborative world, and it is not enough if you just have great talent. While exceptionally talented people are capable of make their mark as individuals, it is very often great team work that facilitates development of great products and services. Therefore, any organization which hopes to maintain a competitive edge in terms of innovation must ensure that their recruitment strategy is geared towards attracting people with atleast some of the above listed traits. These are the attributes which differentiate the wheat from the chaff. Don’t worry about a role fit and skill match. If you find someone with these traits, hire them and train them for the skills or roles that you need.

Have a proactive retention strategy

Retention is more than compensation and career growth. In this competitive world, where well funded start-ups can offer the moon for top talent, you can’t win a bidding war for talent. You need to have a proactive strategy, which dovetails with the personal goals of your employees.  Some tips to make your company a great place to work, and ensure that you retain your tech talent:

  • Make sure that your work environment is supportive of employees with young children
  • Day care for children
  • Flexi work schedules
  • Tele commuting
  • Opportunity to play multiple roles
  • Opportunity to travel
  • Customer facing roles
  • Training and opportunity to learn new technologies
  • Sustainable pace of work to ensure no burnout
  • Competitive compensation and benefits
  • Transparent work culture

Some of the above cited measures don’t have a monetary impact on your bottom line, and it is a matter of organizational will to incorporate them as part of your work culture. 

Invest in great people, and you will be rewarded with employee loyalty and great products and services. It’s good business to invest in people.

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