Optimizing the number of IT staff can be a challenge.
The quality of a company's IT staff is perhaps more important than for any other area of the company. If IT staff don't know their stuff, the entire infrastructure of the company is at risk of failure. Finding and keeping quality IT staff is filled with challenges.
Here are a few of the biggest challenges facing hiring managers today, along with some suggestions for how to solve them.
#1 IT Staffing Challenge: Keeping Up With Growth
Many IT departments are perpetually understaffed, with CIOs reluctant to add positions until the need is drastic. Being overworked, however, can lead to higher staff turnover and less ability to implement innovative technologies. Doing new things takes an investment of time and resources that seems all but impossible when existing staff are stretched to the limit.
Possible Solutions: John Reed from CIO Update says that CIOs need to advocate for staff needs by explaining how additional staff will benefit the company as a whole and giving specific ways in which understaffing is holding the company from being as productive as it could be.
Creating a positive work environment with perks and rewards for meeting goals can also help get the most out of current staff, as well as providing compelling reasons for new staff to get up to speed quickly.
#2 IT Staffing Challenge: Evaluating Applicants' Skills
Knowing whether applicants really have the skills they list on their resume isn't easy. Short of a probationary period or a test during the interview, all a hiring manager really has is words until they see the applicant in action.
Possible Solutions: One way hiring managers are attempting to verify needed skills is by requiring applicants to have certifications in the skills needed. Certification means successful completion of coursework verified by the course instructor. Verifying specific skills with references provided by the applicant can also be helpful.
Taking time to deal with staffing challenges will pay dividends for any company.
Additionally, looking for accomplishments-based resumes can also provide specific information about the applicant's previous work history and the skills they used proficiently in previous jobs.
#3 IT Staffing Challenge: Finding People Skills
IT staff members are a technical bunch not known for their people skills. They may be strong on logic and problem solving, but weak with the skills that will make working together for long hours bearable. As time goes on, people skills can become more crucial in that grievances and slights only seem to get worse the longer a staff works together. Eventually, interpersonal problems can bring down even the most effective team.
Possible solutions: During the interview process, hiring managers might want to give special weight to whether applicants observe the courtesies expected, such as waiting until the other person finishes speaking, saying please and thank you, and sending a follow-up note or email. If something rubs you even a little bit the wrong way in the interview process, it usually develops into a major sticking point over the course of the person's employment with the company.
That being said, knowing the capacity of your team for some eccentricities is a must. Sometimes the applicants with the best talent may be lacking in interpersonal skills. Being willing to do some people skills training may be valuable for the team overall.
#4 IT Staffing Challenge: Retention
Getting quality employees to stick around for a long period of time can be quite challenging. Just when everything seems to be running smoothly, a team member leaves to take a job elsewhere or start his own company.
Possible solutions: IT staff like variety and projects that are challenging but not impossible. Structuring the work environment so that staff members have interesting work to do while making sure it is positive and affirming can go a long way to solving retention issues. Making sure salaries are competitive is another good step to take.
GDH Consulting offers help to IT companies with staffing challenges. Contact them today to find out how they can build your IT staff into a strong team.