Software industry on the whole is always struggling to find and retain top talent; and it is often difficult for most organizations to succeed because of resource shortages or poor retention. Most organizations struggle with hiring and talent retention because they are making these common mistakes when hiring and grooming talent for various roles in their organizations :-
1). Insistence on hiring the perfect talent having all the skills for a new project role
2). Hiring for skills rather than talent
3). Poor training and engagement focus
4). Poor resource management leading to employee burnout and churn and poor bandwidth utilization
5). Lacking synchronization between sales/marketing and available bandwidth within organization
6). Don’t forget dining hall/kitchen space when planning your next great office space
Avoid Falling into Perfect Talent Syndrome
Most organizations have management with poor ability to train and develop resources for emerging resource needs. Managers are also afraid of failure and don’t want to take risk or give chances to suitable but less experienced team members.
Best solution is to rank managers based on their ability to take calculated risks, develop resources, and avoid delays in the projects by training/developing resources rather than wasting time for hiring perfect resources.
In short, try to cure perfection syndrome and focus on continuous improvement in your organization.
Hire for Talent and Passion
Organizations that are well known for hiring and grooming raw talent often become first choice of talent at all levels.
A successful organizations has to be great employer as well as being great in their product/service domain. If you are not a great employer you will never be great in business domain.
Hiring for talent and passion, and then training resources to fill skill-gaps allows you to hire resources at a much more competitive rates and having resource bandwidth available just in time for your next great project or business development opportunity.
Resource Planning and Optimization
Most organizations lack focus on future planning, and have a firefighting or super-hero mindset. They try to solve management issues with this mindset. This leads to some successes where management may have right talent or experience available but will often lead to many failures because you were not prepared and could not succeed despite heroic efforts. Needless to say, once failures occur top management tries to find scapegoats leading to loss of top talent who took great pains and risks for a lost battle.
Fixing organizational mindset and culture is the best option to get out of these hire and fire cycles and being employer and reliable partner for your customers.
Here’s how you can do it :-
1). Plan and develop clear cut business targets e.g. growing web development portfolio by 30%
2). Align resource bandwidth accordingly by hiring and training best resources out there
3). Align sales pipeline with resource availability as best as possible
4). Focus on improving resource utilization bandwidth and customer satisfaction even if that means allocating 20% extra resources on a given project at certain points in time
Having 10% to 20% resource bandwidth available is better than losing client because it will take another three months to hire talent needed for an exciting new project.
Improving Employee Retention through Comprehensive Incentive Strategy
Your employee retention will automatically improve if you are the great at attracting raw talent and transforming them with your great training and grooming facilities. In other words, employees will find you much more attractive for their own long term career development.
Now, if you combine this with competitive salary packages, company sponsored gym, free food, Petrol allowance, Car finance with company paying a fix portion, and other suitable incentives then you will not only attract top talent but you will also be able to retain them.
Re-Visit Your Business Model
Having great business model is closely linked with business success, efficient recruitment, and high employee retention. Employees can often see that you have a weak business model and will most likely have challenges with growth and employee retention thus leading to poor response to recruitment campaigns.
If you are a project based shop that can not afford to retain employees once you lose one or two projects/clients then you would definitely have poor employee retention, and would definitely be not first choice of top talent out there.
There are many things you can do to optimize your business and diversify your income streams :-
1). One way to diversify business is to Invest in products
2). Develop high end services e.g. being premier Big Data Partner on leading cloud service providers
3). Develop strategic partnerships with other leaders in the industry
Invest in Your Office Space
Having a great office space is the best way to give confidence to your employees, and attracting top talent. Key elements for great office space environment are :-
1). Reduce average daily commute for your empoyees
2). Offers hassle free and safe parking
3). Offers safe and distraction free working environment
4). Offers plenty of meeting rooms, social interaction, healthy recreational facilities e.g. office gym, play areas etc.
5). Is not short of ladies and gents toilets
6). Avoid big halls, and go for individual team spaces with seating for not more than 15-20 resources and offices for one or two managers
7). Don’t forget dining hall and kitchen when planning your next great office space
Most organizations fail to see these basics, when planning their office spaces thus leading to continuous discomfort for employees, and leading to employee churn or poor retention.
In this article, I have focused briefly on recruitment and retention dilemma of software industry but same may be applicable to any resource intensive industry suffering from talent shortages. The strategic approach that I stress for resolving this problem is upfront planning focused on business development, and recruitment/training and combining this with market competitive salary and incentive packages. Being able to plan upfront also means that you can allocate extra resources to projects at crunch times, and win the confidence of clients leading to greater success for the business.