Don’t be like Meta. How not to overstaff?
Changing economic realities mean that many companies have doubts about how to approach hiring in the IT sector. What analysis should be done, what factors should be taken into account? Which are the key ones?
Step 1: Project verification.
It is worth starting your hiring planning with an analysis of your project portfolio – in terms of certainty of delivery and priorities. The assessment will depend, among other things, on whether these are internal or external projects, what their time frame is, what role our company plays in them and which are strategic for us. Moreover, it is important to carefully consider the partners for a specific task. How has our cooperation been so far? How much do we know about their financial situation? Once we have verified our priorities and assessed security, it is time to analyse our team. In this process, we assess the competencies of our employees and if we can move them between projects.
Step 2: Competency mapping.
A key aspect is to be aware of the parameters affecting people in the company: the scale of the organisation, its positioning in relation to the competition, rotation and offers for employees. With this information, we know how quickly we can respond to a higher demand for talent if, for example, we are launching a major project. Similarly, in the case of employee redundancies – we have reliable information about outplacement opportunities – i.e. how our employees are positioned against other job seekers. This is a significant change that has been taking place over the last few years – quite a while ago, Human Resources departments were merely executors of business instructions, and the HR Director had the weakest position in the management of the organisation. Nowadays, it is increasingly common for those responsible for talent and knowledge management in an organisation to be treated as partners and advisors to the business, with HR Directors sitting on company boards.
Mature corporate people management requires long-term workforce planning, including recruiting processes for future business needs and an awareness of key trends affecting the IT labour market. In recent months, we have experienced changes in labour laws, taxes and layoffs in large companies – such events affect the readiness to change jobs and the expectations of candidates.
Another aspect is the assessment of employee competencies: both the skills employees already have and those that will be acquired. Talent management will allow us to determine the place of a given employee in the organisation in the future, and to assess what projects we will be able to realise thanks to them. Moreover, it enables us to know how much we will have to pay employees whose competencies are constantly growing.
Step 3: Internal recruitment.
A practice that allows us to respond quickly to business needs and further strengthens satisfaction with the current workplace is so-called internal recruitment.Information to teams about vacant positions provides a significant benefit to the employer. It allows the transfer of an employee from a less crucial area (which could be eliminated in the future), reduces turnover and provides the development of people already known. Additionally, it is the least expensive which makes it easier and quicker to deploy a person who knows the organisation. All this, however, takes into account real competencies and business needs.
Step 4: External hiring strategy.
For larger investments, sourcing talent from outside is essential. In this case, full and transparent communication from the business to HR about the project/investment is crutial. Market opportunities allow the use of different strategies for sourcing competencies that are most relevant to the organisation’s current situation.
How attractive we are to the industry also needs to be analysed. The ability to expand in the market may depend on how effective we prove to be in recruiting the best candidates. The quality of the recruitment process determines whether:
- we have a properly vetted employee with proven technical skills,
- we offer rates commensurate with their competencies,
- we know the employee’s motivation and whether they fit into the company’s plans.
Step 5: Choice of form of employment.
With stable growth, a strong financial background and assured business continuity, it is worth considering the direct employment of experts, based on an employment contract. Especially if the project is included in the long-term strategy of the organisation and is the core of the business. What is more, if we hire a specialist with key competencies for our field. In the case of a full-time job, we are less often confronted with rotation and have more influence on the effectiveness of the specialist & work. The financial expectations of full-time employees tend to be somewhat lower too, also in the long term – this works to the benefit of the organisation.
A different situation occurs when we are developing a new product that may be a response to a temporary trend or when we consider a project to be riskier and also when the economic environment is so variable that we want to use flexible solutions. This is where outsourcing can be a solution. This form of cooperation makes it possible to immediately incorporate a stand-alone expert or even an entire team into a project, without the need for lengthy recruitment and onboarding processes. We gain access to specialists who are not interested in working on a full-time basis (and the more experience a candidate has, the less open they are to UoP), avoiding the risk of latent tenure, as with so-called ‘in-house B2B’. This tends to be a higher cost, but easier to manage – you only pay for the hours of service provided or a specific project. Outsourcing IT experts also offsets the risk of redundancies and notice periods, which can sometimes be a burden on the organisation both financially and in terms of image.
Step 6: Trusted partner.
The processes of both the analysis of our company’s demands and the recruitment are complex and time-consuming. Sometimes dozens of hours of interviews are required to identify a single candidate. An important aspect is to use reliable partners for external recruitment, who have market expertise through insights from the competition and a much larger pool of candidates. And last but not least, when we are unsure about the continuity of certain business projects or facing a major challenge when sourcing people in specific technology areas, I recommend working with a partner to outsource specialists.
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