We’ve written before about the importance of creating flexible labor teams in an ever changing work environment – and the VocaWorks platform can be an important partner in developing those teams. But that strategy is only one piece of an overall workforce strategy, one that allows you to not just keep pace with changes in the market and in technology, but to help lead and shape those changes. Such a strategy should be aligned with your business objectives to make sure you are working to accomplish those objectives through appropriate staffing and retention.
Start with an overview
If you don’t have a tech workforce strategy, the first place to start is to make sure you are clear on what your firm’s business objectives are. You can then examine whether you have the staffing plan in order to meet (and exceed) those objectives. By bringing in others outside your team you can identify gaps and pinpoint who the next hires need to be and on what timeline they need to be hired.
Make sure your teams are happy
Sometimes those focused on recruitment forget that retention is 50% of the game. Keeping great people around is challenging in an environment in which tech jobs are plentiful and recruiters are aggressive. But three things you should always be asking yourself or your staff include:
- Are you happy here? Why or why not? What could we do to make you happier?
- Are we developing you appropriately? Do you feel that you are upskilling in areas that you expected? Even in areas you didn’t expect? What more can we do?
- What is one thing that would cause you to leave? Why?
The answer to that last question is part of a “red team” way of thinking. For those unfamiliar with the term, it’s an independent group that assumes an adversarial role. It looks for problems or holes first and seeks to preemptively seal them. By anticipating challenging scenarios and dealing with them up front, you remove their sting and bite.
Audit your last 90/180/365
Ask everyone who can contribute meaningfully to the question: “How have we done in the last 90/180/365 days in hiring? What have we done well? What could we do better?” By including feedback in the last 90 days along with what’s gone on in the past year, you are combining data and giving yourself better chances to adapt to not just the jobs market and its own volatility, but to the changing needs of your own organization, which may have recently pivoted and hence needed to shift workforce strategy accordingly.
We’ve spoken about the importance of using assessments in hiring tech staff, and in that article, we hinted at the importance of staff being able to adapt and learn new skills as well. By encouraging a culture of collaboration and continuous learning, you remove the fear of “I don’t know” and replace it with “How do I do that?” By making sure that you include “learnability” as part of your rubrics for hiring you can ensure that your staff can change as your workforce strategy changes, making sure you’re not reacting to what’s happening in the marketplace and in your firm, but anticipating those changes and leading with your values.
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Stephen writes about startups, hiring and career issues for VocaWorks.