There are certain conditions and situations where it’s clear that a tech company needs help with IT staffing. These can be bad reasons – like you made a few bad hires. Or good reasons – like when you’re about to expand your business. You’ve made it this far on your own, so many smaller companies think they have all the answers. But after examining internal process and the results that come from them, many companies find out that they could use a little bit of outside help. Here are nine signs that it’s time to seek out specialized IT staffing services. If you company is going through any of these, the best solution might be just a phone call or email away.
You Are About to Grow
This one can be tough to accurately predict, especially in the technology business. Do you find yourself turning down new business? Is your current staff working extra hours just to keep the quality of work up? Then it’s probably time to expect. But if rapid growth is in the cards for your company, you need to plan for it. Many companies have thrown out job listings and paid the price with substandard employees added to the payroll. This affects the production cycle from top to bottom, can ruin employee morale and put the brakes on a potentially lucrative expansion process.
To make just one hire, you need to properly craft a job description, generate a pool of candidates, prequalify the top of that group, conduct phone interviews, advance to in-person (or Zoom call) interviews, and finally make a decision that works for you over the long term. Then you have to convince that person to accept. This is a long process best conducted by someone with hiring experience who also knows your business needs. It’s basically a part-time job in itself or a task that will pull an experienced manager or leader off of their most important work.
Now multiply all that by 10, 20 or even 50 positions. That’s simply too much for any small organization (even if you have big plans). Even if you’re not sure you’re ready to grow right now, it can’t hurt to get in touch with a staffing service and see how they can help you refine your growth process. Incremental steps are best, but when you have to rapidly expand, a good plan can make all the difference.
Too Long to Fill Open Jobs
When an employee leaves and there is a vacancy, a lot of companies just post the job and wait for a good candidate to show up. This kind of passive search feels like it cost-effective. You’re spending a little bit of time and money to get the word out and the candidates will do your legwork for you. In the meantime, you have lower compensation expenditures with the vacant position. But the truth is, this kind of strategy is a time (and money) suck. It reduces productivity and could actually cost you more money than you think you’re saving.
Surveys show that the average vacancy in technology is filled in 52 days. Fifty-two days is actually a reasonable number when you’re handling everything yourself, but that average includes companies that have quick and efficient processes and hire in a few days and those that do nothing right away and end up waiting several months.
Waiting for the right candidate without taking more proactive steps can be costly. The average cost of a vacancy for a manager ($91,000 annually) is up to $15,000 a month in lost productivity and workload passed to other managers. Costs at that level should have you scrambling to fill the position as quickly and effectively as you can. If these costs outweigh the cost of an IT staffing service, then it might be time to seek outside help.
Many Open Positions
If more than one position opens at the same time, you may have doubts about your ability to fill them all. This tends to be exacerbated when you have a few similar positions open. At that point you might have one or two candidates who you like but three or four open seats to fill.
There’s even a psychological factor at play when you try to hire multiple staff for similar positions at the same time. You have a tendency to overlook specific flaws in an individual by thinking that everything will even out in the aggregate. With the “time-to-hire” issue in mind, you can also rush through the process unnecessarily.
In this situation, you can take advantage of an IT staffing company by using their resources to expand the pool of people you are considering. Instead of two great people for four positions, you suddenly have access to five or six great candidates.
Employees with Upcoming Leave
If you are planning for an upcoming parental or medical leave, it is often more efficient to look into a staffing service solution. Hiring temporary help or temp-to-hire is a lot easier when you go through a third-party service.
The individuals you bring in are prequalified and are fully aware that they are up for a temporary position. Benefits and payroll administration expenses are handled by the staffing company alongside the typical recruiting process. Then, if they are a good fit, you have the inside track to offer them a more permanent position.
This can be a good way to “try out” candidates but trying to hire a temporary fill-in on your own can be difficult. Staffing services already have a preselected pool of temporary or contract workers who are used to interviewing for these types of positions. There’s less chance of finding a great candidate who simply would prefer a permanent position.
Sometimes by coincidence, you have a few people leave in a short time. But if your turnover rate is significantly above the average rate in your industry (about three percent nationwide and as high as six percent in some industries) then it may be time to examine what’s going on in your organization.
Causes of high turnover can include a lack of opportunity for growth and progression, when employees feel they have no specific track to a promotion or more money. This usually goes hand-in-hand with a lack of a formal process for employee performance feedback and recognition. Small companies, particularly in IT, sometimes must work so rapidly that they don’t have time to implement these basic policies and procedure.
Employees might also be looking for a way out when they simply have too much work. Added responsibilities and long days with no end in sight quickly leads to employee burnout.
The last issue that usually contributes to a higher-than-average employee turnover is simply making bad hires. You either end up having to fire someone to correct a mistake you made, or the weaker employees drive the good staff away.
IT staffing services can help analyze the facts behind your turnover rate. Find out if you’re making the wrong kind of hires or if there is something going on with your company that’s making people want to leave. A full analysis of your compensation and benefits, support for employee growth, and your corporate culture can identify ways to improve.
Data and System Security Audits
When it comes to maintaining data and system security, it’s the little things that really add up. A patch missing, a weak password, or an open port can be the difference between passing and failing an independent audit of your security.
One cause of these small issues is personnel. A study by the FBI and Carnegie Mellon University showed that 90% of cybersecurity incidents involved the exploitation of a security hole that the IT staff already knew about, sometimes as much as six months before the incident.
If your internal IT support staff have too much other work to do, they might consider these small tasks to be low priority. Or they might not have the bandwidth to fully brief up on the latest information and patches. Other employees might not have the experience to know how important it is to maintain data security.
So, if you find yourself failing an audit or other security check, be sure to look closely at the personnel responsible for your systems. You may find that it’s time to reexamine their roles or bring in some additional help dedicated to improving and maintaining your data security posture.
If your department has a large number of open trouble tickets or other unhandled issues, it could be a sign that you’re understaffed. The staff might be fully competent and capable of solving the issues and fixing the problems, but they don’t have the time to close up the paperwork.
Your staff also might not have the experience or knowledge needed to create an efficient ticket resolution process. Bringing in a senior leader or experienced project manager can help create more efficient processes and workflows.
This is another case when an experienced IT staffing service can conduct an analysis of your current operations and make positive suggestions for improvement. Then they can help you get to the correct staffing level.
You Need to Globalize
It’s no secret that many companies with tech needs are looking overseas. Compensation is on a completely different scale in other parts of the world, resulting in the ability to hire more people for the same cost. When you find the right team, the work produced overseas can be just as good, even after accounting for language and culture issues that may come between the local teams and offshore teams.
But how do you even get started recruiting halfway across the globe? How would you find candidates? What’s the best way to evaluate someone for whom English is a second language? What laws govern you as an employer in that country? How do you assess certifications and education from a school you’ve never heard of?
These and other questions like them can be answered by an IT staffing service that’s experienced with hiring and managing overseas workers. The right staffing service will have experienced recruiters and a network of contacts in overseas markets. They will be able to help create a full team of personnel to fulfill your business needs.
Bug Rate is Too High
An issue with lots of bugs in your development can be caused by a lot of factors. But a continuing pattern of constant fixes shows that you probably need more people on your design, development and QA teams. You may be able to prioritize major fixes and show-stopping bugs, but that doesn’t always leave time for your team to handle the smaller nagging issues.
A good IT staffing service can bring in the right mix of experience levels and help you craft an efficient team that has the bandwidth to carefully review designs, code and the finished product. They can also help you bring in experienced managers and business analysts to create timelines, review requirements, plan the development cycle and generally support your existing talent.
Constant cycles of peer review will help you understand your process and the issues that come up repeatedly. But you need the resources to address these problems in a coherent and productive fashion. Bringing in additional senior developers, project managers or other key personnel will reduce development “churn” that you experience when you deal with the same issues repeatedly.
Examining Your Own Process
Taking the time to assess your own workflows and processes will help you identify and understand gaps and deficiencies. At a smaller company, these problems can feel enormous and daunting. But having taken a hard look at your internal issues, you should know that there is help out there. An established IT staffing service has seen it all and should have a well-developed methodology for finding the right people and resources to make everything run more smoothly.