Attracting talent and training effective team leaders is becoming more of a challenge for high growth tech companies. Yet, technology-oriented enterprises of all sizes must develop this capability to remain competitive.
“Recruiting technicians with the right skill set and work ethic is a large spend for our company,” says Carl Mazzanti, Co-founder and Vice President of eMazzanti Technologies, a NYC area retail technology consultant and MSP.
At eMazzanti, sustained double-digit revenue growth fuels the demand for more and exceptional technical support personnel and project team leaders. The company continually scouts for candidates who can maintain the company’s quick response times, short resolution times and high customer satisfaction scores.
Other tech companies face a similar challenge, as evidenced by rising tech salaries and talent poaching by recruiters. Hiring hurdles, including low technology sector un-employment, a shortage of graduates in the industry and millennials that want flexible schedules also make effective recruiting and team building more difficult.
Still, getting the talent in the door is just the first step. Building effective teams and training good team leaders requires an overall strategy and plan.
Use Your Community to Find Talent
A recent survey found that 70% of new hires learn about tech jobs from a friend, employee tech referrals or employee testimonials. This implies a community-focused hiring strategy.
Team members that attend conferences, participate in hack-a-thons or speak at events meet people with similar skills, building both a pool of candidates and a brand for your company as a desirable tech-oriented employer.
Your top tech employees often maintain a network of like-minded friends. Offer them referral bonuses to motivate them to bring in their friends.
Partner with a local university or technology school to identify and recruit talented engineers before they hit the job market. You can sponsor hack-a-thons, offer internships or speak at school events and mention that you are hiring. eMazzanti does this well and serves on the NJIT School of Management Board of Directors.
Use Skills Training to Attract Talent and Develop Leaders
To address the recruiting and leadership challenge, eMazzanti schedules internal skills and leadership training sessions. It also offers regular free certifications and training on new technologies. You may want to survey your employees on the skills they would like to acquire and match them to team and customer needs.
Recently, eMazzanti brought the entire support team together and had them present to their peers. During the presentations, colleagues gave them feedback to improve everyone’s skills. Carl also brings in leadership coaches and consultants.
Entice Candidates with Your Technology Stack
Top tech employees want to be challenged and learn new skills. eMazzanti works hard to maintain an advanced technology stack that benefits its customers and enhances employees’ capabilities. Sharpening skills across the entire stack also leads to smoother installs, fewer support calls, faster resolutions and happier customers.
For years, eMazzanti has cultivated inside contacts at Microsoft, HP and WatchGuard to be the first to test and adopt new technologies and receive special training and support. Because of its expertise around certain technologies, the company generates extra revenue by providing services through other Microsoft partners that lack the necessary training.
Since eMazzanti trains its staff to be on the leading edge of technology, Microsoft relies on them frequently for feedback on products in development. Appropriate personnel also participate in pilot training programs, such as the Azure Mentor Program (AMP).
Become a Leadership Factory
Support, development and project teams require effective leadership. So, it may be helpful to think of your company as a leadership factory. In addition to providing leadership training, leadership ability is one of the key characteristics you should look for when hiring.
Multi-language abilities and cultural and gender diversity also serve to strengthen teams and increase customer satisfaction. International employees often open the door to more successful recruiting abroad and opportunities for global expansion.
Service quality may suffer when team leaders are out sick or on vacation. So, it’s a good idea to have them train the staff that they manage to be leaders while they’re not there. Then, the transition to a full-time leadership role progresses smoothly.
Match Skills to the Position
Finally, you may want to consider and avoid becoming an example of the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is an observation that employees tend to be promoted to the level of their incompetence. Those who have served in the military know that this happens all the time.
A network engineer could be the best at doing specific tasks. And because they are, they get promoted to manage others. Then, it turns out that they lack the skills to be good at managing a team. Avoid the problem by evaluating and training future leaders.
Success for High Growth Tech Companies
High growth tech companies with a plan and consistent effort master the challenge of building strong teams with effective leadership. For example, eMazzanti Technologies has achieved double-digit revenue growth every year since its founding in 2001.
The company enjoys high employee retention because of its hiring practices and the frequent leadership, coaching, skills training and certifications it provides without charge.
eMazzanti and its leaders have received numerous awards. Highlights include eight consecutive years on the Inc. 5000 list and Microsoft Partner of the Year three times. Recent awards include New Jersey Business of the Year and an EY Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist.
Recognition from industry publications has also frequently come its way. Notable examples include ranking on the Channel e2e Top 100 MSP, CRN MSP 500, MSPMentor 501 and ChannelPro 20-20 lists. With effective recruiting and training, similar success can be yours.