With how quickly technology progresses, most would consider research and development to be the most important function of an IT company. But a company is more than just its technological capabilities – it needs well-trained staff to maintain its products, deliver its services, and keep the company itself afloat.
The human resources department in an IT company plays an integral role in keeping it agile and functional by ensuring that employees are both competent and diligent. But it’s true that because of the nature of the IT industry, some HR functions are more crucial than others.
If you work in an IT company and are hoping to optimize your human resources department, here are the four most important HR tasks you should prioritize to succeed in the industry.
1. Employee Retention
According to LinkedIn, the IT and tech industries have the highest turnover rates at 13.5% for IT consulting companies and 12.9% for tech and media companies. With so many IT companies trying to compete for prominence and only a handful of workers with the requisite skills, employees are continuously being snatched away by other companies promising better jobs.
If employees leave, they take with them all of the expertise and procedural knowledge they’ve accrued, and work slows as the company struggles to hire and train a suitable replacement. The company would grind to a halt.
That means that for any IT company hoping to maintain prominence in the industry, employee retention should be the number one priority. Employee satisfaction is a result of several factors such as wage and benefits, feedback, and workplace culture – all topics that need more explanation than we can cover in a day. Thankfully, Humanresource.com has a full library of guides that can help you improve retention by keeping your employees happy with their job.
If the company decides to expand or needs to fill a vacant role, then it’s HR’s job to source, interview, and hire an employee qualified for the job.
IT positions often require a great deal of technical expertise in data science, computer programming, and computer-aided design, and a gap in the workforce’s skills and abilities might put an IT company at a standstill until it can find someone to do the necessary work. That’s why it’s of utmost importance that HR quickly finds candidates for vacant positions, determines their qualifications for the role, and onboards them as swiftly as possible so they can begin working right away.
On top of supporting the business’s current operations, the skillset of new employees hired by HR also has a resounding effect on the future of the company — fresh employees mean fresh ideas, which could lead to new innovations and opportunities for the company to capitalize on.
3. Learning and Development (L&D)
Once a company finds and retains its workforce, it doesn’t mean that its abilities and competencies are set in stone. Through learning and development programs, a company can boost its employees’ current talents, encourage them to branch out in abilities and improve job satisfaction, all in one fell swoop.
Though we mentioned earlier that hiring new employees is a great way to diversify the company’s skillsets and competencies, hiring more employees than a company can support is a recipe for disaster. Instead, HR can utilize learning and development plans to help current employees enhance their technical skills and keep abreast of the rapid changes in the IT industry.
Not only does this keep the company’s workforce agile and relevant, but it also improves employee satisfaction: nine out of ten employees say it’s important for managers to inspire learning and experimentation. So to keep its employees happy and invested in their job, an IT company would be wise to invest in learning and development programs.
On top of improving employees’ hard skills, such as programming and data analysis, HR could also implement training programs for soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. This will help workforce cohesion, encouraging harmony and collaboration in the workplace. With less friction, more work will be done faster.
Finally, a major HR issue in the IT and tech industry is ensuring the physical and mental health of employees. The IT industry can be quite a stressful job environment as projects pile up and companies strive to be the head of the pack. Employees likewise feel immense pressure to work harder, faster, and longer than their counterparts in other industries.
Employees who work too hard risk burnout, where they’re mentally exhausted and unable to work. In the best case, burned-out employees can return to their positions after a break and restructuring of their duties. In the worst case, burned-out employees may quit entirely, seeking a position that provides more work-life balance.
To improve employee well-being, HR should develop a wellness program that encourages the fitness, mental health, and socialization of all its employees, making sure that their workload isn’t too stressful for them. Additionally, HR should work to build a positive work environment that’s supportive of its staff, such as by offering work-from-home options and creating systems to acknowledge employees’ hard work.
The IT industry is fast-paced and turbulent. IT companies must expend considerable effort to keep afloat all the innovations, regulations, and complications that crop up in the industry on a day-to-day basis.
However, a company is only as strong as its employees. For that reason, an IT company’s HR department would be wise to focus on employee retention, recruitment, learning and development, and well-being to bring out the best in its employees, driving company growth and prosperity.