As conversations bubble up around the water cooler, in conference rooms across the United States and on the headlines of some the country’s largest business publications – technology is hot and tech talent is in high demand. The ongoing struggle seems to be the disconnect between employees and their environment, resulting in decreased retention and low-level production. CEOs are clamoring for the secret sauce to a highly productive tech team with the longevity to see out long term goals. They know that to be competitive in this technology driven world they need to be on top of the bubble and proactive not reactive. When high turnover sets in, it slows productivity and increases costs significantly, with skyrocketing hiring budgets.
The secret sauce, you must go beyond the match of job to skill. It’s necessary to pair individuals with organizations based on ‘multi-dimensional compatibility’ – the skill, the values, the work habits and the personality. The only way to dig past the basic match of job to skill is to gather raw data from people and organizations – then pair them based on real compatibility. I teamed up with The JDL Group to begin the excavation process. After several months of collecting data we decided to share the insight from our February 2014 report, which includes data from 275 tech job candidates. We discovered a few eye-opening findings that should make CEOs and HR departments take note.
Purpose Trumps Power
Yes, tech job seekers are more motivated by working on cool projects than the amount of pay they receive. Most of them likely feel they are paid well enough for their work and thus look for the quality and cutting-edge nature of their work. They are truly using technology to pull together seemingly unrelated issues into a coherent and high quality result. Tech job applicants have a deep desire for knowledge and real enthusiasm for curiosity and want to work in a secure environment where they are free to perform. Employers need to understand these key findings on motives and values if they want to recruit the best and the brightest in the tech job sector.
Share the Big Picture
From a personality perspective, the best in the industry both care about the big picture and understanding seemingly unrelated pieces of the puzzle as well as paying attention to the details and making sure everything is in its place. This combination of vision and details leads to higher quality outcomes that may take some additional time. This combination requires a deft manager who has the ability to both help motivate others to see the big picture while also pushing enough to move beyond details to a final outcome. This result suggests that IT leaders have as much to do with projects not being completed on time as their employees in the role.
Many think top tech talent employees are bold, arrogant, and/or aloof individuals. However, when under stress and pressure, they tend to slow down decisions, gather more data, and make sure they are moving in the right direction prior to moving forward. They tend to rely on past experiences and can become reluctant to take even reasonable chances, often for fear of negative evaluations. It is important for IT leaders and organizations to ensure they keep the environment as stress-free as possible, to keep issues out of the equation for the IT professionals, and make sure they understand when and how to push the envelope.
When solving problems, making decisions, and in general using their mental horsepower, tech talent tends to lean heavily on data, analytics, and past experiences. Employers should look for talent that will both use innovation when practical, but always lean on logic and analysis. It often will be up to the IT manager to help the employee make the final call as they often are more careful than impulsive.
Mapping culture and identifying individual personality traits for organizational growth through assessment is game changing. It’s important to recognize that talent trends vary from organization to organization and region-to-region and staffing certainly is not a one-size-fits-all commodity. Valuing the culture and individual assessment process will give marked net benefits for organizations and hired talent. Our society has made a shift; culture powers the operational engine with strategy riding shotgun.