There are several challenges that IT companies face in present days. While Cybersecurity threats seems to be on top of mind, and we all know that regulatory changes (regarding privacy, A.I., IoT and others) can show up at any moment, there are three problems that never seem to go away:
Looking into them with more detail, there is always a solution.
As the volume of data and the demand for computing power continues to increase, smaller IT companies may face challenges in scaling their infrastructure to meet these demands. This can result in performance issues, downtime, and other problems that can negatively impact the customer experience.
The solution is to move into the cloud. Even though I’m not a fan of a blond transition to this model, for some types of product the elasticity of the cloud and the extra layer of security is the obvious answer.
Technology is constantly evolving, and IT companies need to keep up with all the new technologies and trends, and decide if they are a threat or an advantage for the business. This can be a significant challenge, particularly for smaller companies that may not have the resources to invest in research and development.
The solution is to keep an eye in the reports from market research to hear about the trends and use cases that may be related to the core business or specific problems that will be faced in a near future.
The shortage of skilled workers in the IT industry is likely to persist. This will make it challenging for companies to find and retain the right talent. Companies may be looking for senior developers, with a record of success to maintain. But competition for those is huge. There is a shortage of talent, and they are in very high demand.
I’ll not say that companies need to improve engagement because HR consider engagement perks, things I don’t relate to. For me the main engagement is to do what marketing does. Instead of trying to find a senior talent with all the competition, they have to dive into the blue ocean. Find the juniors. No one is giving a chance to them so they are easier to catch and will be grateful so, as long as they are treated right and are given fair raises based on their experience, they will remain longer than the seniors.
They are also eager to learn and will not discard a new technology as a threat to their seniority because that seniority is 0 years.
Hiring and retaining talent in the IT industry can be specially challenging, but companies that prioritize employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, will be better positioned to attract and create top talent. Even if they leave, the company will get a reputation of being a great place to start and that treats the employees well. That will make the attraction of others talents easier.
How to improve their performance
Junior developers will provide a valuable pipeline of new talent, but they also require more support and guidance to reach their full potential. Here are some strategies that companies can use to improve the performance of their junior developers.
Provide training and mentorship
One of the most effective ways to improve junior developers’ performance is to provide them with a mentor. This can help juniors learn new skills and develop their knowledge base, and mentors can provide guidance, feedback, and support to help juniors overcome the barriers. Training can take many forms, such as online courses, workshops, or on-the-job training, but a mentorship program will help them grow faster.
Set clear goals and expectations
Setting clear goals and expectations is essential for juniors to understand what is expected and what they need to achieve. Those goals should be aligned with the team goals so they feel that their contribution has a real impact to the company result. They should start with internal projects as those are not seen by the client, lowering the reputation damage caused by errors, but contribution to the onboarding of the new collaborator by introducing the existing processes and the key stakeholders.
Provide regular feedback
The moment a junior developer posts on LinkedIn that they have have found a job, all the recruiters will try to take them from you. Providing regular feedback is vital for two reasons. One is to acknowledge their existence. Say that you know they are there and what they are doing. Make them feel valued by dedicating your time to their growth plan. The second is because when you help juniors understand how they are performing, they see that they still have a lot to learn from you. Good and regular feedback will not only improve their performance, but make them committed to the company.
Define opportunities for Growth
If at the interview you ask “where they see themselves in 3 years”, you must be able to provide an answer. Where do you see them in one, in two and in three years? Explaining the usual career paths help juniors set long-term goals for their careers. Offering opportunities for internal changes or advises about specializations, can help juniors develop new skills and gain valuable experience. This increase their engagement and job satisfaction.
Recognition and Rewards
Recognizing a good performance will help anyone to feel valued and motivated to continue performing at an high level. Of course it isn’t enough to say “good job”. Good an bad moments should be registered and used in the global evaluation (to decide about bonuses and promotions), but small victories can also be rewarded in the moment. An email to the company explaining what just happened. Letting the person take the rest of a sunny day… Those rewards help team members to feel appreciated, integrated, and help increase their engagement and motivation in their work. Do it often (when deserved) and they will stay forever.
In conclusion, IT companies that invest in the juniors’ development are likely to see improvements in their performance. Training, clear expectations, regular feedback, and recognition, are some of the basic strategies that companies should use to support the growth and development of their newest team members. Only like this companies can build a reliable pipeline of talent to meet the demands of the constantly evolving IT industry.