As companies look for ways to improve their businesses in a slow, recovering economy they must take a look at their IT departments.. Business strategies have changed as a result of new buying habits both by consumers and other companies. Re-evaluate your organization’s current IT talent with these new business strategies in mind. Then, take the necessary steps to ensure that the company’s talent acquisition process and corresponding vendor utilization is all it should be in order to secure the best talent currently available. The best talent is always in demand, regardless of economic circumstances. Never the less, the current economy can make top performers more affordable. Consequently, this is a good time to optimize your process and potentially upgrade your talent. Don’t let a crisis go to waste. Take advantage of the opportunities our current economy provides.
So where do companies begin to optimize IT resource talent acquisition? Before beginning any evaluation of staffing vendors, the entire talent acquisition process must be examined. How was the process formulated? Was it ad hoc, or was its genesis the business objectives of the organization? A well-thought-out talent acquisition process, aligned with business objectives, will best serve the needs of the organization. To be sure IT resource decisions are made with company objectives in mind, look at everything from how position requirements are created to the evaluation of the final slate of candidates.
Obviously, talent acquisition is broader than staffing vendor usage, and every avenue with which a company recruits talent must be examined. However, a good process must be well defined. Keep in mind, one process does not fit all. For example, typically smaller companies can often afford more flexibility in their process, while larger companies may need to impose more controls to ensure consistency.
Once a business has ensured that its talent acquisition process is aligned with its business objectives, it can more effectively evaluate current staffing vendors. The downturn has been tough on many IT staffing firms. A company’s current vendors have possibly experienced some difficult times and the result may be that key contacts within these firms are no longer there. If this is the case, it’s not only a good time to evaluate existing vendors but also conduct a review of potential new IT staffing firms.
The size of the organization and number of planned hires in a given fiscal year should dictate the level of formality with which a company conducts the staffing vendor evaluation process. For example, does the organization need a structured RFP or an informal poll of its hiring managers to determine the vendors with whom it works most effectively? Regardless of the level of formality, here are some things to consider in the staffing vendor evaluations:
• What is the IT department’s discretionary spend? Organizations should avoid being the smallest client of a large, national firm or the largest client of a boutique with limited resources.
• What type of IT professional is the department looking for? Many vendors specialize in certain skill sets.
• What are the selection criteria and the metrics by which vendors will be evaluated? Some considerations are total placements, total fulfillment ratios, speed and price.
• Have the intangibles been considered? Identifying a good fit for corporate culture can be as important as identifying the right technical skills. Does the vendor understand your corporate culture?
• How many vendors does the company need? Too many can bog down the process and render you less important to each vendor. A few well-chosen vendors can be far more productive than a scatter-shot approach.
For many organizations, staffing vendor usage is an integral part of hiring and/or contracting new IT employees with critical skills. It’s well worth the effort to ensure an organization’s IT vendor usage is optimal.
Today’s economy provides some opportunities, not the least of which is upgrading IT talent. Aligning the IT resource acquisition process with business objectives and optimizing staffing vendor usage will help a company take advantage of the current availability of talent and be more competitive heading into recovery.
James E. Thompson is president and CEO of The Insource Group, an information technology resource provider. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Seen In the Fort Worth Business Press