How’s Your Project Management Process?

May 6th, 2012

Is your project management process not going the way it needs to go? For those who are looking at their current situation and wondering what can be done, it pays to learn where the weakness is first. Though you may know where the problems lie, until you find proof of the problem and then establish a plan for improving the situation, you will not find any improvement in this process.

In the engineering field, without the right project management process and technical staff being in place, your business will fail. However, without having a functioning and accurately working system, you are setting yourself up to fail just as much.

Project Management Defined

Having a project management process in place allows you to ensure any project coming into your business is properly managed from start to finish. These are your clients and this is your bread and butter. Without the help and guidance from trained professionals to guide the project from beginning to end, you may not even bother sending out bids on such projects. In short, you need the right people to do the job and a way to manage the process.

Establish a Project Management Process

The first step is to ensure the currently established system is working for you, and if it is not doing so, to find ways to make it work. It is a good idea to look for specific areas of concern. Where is the hold up? What is not working within the current system?

Here are some things to take into consideration.

·    Does everyone know the process and understand the role they play in it? Sometimes, a communication breakdown can be the biggest problem.

·    Do you have the right staff on hand for that type of project? If the project scope is unique or different, consider turning to a staffing agency to find the top quality engineering staff you need. This offers a short-term solution for the project’s management.

·    Find out where breakdowns are happening by talking to each person involved in the process. What struggles and concerns do they have? What limitations do they face?

·    Monitor the progress on your own. Sometimes, seeing things in action can help you to see where the underlying problem or concern is and to make near-immediate changes as they happen.

·    Do not get too overwhelmed or be set on doing things one way. Be willing to make changes as you need to. This can keep things in line going forward. Being flexible is a key component to success.

There are times when the project management process will not go the way you want it to. Your success depends on your willingness and ability to change and grow with the process as your company changes. For more tips on managing your projects, and having the specialized staff to handle each role, be sure to get in touch with Venteon today.

Keeping Up with the Demands in the IT Industry with a Contract Workforce

March 23rd, 2012

A contract workforce can greatly improve your IT staffing needs. As a business owner or hiring manager, it is not always necessary to bring on full time staff to manage a small problem. The entire process of hiring an employee is long and complicated. If you just need to tune up or update your IT technology, you do not need to hire a full team of employees. Rather, you may be able to get the results you need from a specialized contract workforce.

Why IT Contract Staffing Works

Contract workforce employees, or temporary workers, come in, do the job and are gone. There is no long term incentive to worry about managing. There are no high cost employee benefits to worry about during the process. However, there are some key benefits to hiring these professionals over others for your IT needs.

  • Hire an IT professional on contract to come in and update systems, as they need them. Updates are something many businesses put off because they take time and labor away from the tasks. Keep your staff busy and have a pro handle the upgrades required.
  • Do you need to manage those safety breaches or handle those software problems? If your business does not need a full time IT professional but just someone to come in when it is necessary, turn to contract workers instead of hiring someone. It could cost you less than hiring an IT company to do the work.
  • Installation of new equipment, software or other IT tools is often necessary. When you need to make a significant move to expand or to build on your current network, bring on a professional to help with the transition. This can be especially helpful when it comes to training of employees with new systems.

The key in using contract workforce is getting a team you trust. Ensure you can come back to the same team members whenever you need them. This can help to increase the overall successes you will have with using the company. Once they know the IT structure that is in your business then they can handle the concerns or needs that you have faster and within your budget.

If you do not need full time IT but you need to make changes to keep your systems working at the top of the IT industry, use contract workforce to get you to that point. What you may find is that these professionals can do the job and even offer all of the benefits of a full time professional (from managing those IT problems to offering advice on how, when and why to upgrade.) Do not overlook the value of temporary employees within the IT sector. This is especially valuable for any business that does not have a large IT footprint to manage in the first place.

Help Wanted: More Women to Work in the Technical Field

February 16th, 2012

By today’s standards, men and women are thought to be equals, but in the technical field, there are far fewer women. The risk here is if there are not enough women in this field, there may be a significant shortage of the talents and skills that women uniquely bring to the market. Those are skills this industry may be lacking in, some believe. What the IT field needs is more women working with it.

What’s the Shortage?

It is evident that there are fewer women in the technical field. Many of them have less confidence in their ability to be successful as compared to men in the industry. However, in a study done by Standard University, men are no more likely to succeed than women are. Women are also more likely to switch careers in this field than men are. They do so because they do not believe they are a good fit. The problem is, evidence indicates that the skills women possess may be more important to this industry than most realize.

Many women have these negative views because of what has plagued the country for hundreds of years: stereotypes. Some have believes that this field is more masculine and therefore that it is something that culturally or stereotypically they believe men should do because, in some way, men are likely to be good at it. That is not necessarily the case, though.

What Women Bring to the Technical Field

Interestingly, in some countries, the job of computing work is thought of as women’s work. This is what happens in Malaysia, for example. More women take these positions than men do. About 20 percent of all engineering students are women. What do these women bring to the table? Women’s creativity, intelligence and problem solving skills are all talents that the industry could benefit from having access to.

It’s Not Recruiters

Recruiters are not necessarily picking a favorite when they hire men, though. Rather, the women believe that they do not have what it takes. However, those who work in this field do well in it. They love their technical jobs. Many women love the thrill of being able to solve a challenging situation. Others have impressive success stories that far outweigh those of men in the field.

Leveling the Playing Field

In order for these particular types of opinions to improve, women will need to develop more confidence in the area of technical work. Attracting more women will benefit the IT field as a whole. For recruiters, this often means offering positive comments and ensuring women that the business and field in general are the right place to be. Many are encouraging recruiters to seek out women for positions to help knock down the stereotype that women cannot do this work as well as men.

Top 5 Hardest Jobs to Fill in the IT and Engineering Sectors

February 7th, 2012

Could we still be in an environment where so many are desperate for jobs that there are some fields still struggling to find employees? That is exactly what is happening in some specific fields. In IT and engineering, there are certain positions that command a certain level of experience and training that are in short supply in the general market. As such, those companies hiring in these fields are likely to find themselves struggling to make ends meet. If you are a recruiter, you will likely find it hard to find well-qualified applicants.

Hard to Fill Positions

There are numerous positions that could become hard to fill in the short term. In the fields of IT and engineering, though, the following are the most difficult to find qualified prospective for right now.

  1. Software engineers and web developers – demand is up and skills are not there in many instances. There is a growing demand in this field that education has not kept up with, though in the coming years, more applicants may become available as more students turn to these industries.
  2. Creative design and user experience – a lack of talent in this very rapidly growing field will likely continue to hold back those companies in need of professionals. It, too, may see improvement as more candidates graduate school.
  3. Analytics – always a challenging subject area, it is growing in intensity. A demand for qualified professionals is present in most areas and yet there are few candidates to fill key positions here.
  4. Product management – it sounds like it would be easy to fill but chances are good recruiters will find a lack of talent and experience present.
  5. Marketing – the ever-changing face of marketing is making it one of the most demanding fields right now. The scope of marketing continues to change at a rapid pace making filling these positions difficult to do at best.

What is making these positions so hard to fill? A number of aspects are contributing. First, there is the demand for more Internet-based focus in many of these fields. Everyone from individuals to small businesses, from large corporations to government entities needs websites and management of them. That demand is making it hard to fill positions. Over the next eight years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the fastest growing job category will be computer application software specialists. A 32 percent increase in professionals from the period of 2008 to 2018 is likely. That’s explosive.

Also contributing is the fact that technology is moving at such a rapid pace. It is hard to find professionals with not only knowledge, but also working experience in areas such as tablets and mobile devices – key applications for many of today’s biggest businesses. Without this knowledge base, many people cannot perform in the job. Yet, there are candidates working to enter these fields in the next years. The gap for the short term may be difficult for many employers to manage, though. Recruiters may find IT and engineering difficult to staff overall for these reasons.

2012 Hiring Predictions for the Information Technology Market

January 8th, 2012

Twenty twelve is looking to be another groundbreaking year for the Information Technology Market in terms of career opportunities. IT continues to be one of the fastest growing industries around the world, due to a demanding consumer market consuming technology at an ever increasing rate. Most recent figures in the USA show that from 2008 to 2018, the number of jobs in the IT sector is expected to explode at an astounding 53 percent. That means many more high-paying jobs with plenty of perks with employers who are searching for the best specialists in IT.

Here are some notable hiring trends we are seeing in the IT job market already.

Demand for IT professionals with specialized skills. As the technology market expands into new territories, we will continue to see a big demand for professionals who have specialized skills, training and product certifications. For candidates who want to leverage themselves for advanced opportunities and higher pay scales, it’s beneficial to go on to get relevant training through contract assignments, education, and internships.

More freelance and contract IT assignments. The world of technology is growing so fast, there are not enough people to handle all the projects that are created. As a result, there are many companies turning to IT recruitment firms, like Venteon, to find quality candidates who are willing to jump in to existing work in progress. This often means temporary contract assignments and freelance work galore.

On-the-job perks and fun work environments. One of the great things we are seeing within the IT market is the trend towards more on-site perks at technology companies. In order to attract more quality candidates, IT firms are creating fun and casual work environments, which tend to work well with technology pros. Additionally, companies are offering benefits like company-sponsored wellness centers, free food and drinks, daycare services, and more.

Security and application development IT jobs. The movement towards a more secure future for the Internet and the billions of people who use it, coupled with worldwide military activity, has led to higher than average numbers of jobs in information security. Add to that the demand for custom experiences in everything from mobile phones to social media and the rise in the demand for software “apps” developers is exploding.

If you are searching for a great job in the Information Technology market, there’s never been a better time to get in touch with a progressive IT staffing and recruitment firm like Venteon. Contact us today for more information and resources to launch your IT career in 2012.

 

 

5 Ways to Reduce Turnover in Young IT Employees

December 15th, 2011

If you’ve noticed a higher number of young IT employees leaving your company for others, then you may be experiencing “Millennial turnover”. These are employees in their twenties and early thirties who seem to get bored easily and tend to move on to what is perceived to be better opportunities. While you can’t stop all young IT employees from jumping ship, you can make things more interesting and rewarding. After all, the IT professionals of today have some of the best talent in the industry, so your company can lead the way to a bright future for all by retaining them.

Here are 5 ways to reduce turnover in young IT employee, and keep them productive.

Value young employees’ ideas. Millenials, and other young employees, react positively to having their ideas taken seriously by senior members of the IT team. They are a highly creative bunch who thrives on an environment where their work is valued. Take the time to ask for input on IT projects as often as possible, to keep your younger IT professionals engaged and focused on end results.

Maintain a fun, casual work environment. No employee wants to work in a stale environment all day, so consider the way you have your work teams set up. Freshen things up with a modern, fun office alternative with plenty of team building activities. Loosen up dress codes and allow for casual attire, to cut down the intimidation levels.  This helps keep your younger IT workers inspired and creative so they can flourish, and gives them a reason to come back every day.

Provide timely feedback. Younger employees thrive on continual feedback, both positive and negative. Take the time to review projects and processes with your younger IT employees on a regular basis, with guidance on how to become better. Match younger IT employees with more seasoned employees to provide ongoing mentoring and feedback opportunities, and you will likely see greater retention for the long term.

Create attractive incentives. There is a huge demand for quality IT employees today, and younger candidates know this. Therefore, they generally focus on companies that can give them the best incentives as well as experiences in this industry. Take a look at your company’s current offerings to see if there are additional incentives needed to attract and retain young IT professionals.

Keep the workplace healthy. One of the things that many younger IT workers enjoy is an active social lives. However, many spend too much time partying and then come to work feeling ill. To keep your younger IT workers productive and on board, encourage healthy lifestyles and attitudes both on and off the job. In this way, you can retain your best IT staff, and help them find a happier balance.

Want more ideas to make your workplace more appealing, and productive to reduce turn-over in young IT employees? Consult with the career and staffing experts at Venteon today!

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How a Staffing Company Leverages New Technology to Find You the Best Financial Candidates

November 21st, 2011

Recruiting today is an exciting field to be in, particularly because of modern hiring technology that has made it more effective than ever before to find great candidates. In the past, good candidates only came by way of referrals and exhausting hours of searching through networks. Now, staffing agencies have millions of candidates accessible through a wider array of channels. The best staffing agencies use these technologies to find great finance and accounting candidates for the benefit of their clients.

Let’s review just how professional staffing companies leverage new technology to find you the best finance and accounting candidates today.

Resume Directories and Scanners – Once viewed as a negative thing by some, resume directories and scanning software have evolved into being the tools of the trade for many recruiters. Resume directories and scanners help recruiters focus on the right candidates who have certain skill sets and backgrounds suitable for specific finance and accounting assignments. This makes it easier to match the right candidate to the right job.

Niche Career Websites – Job seekers today are everywhere on career websites hoping to land the right opportunity, which presents a challenge for recruiters trying to narrow down their list to specific skillsets. To get around this issue, recruiters searching for finance and accounting candidates can use niche career websites and online applications to screen candidates in advance.

Online Networks and Social Media – There has been a rapid growth of social activity online in the form of online networks and social media in the past several years. This has become a major tool for recruiters, especially with the addition of new recruiting and applications found on LinkedIn. Recruiters today use online networks to gather referrals for accounting and finance candidates, browse through social networking profiles, and invite candidates to apply for jobs online.

Applicant Testing and Screening Tools – Since many recruiting firms are under tight time and budget constraints, the task of testing and screening candidates can be handled by online applications. Most of the time, this is either done on the recruiting website or the contract company’s employment website. This separates the serious finance and accounting candidates from the casual job seeker, producing a higher caliber of candidate.

When looking for the best candidates for fill finance and accounting roles, your best bet is to work with a professional staffing agency like Venteon. We have the resources and networks available to help you find the right person for the job, all by use of the latest hiring technology.

Photo Credit: sippakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Current State of the IT Industry and High Tech Hiring

November 14th, 2011

The technology industries have traditionally been a bright spot in hiring of workers even in weak economic times. New innovations combined with increased consumer demand for high tech goods bring continued positive productivity to companies. The increasingly supportive role new technical equipment provides for all different industries has expanded. The internet has become a platform for marketing, commerce, and business to business relationships.

There are changes occurring in the landscape of hiring for the information technology fields.  Many local areas try to emulate the success of Silicon Valley by attracting high tech firms. Competition for technology jobs is increasing from other countries that have improved technical schools and education programs.

A Bright Spot

The IT and high tech industries have been usually seen demand for positions each year. (http://www.businessrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=36&subsectionID=99&articleID=14273) Continued growth in the field and constant change bring the need for trained, skilled people to the industry.  For some companies certain occupations like senior software engineers, data analysts, Web designers and application developers are rare and in demand. These jobs are traditionally high paying, secure positions. Even in an economic slump, these positions are still needed.

A Political Force

The demand for positions and the success of areas like California’s Silicon Valley has prompted economically depressed local areas to try and attract high tech industries and firms.  Austin Texas has drawn technology companies because a high quality of life and low cost of living. Albany, NY has seen  growth through nanotechnology  with investments of private companies and government funding. This local interest has also brought high tech firms into politics at national, state, and local levels.   (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/02/us/02bctech.html?_r=1)  High tech companies and new technology start-ups are considered an area of hope for some regions economically. These firms may become involved more than just in economic development.

Foreign Competition

The manufacturing industry had been hit hard for years from jobs being outsourced to other countries. Some analysts wonder if the same thing could happen in the IT industries. Cuts in aid to public university programs could decrease the pool of qualified candidates in employers in  technology fields can recruit from. ( http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/print-edition/2011/01/14/workforce-development-threatened-by.html)  Other countries such as India however are seeing continued job growth due to innovation.( http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tech-job-growth-in-india-and-the-us-2011-09-02?reflink=MW_news_stmp)  U.S. companies can now draw on an international pool of talent in these fields. How this affects hiring trends in the future has yet to be seen.

High technology fields are continuing to see continued growth and hiring trends reflect it. However, this growth has brought local, national, and international interests and issues into the matter. As technology becomes more prevalent in people’s lives, it will affect other aspects as well.

Make Your Performance Evaluation Process for Engineering Employees as Painless as Possible

November 7th, 2011

In most technology firms, every year, comes the standard performance review for all engineering employees. While this can be a somewhat nerve-wracking process, filled with dread on both sides of the fence, it doesn’t have to be. Annual reviews for engineers, while more technical in scope, can be a good time to identify strengths and abilities in core personnel to take on bigger projects.

First, realize that there is no one perfect way to conduct a performance evaluation for engineers or other employees, nor is there one perfect software. However, there are some performance evaluations that are more geared towards the nature of the work that engineers do. Look for a performance evaluation solution that is geared towards the project results and team efforts that most engineers engage in at work, rather than systems that have to do with sales numbers.

Secondly, consider that engineers have a wide range of project goals to meet throughout the year, so this is difficult to measure in terms of success. Rather than focus on actual goals in the performance evaluation, consider focusing on other valid skills such as ability to organize, lead teams and time management. These are the most critical aspects of being a successful engineer, and so an employee evaluation system can be better utilized by narrowing down the skills and traits in successful technology professionals in order to be meaningful.

Also, try to consider that time is a precious aspect of being an engineer; therefore the employee evaluation process should be as efficient as possible. Use an online employee evaluation system, with a brief meeting to go over results and goals for the coming year. Instead of having engineers fill out multiple forms, narrow down the questions to a set of three main areas that are pertinent to the job. Include at least one workable goal for the upcoming annual period to keep it simple.

Remember to keep all employee evaluations confidential and fair for all engineers as well as other employees. Never give one person special treatment due to past project performance, but rather look for ways to measure this performance as fairly as possible. Set reachable goals for all employees and make sure that support is put in place to make this feasible.

Consider the advantages of using Venteon to provide all your top engineering staff and conducting employee evaluations, to streamline this process and produce better long term project results.