6 Recruitment and Retention Challenges in the British Columbia IT Industry + Recruitment Strategies

The number of Information Technology talents in British Columbia is short of the desks needed to be filled by its IT Companies. Leaders are on the same page about the pain points in attracting and retaining tech talent. Here are the shared recruitment and retention challenges in the British Columbia IT Industry. And some recruitment strategies to improve the situation.

Recruitment and Retention Challenges

Brain Drain

British Columbia has a strong reputation for producing exceptional talent, but people leave to work elsewhere in Canada, the United States, or in other countries. The Covid situation has expanded this dilemma as people who still live in BC now work for companies outside the territory. 

Competitive Pay and Purchasing Power

The BC is often pitched as a great place to find cheap talent. However, the increase in demand for talent leads to upward pressure on wages. Multinationals can pay more, so it’s challenging to remain competitive for start-ups and scale-ups. 

Moreover, remote employees who used to live in Vancouver are setting their sights on BC as an affordable city. These movements increase the purchasing power and prices of goods and services in BC.

Evolving Nature of Work

Downtime during the pandemic has increased the appreciation for life among workers. Moms and dads enjoy spending more time with children, engaging in home projects, exercising, and gardening. They are not likely to give it up again. However, the BC business climate wasn’t built to accommodate flexibility.

Lack of Awareness

Tech companies in British Columbia are more laid back than their outside counterparts. As a result, they are unaware of the lucrative offerings that await software engineers and programmers elsewhere.

On the other hand, companies in Ontario and the US are becoming better at marketing themselves and creating a brand not just for customers but for employees as well. They have created reputations for massiveness and work-life balance that attract top talent. 

Getting to Scale

British Columbia companies lack the modern structure of an interwoven organization where initiatives can come from anywhere, and mentorship and employee development becomes a shared responsibility among managers from different departments.

Lack of Diversity

The local government has invested $15 million to train and develop women, BIPOC individuals, and persons with disabilities in IT. More can be done to nurture a diverse talent pool.

Recruitment Strategies

Faced with these challenges, here are some recruitment strategies.

•Consider Remote or Hybrid Work – Remote or hybrid work reduces employee stress. When done right, it need not reduce productivity. It also cuts costs on real estate and electricity costs. Moreover, remote work opens more possibilities for British Columbian companies to find talent somewhere else.

•Relying on Immigration to Fill in the Gap – Employers are looking internationally. Immigrants fill nearly one in three job vacancies in BC tech companies. Global talent programs are working very well.

•Working with Universities – Many employers build relationships with students early and develop them to be future employees.

Soft Skills Training for IT Professionals: Software Engineers, Programmers Miss Opportunities

Tech jobs are some of the most in-demand jobs in the world, but even the most skilled software engineers and programmers won’t get by on technical skills alone. Soft skills training for IT professionals is an urgent need for companies. 

Product development projects require large teams that act as well-oiled machines. Communication and collaboration lead to exemplary IT work. But some introverted guy who lives to code is left behind.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Out of 16 personalities in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), two personality types are likely to get into Information Technology, the INTJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging) and the INTP (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Prospecting).

These are introverts who are curious, analytical, rational, independent, and determined. On the other hand, they can be arrogant, dismissive of emotions, overly critical, socially clueless, impatient, highly competitive, and insensitive.

Soft Skills Training for IT Professionals

While the ability to manage software programs and analyze algorithms can get one started in the industry, major innovative projects by multinational brands need to bring several experts to the table, and they need to get along. This is where the IT person needs to develop empathy, let go of competitiveness, and seek to be a contribution.

While working with other IT personnel, sales, marketing, business development, and the like, the IT guy may need to develop patience in explaining technical matters to non-technical people and open-mindedness to see things from a financial and sales perspective.

Unfortunately, in a study by West Monroe Partners in 2018, 67% of HR professionals withheld a job offer from a talented IT candidate due to a lack of soft skills. Forty-three percent of regular employees said soft skills problems negatively impacted their working relationship with IT.

While a lack of empathy and communication skills is holding some tech professionals back from advancing in their workplace, and 98% of HR leaders say that soft skills are essential, HR isn’t offering more training to help the IT guy adjust.

7 Key Soft Skills

  • Creative Collaboration – the ability to acknowledge excellent ideas from others and add to them. The key concept is to view ideas as free spirits that can come from anywhere, including rookies.
  • Effective Communication – the skill of initiating friendly conversations on essential matters, offering suggestions from a place of kindness, remaining objective in high charged meetings, and explaining the technical matter to non-technical people
  • Adaptability – the ability to understand different perspectives, including that of finance and marketing
  • Emotional Intelligence – the ability to accept criticism and stay calm and objective in a highly charged atmosphere

No Technological Representation in Leadership

Moreover, there is a lack of technological representation in leadership–39% of firms lack someone with a technology background in their C-suite. This poses a significant threat as technological advancement equates to efficient systems and superior products in today’s business climate.

The most innovative companies have technologists in positions of power, able to defend investing in infrastructure, sticking to timelines, and not cutting costs on essential technologies. 

The Boeing Company

The Boeing Company is one example of an organization that failed to heed expert advice. 

In 1997, plane manufacturer Boeing acquired its longtime rival, McDonnell Douglas. Two of the most esteemed players in global aviation became a single tremendous titan. 

The cultural clash between Boeing’s engineers and McDonnell Douglas’s bean-counters led to a move away from expensive, ground-breaking engineering and toward a more cut-throat culture. The company devoted itself to keeping costs down and favoring upgrading older models at the expense of wholesale innovation. 

Twenty years later, two 737 Max jets crashed–resulting in the loss of 346 lives and the still-rising associated costs of around $10 billion.

01 Staffing specializes in temporary and contract staffing solutions for employers in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. Our programmers and software and data engineers are not only good at what they do, they are also dedicated, hardworking, and can adapt to your organization very well.

Check out our section for employers in Canada.

Mental Fitness: The Four Types of Stress and How to Manage Them

If you are experiencing pressure, worry, and anxiety, you are not alone. Everyone has their share of struggles. While tension is a sign of growth in small amounts, unmanaged stress leads to a lack of focus, productivity, and happiness. Here are the four types of stress and how to improve your mental fitness. 

Anticipatory Stress

You experience Anticipatory Stress when you anticipate bleak outcomes— such as the client not liking your proposal. You keep feeling something will go wrong. Anticipatory Stress can also be vague and undefined, such as an overall sense of dread about the future.

Mental Fitness Tips

  • Focus on the present. Take action on your proposal. Focus on two things: what the client needs and how can you fulfill it?
  • Develop self-confidence. Focus your energy on your strengths and keep nurturing them. Be honest with your flaws, and people will find you more relatable. Moreover, be daring despite your imperfections.
  • Employ the Law of Attraction. Create a dream board and visualize positive outcomes in your endeavors. Read “The Secret” to discover how the Law of Attraction brings forth abundance.
  • Gratitude. Appreciate small success. 

Situational Stress

Situational Stress occurs to you amidst difficulties when things are beyond your control, such as in conflict or losses. You may find yourself in an intense meeting, being laid off at work, or being embarrassed in front of everyone. Situational Stress may be sudden, and it can catch you off-guard. 

Mental Fitness Tips

  • Focus on the solutions that are within your means. Argue, accept, or compromise. 
  • Hone your problem-solving skills through leadership books or by learning from your seniors. Practice making quick decisions. Stay aligned with your goals and priorities during intense meetings. 
  • Calm yourself with food, music, or rest before making important decisions. 
  • Communicate better during stressful situations. Focus on the solution and avoid the blame game. 
  • Become more self-aware. 
  • Tell yourself, “these too shall pass.”
  • Start doing breathing exercises.
  • Sweat it out. Rest when you need it. Then, push yourself to go out for a walk. 

Encounter Stress 

Encounter stress occurs when you worry about coming across an unfriendly face — a critical officemate or a meddling aunt. Encounter stress can also occur amidst clients, especially if the company is not doing well.

Mental Fitness Tips

  • Increase self-awareness. If an officemate comes across as annoying, reflect on your triggers and assess whether your emotions are within reason.
  • Manage the situation like a champion. If an officemate acts like your boss, try being honest with them while remaining calm and amiable. Ask a neutral teammate for their opinion. If the team agrees with you, pull your bossy colleague aside and nicely tell them what the team thinks. Communicate from a place of concern. If all else fails, ask your boss to help. Stay polite and objective. 
  • Develop greater emotional intelligence. Understand where people are coming from. Some people may overreact to situations because they have traumas. A person who talks too loudly may be battling insecurity. 
  • Know your limit. Try taking a break when it’s too much.
  • If a customer overwhelms you, take a coffee break or talk to an office friend.
  • Foster camaraderie with officemates through social events. 

Time Stress

You experience Time Stress when you worry about time, or the lack thereof. The number of deliverables on the table can be overwhelming. Common examples of Time Stress include worrying about deadlines or rushing to avoid being late for a meeting.

Mental Fitness Tips

  • Get a planner. Make a to-do list. Prioritize high-value tasks — jobs that will help the company, team, or client more. 
  • Break down big tasks into small, doable tasks. 
  • Read Eat that Frog” by Brian Tracy
  • When given multiple tasks, ask your boss what to prioritize.
  • Set aside time for deep work. Avoid distractions, including social media. Manage your phone alerts. Go to your settings and turn off unimportant notifications. 
  • Learn to say no. 

Time Stressed? Don’t do all the work! Hire a remote worker today and improve your mental fitness! Explore our packages

 

How to Protect the Well-Being of Your Hybrid Workforce

When times change, it is the perfect moment to shape a culture. Companies that focus on employee well-being engagement are well-suited to attract the best talent in the generation of hybrid workforce. 

The challenge is understanding and supporting employees who have faced immense changes and stress in the past two years.

A 2020 study from Oracle found that “the COVID-19 pandemic has created the most stressful work year in people’s lives, negatively affecting the mental health of 78% of the global workforce.”

As you transition into hybrid work, be transparent to employees about the learning curve and encourage feedback to minimize stress for everyone. Take it slow and make progressive changes as we all face the unknown. 

Here are five essential components of a hybrid workforce:

Employee Confidence and Success

Lead with empathy and humanity. Bosses who shine are people’s champions and coaches — a leader that you can open up to and trust because they will protect you. 

MIT Sloan determines that the four aspects of leadership in the future are conductor, catalyst, coach, and champion. Their job is to support, remove roadblocks, and foster well-being. 

The traditional image of a manager as a slave driver is outdated. Companies have to choose leaders who inspire and cultivate trust — not managers who see burnout as a badge of honor. Long-term, quality work and consistent performance contribute better to company success.

Tip:

Create guidelines to support employee well-being with management training, support, and formal reviews that value work-life balance.

Well-Being

Learn what matters for your employees. The recent workplace changes have opened the room to negotiate employee benefits. 

Employee needs vary by gender, cohort, and several other factors. Millennials appreciate work and life balance, while Gen Zs are interested in higher monetary rewards.

In a research by SHRM, 60% of employees place importance on mental health in selecting their next employer. This comes after the pandemic-induced isolation has triggered loneliness, anxiety, and depression. 

This is especially true for single millennials and new hires who are yet to form relationships with coworkers. 

A hybrid work model reduces isolation. However, it takes more than this to cultivate a culture of openness and inclusion in the hybrid workplace. Encourage socialization at work through virtual events and use tools such as Microsoft Teams and Google Workspace to encourage collaboration. 

A streamlined, supportive onboarding program is helpful. Udemy for Business provides tools to upskill employees for digital collaboration. Recognize the importance of employee onboarding and psychological safety. Keep tabs on the well-being of your employees.

 

Make IT Support Easily Accessible

Removing roadblocks is one of the essential tasks of a manager. Help employees through technical difficulties, so they focus on the work that matters. Have your IT Staff set up Microsoft Teams or Google Workspace for collaboration. Centralize information through Cloud-sharing with Microsoft Azure, AWS Cloud, Google Cloud, or Oracle Cloud. Let them know who to contact if something isn’t right.

Explore long-term and on-demand IT Staffing options with 01 Staffing. 

https://www.01staffing.com/employers/

Organizational Culture and Structure

A recent McKinsey study found that “more than three-quarters of C-suite executives expect the typical ‘core’ employee to be back in the office three or more days a week while easing the transition.

Employees feel differently about returning to the office. Those with household responsibilities are more burdened by the commute and adjusting to regular business hours. The preferences of introverts and extroverts vary widely, and women are more likely than men to want to work from home.

Tips for Hybrid Work:

-The most popular hybrid work management plan assumes three days per week in the office and two days at home. But some do it monthly, assuming a certain number of days in the office and at home.

-Manage work and communications fairly. Avoid a two-tier system where employees in the office receive preferential treatment.

-Centralize information through Cloud-sharing. 

-Conduct all meetings online. Train employees on tools such as Google Workspace and Office 365, so they can share files, edit together, chat, and conduct business in one efficient virtual workspace.

Communications

In a hybrid workplace. Trust and accountability matter. Tools like Monday.com or Microsoft 365 let managers and teams assign tasks for better visibility. Everyone should know who’s working on what to establish accountability and request updates. 

Establishing tasks and asking for regular updates is more productive than conducting daily meetings that do not result in outputs.

Create group chats for different tasks to ensure that only people directly involved in the project are required in the meeting room.

Communicate company and department goals to everyone to encourage initiative and one-mindedness. 

4 Ways to Improve Communication 

-Leaders should communicate regularly, preferably weekly, to subordinates

-Set expectations and share information ahead 

-Meet on video once a week. Share detailed instructions on the email and use chat for quick updates. Attach supporting files on chat and emails. -Use the Microsoft 365 version of Word, Excel, and Powerpoint to edit files together and provide mentorship. 

-Everyone should know the vision of the company by heart. Encourage discussion of business trends and how it affects the company. Create safe spaces for sharing ideas.

 

Explore Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 options for Hybrid Work with 01 Remote.

https://www.01remote.com/managed-microsoft-365/

 

5 Great Mentors You Can Find While Working Remotely

Working in the office is easy. It’s a walk in the park — Jurassic Park. Seriously though, one of the more difficult challenges of working is keeping up with everyone. Even when you are new in the office, no one will wait for you to shape up. You have to learn the ropes and provide value to the team. Having great mentors makes a lot of difference. 

Traditionally, your boss is in charge of keeping you up to speed through coaching and counseling. Coaching is imparting technical knowledge and experience, while counseling is correcting errors, especially behavioral ones. 

Working from home has lots of benefits. It’s comfortable. It fosters a healthy, family-oriented lifestyle and makes work-life balance possible. However, one of the downsides of working from home is that it dilutes company culture and decreases mentorship opportunities. 

However, nothing is impossible for a gladiator in suit. If you want to maximize your potential and amplify your growth, seek mentorship. People are willing to help you. 

Here are five great mentors to learn from while working from home

Your Boss

Keeping your boss happy is one of your jobs as an employee. This is the hard truth. You need to be on your boss’ good side to gain positive evaluation and be recommended opportunities.

Telecommuting has made it more challenging for your boss to reach out to you and provide mentorship. However, you can re-establish this relationship by initiating communication. 

Whenever your share a report, always assure your boss that feedback is welcome and you look forward to it. Revising may increase your workload, but it will increase your value as an employee in the long run. 

List down things that you are in doubt about, and run them over when you get a chance to consult with your boss. If your boss is busy, summarize everything and present them as briefly as possible. Think of ideas and possible solutions to the problem and present them to your boss.

Your Top Salesman/ Industry’s Best Performer

In many cases, the formula for success has been tested and proven. Learn fast by learning from the best. Seek out your best salesman, your top engineer, your best chef, etc. Ask them for tips and apply them to your life immediately. 

Books

Use the time you saved from no longer traveling to immerse yourself in books. Alternate between books about self-development and books about your industry. Fiction helps for character building. 

Your Friends

One of the benefits of working from home is seeing your friends and family more often. This has made life more enjoyable for many of us. However, never underestimate the power of peer influences. It is human nature to mimic what you see around you. Seek out good company as much as possible. 

Moreover, be mindful of who you follow on social media. Follow artists, scientists, authors, coaches, millionaires, etc. You’ll be surprised how much value you can get from your feed in the morning.

Online Coaches and Learning Platforms

The internet is a great equalizer. Nowadays, knowledge is easily accessible online and you are a course away from developing a high-value skill that can advance you in your career. 

Here are some high-value skills. Take note, you don’t need to be an IT graduate to learn any of them.

  • Excel
  • Data Science
  • Foreign Languages
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Analytics
  • Machine Learning
  • UX Design
  • Web Design
  • Digital Asa

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7 Ways to Accelerate Your Work-From-Home Career

Working from home does not equate to staying in the same position forever and living a laid-back lifestyle for the rest of your life. In the modern workplace, EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE! 

DARE TO DREAM! Be the millennial that proves to the rest that age isn’t a drawback and a work-life balance is possible. Be the employee who climbs the corporate ladder while working from home. Be the entrepreneur who unearths the next unicorn. And be the boss who develops employees to become even better.

Post Your Schedule on the Wall

Nothing motivates you to take action more than having a clear idea of what you’re supposed to do next. 

Write down your tasks for the week. Plan which tasks you need to accomplish each day. Stick to your schedule and reward yourself with a Netflix episode at the end of the day.

Have a Dedicated Workplace

Creating space for each endeavor directs your focus.

A perfect bedroom is free of clothes, noise, clutter, and gadgets — and has the most comfortable bed, dark curtains, and temperature. 

Similarly, an inspiring work desk has pens, notepads, work comforts, and enough space for you to be on your laptop, take video calls, and write down notes.

Dress For Work

Invite inspiration by preparing yourself for work. Take a bath, wear decent clothes, and be at your 100 percent.

Don’t Overeat

Being at your best make you feel at ease when talking to people. Always be ready to meet clients and colleagues. 

Look forward to healthy and delightful meals during breaks. But resist the temptation to eat while working.

Take Meaningful Breaks

A well-lived life gives you more stories to share. Engage in a hobby with family. Spend quality time after work. Avoid binge-watching a single series. Instead, curate a collection of series and movies from different genres that can widen your perspective. Seek learning even as you entertain yourself. Travel. Be a lifelong learner.

Keep Learning

The world unfolds as you read this article. Blockchain is silently revolutionizing the finance and health industry. Artificial Intelligence is changing the way we do things. Data Science jobs are becoming more and more available and high paying. Opportunities are being created and those who find themselves ready to embrace them as well-placed for growth.

Invest the time you saved from no longer traveling for work into learning. 

Eat that Frog

One of the challenges of working from home is being unable to fully collaborate with skilled teammates and ask your boss for guidance as much as you would have liked. So, you may get stuck when a difficult task comes in.

According to Brian Tracy, the key to facing challenging tasks is to break them into smaller pieces. So, when you begin your day in the morning. Start with the most important, most difficult task. Break it into pieces, and Eat That Frog.