If there is one thing technology and the internet have shown us all is the value of adapting. Legacy retail business is a great example — there have been some traditional brick-and-mortar companies that have struggled or shut down, but overall the retail industry as a whole has significantly benefited from the advent of innovation and the web.
But while most businesses today must utilize technology to the advantage in some way, doing so is another story. A particular pain point for virtually any organization is in how to select, hire and manage engineers, and build engineering teams that have the power and knowledge to get the job done. However, it can be more efficient and successful than it seems. A few strategies that can help:
- Know what you want — With technology, it can be hard to know how to make the things you want or need, but that does not change that you can be clear on what you need or want. Take time to have a sense of your technology needs or vision long before you begin the hiring process. It’ll help you better communicate and drive your technology or innovation needs, and put you in a stronger position to lead and direct those you bring on board for the job.
- Do the homework — The internet can be a powerful tool for learning about technology. While you do not have to become an expert in the field, taking a little time to do some research into what you feel you need or want can be an asset as you seek engineering talent. It can be as easy as typing a few keywords on a search engine and taking notes. If nothing more, it’ll help you have a stronger sense of what you want or need, and in some cases, assist in finding the right type of engineering help.
- Seek the right talent — Explore your options for job boards and other talent resources before placing your ads. While certain resources for finding hires and talent might be great in one area, there are many that attract and focus specifically on niches including technology and engineering. Ask peers, look around a bit, or consider working with a speciality staffing firm or head hunter — it can be worth it by finding qualified individuals for your position or team. Once interviewing, be sure to ask candidates about their process, how they report or communicate work, if they’ve structured projects in the past, work style and other elements beyond their technology skills and background.
- Set the perimeters — You may not be the technology expert in your organization, but you are essentially the ‘boss.’ Think about and establish what your needs are in terms of how team members communicate specifics, report on progress, provide in meetings, etc. before you hire. In doing so you will be able to set expectations and structure essential to your technology project.
- Be involved and engaged — Once your engineering team is in place, stay active, involved and engaged with them and their work at all times. Ask questions, read the reports and other updates they provide, keep an eye on budget, schedules, timelines and progress. You may not be a technology expert, but basic management and business skills still apply with leading and overseeing your technology team and project.