A practical guide to successfully growing an IT company in Lancashire

By GK

The rapid expansion of the UK tech industry means that growing an IT company in Lancashire is easier than ever before. The North West has benefitted from usually London-based firms moving there for more affordable business and living costs. The talent is following, but for the time being the market is very much candidate-driven, so recruiting top talent is still a challenge. However, with the help of this guide, you should be well on your way to establishing your business as a competitive employer for IT professionals thinking of relocating.

Identify your values and culture

Culture is arguably one of the most vital aspects of growing an IT company in Lancashire and finding a recruit who is the right fit. If implemented well within your recruitment process, your staff retention will improve, and worker wellbeing, motivation and productivity will be better.

34% of employees claim they have felt unwell due to work-related stress, and positive work cultures reduce stress. So, if you hire a team who fits your business’s culture, you should also see a reduction in the occurrence of sick leave.

To do:

Create a list of your values. There should be some link to your ‘why’. Create a list of your values. There should be some link to your ‘why’. If you’re not sure what your values are, ask your family or friends what they think to see if there are any patterns or similarities in their answers. If you know what culture you have or want to attain, think about what drives every day and the values that underline that drive.

For example, is there a particular reason behind you growing an IT company in Lancashire? Authenticity and honesty is the key to engaging potential candidates.

When reviewing applications or interviewing for a role, you should aim to understand whether the values of your company and the candidate align. If they do, the right candidate will share your passion and motivation to champion your company values day-to-day. For example, when you come out of an interview with a candidate, you never think first, oh their skills are impressive, you think, they were nice or I didn’t like their attitude.

Identify missing skillsets

If you’re hiring the same ‘type’ of employee each time, with the same skill sets and experience, you’re going to experience a skill deficit. Your team might not even recognise this deficit exists because they’re so focused on their own area of expertise, and they don’t have the knowledge to recognise what’s missing.

If you’re growing an IT company in Lancashire, you might be faced with skill shortages making it difficult to fill missing skillsets. Seeking passive job seekers through recruitment agencies is often the best option in these cases.

When you have the right balance of skills within your team, they can begin to collaborate. This is an opportunity for each employee to educate their peers on their own specialisms. Alongside a thorough development program, this will help develop ‘T-shaped’ employees, who have the depth of their particular specialism, and the breadth of knowledge, skill and experience to work outside of that area. Given time, your team should be rounded enough to develop specialisms outside of their original one, while being able to perform in many other areas too.

For example, imagine you’ve got a team whose skills are segregated by specialisms in ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, e.g. a techy and an IT salesperson. You’ll need to focus on broadening their skills, so they can collaborate and vary their responsibilities more. The result will be better team cohesion, idea sharing, and a broadly more capable team.

To do:

On a spreadsheet, create a column for imperative skills and a column for desirable skills. For the skills that your IT business has an abundance of, highlight green, the skills you could do with more of, yellow, and the skills you don’t yet have, in orange.

Most of the imperative skills should be a mixture of green and yellow, and the desirable skills are likely to be a mix of yellow and orange, depending on the size of your business. From this, you’ll have a clear picture of what skills you need in a new hire, helping you grow an IT company with effective people.

Delivering for your customers

Growing an IT company in Lancashire can’t be done without fulfilling the needs of your customers. What your customers expect should influence what you look for as you build an effective team. 67% of customers say that their standard of good customer experience is higher than it’s ever been. 76% say they expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.

It goes without saying that good experiences insight brand loyalty, and your team will constitute a significant aspect of how a customer interprets their experience. When you have a person with the right skills sets and the right attitude, how are your management skills? Are you able to communicate effectively what your idea of delivering customer experience is and what that process looks like? A new employee might have everything going for them but if they don’t understand the needs of the customers through lack of experience, how are you able to transfer that knowledge to them?

Attributes of the perfect techie

If you’re not sure what constitutes great technical candidates, you can read our articles on What makes a successful IT consultant? and What should you look for in a software developer?

Technical roles are never stagnant; technical employees need to continually expand their knowledge as new tech is continually introduced into the market. Therefore, it’s important to note that you should always prioritise skills and attitude over experience. A candidate who is otherwise lacking in specific experience can apply their transferable skills and exceed with the right training and most importantly, the right attitude.

To do:

Start by creating a list of what solutions you provide for clients and how you solve their problems or how you optimise their productivity. Then list skills that are required to deliver these solutions. Decide on the level of experience you need to implement the solutions or improve a client’s service. Then, as you grow an IT company and hire a technical recruit, you can cross-reference their skills against the services you provide to see if they’re a good match.

Finally, list a number of training solutions you can implement into the business so that skills remain high and it doesn’t become a one-time thing at the start when you’re most likely to be enthusiastic.

How to tell the world

As you’re growing an IT company in Lancashire, your sales team will be one of the main lines of communication to customers.
Some of your non-technical clients could have a difficult time understanding the technical terms that your tech team is used to. Your sales team needs to bridge this gap by avoiding jargon and explaining how they can solve a problem with the tech, not the intricacies of how the tech works.

Whoever you hire should have a positive attitude towards ongoing learning and development, be a natural problem solver and empathetic, amongst other qualities. Read our article about the Top 7 attributes to look out for with IT salespeople to find out what you should be looking out for.

To do:

List the top seven attributes of IT salespeople. If you haven’t read the article they are:

– Track record for success
– Relevant work experience
– Knowledge of technologies/solutions
– Location
– Culture and Values
– Attitudes and behaviour
– Career aspirations

When you interview and then later weigh up a sales candidate, you can give each one a score out of 5 for each category. It will help you get a clearer picture of which candidate is the most suitable.

Some categories might be more important to you than others. If that’s the case, rank them from most to least important when you list them. If a candidate scores 3/5 on the top-ranked and 5/5 on the lower-ranked ones, they might not be as good a fit as someone who scores 5/5 on the top, and 3/5 on the bottom-ranked categories.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this guide has given you a lot to think about as you’re growing an IT company in Lancashire with an effective team. If you’re planning to expand and hire a new team member, there’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision. It could impact on the growth of your whole business. IT recruitment agencies can take this stress away. They are already experts in finding the perfect fit for each business, based on their individual requirements. If you want to find the ideal match for your IT business, get in touch with GK recruitment.

 

At GK recruitment, we have over 20 years of IT recruitment experience. If you need help in recruiting a new IT employee, we can help you find your perfect match. Contact us on 01257 429 499 or email us at info@gkrecruitment.com.

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