IT hiring: How to find the right match

The most successful organizations know how to hire the right people. Here's why employee mission alignment is key to business success
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This past year has been full of employee retention and job security challenges. In the spring and summer, leaders were tasked with combating The Great Resignation, “quiet quitting,” and the ongoing technical skills gap. Now the tables have turned: Many employees risk losing their jobs with massive layoffs in the tech industry.

At its core, the employer/employee relationship must be mutually beneficial. Power dynamics are constantly shifting depending on the state of the job market, but to find the best match, companies and individuals should focus on aligning mission and values.

When considering a potential employee’s experience and demeanor, look for candidates who are personally aligned with your company’s overall mission. Likewise, if you’re a job seeker, look for companies that share your values, where you can leave your mark on the world while working toward a common goal in a role that challenges you to grow your skills.

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Employees want their work to make a difference

The ideal job allows employees to find fulfillment in their work, and employers can better retain employees when their companies have a strong vision and mission that resonate with potential candidates.

According to a recent Qualtrics survey, employees who say their company’s mission, vision, and values align with their own are far more likely to recommend their employer as a great place to work (70 percent vs. 25 percent). People may have different values, but most want to do good and work for a company that supports those endeavors.

Finding a career that fits your values, interests, and skills can be a long journey that involves soul-searching and transitions. For example, I did my Ph.D. research to better diagnose and treat patients with immune disorders and cancer. During that time, I developed my data science skill sets and learned that I enjoyed turning messy data into tangible results. Then I found a job where I can apply my skills and build healthcare software to help hospital staff and patients. It’s a perfect fit for my values, interests, and skills.

Employees want to work toward a common goal

A strong company mission is not only crucial to attracting talent, but it will also motivate existing employees to do their work well. I am motivated to push through the complex problems I face in my work, for example, because I know that my company is solving some of the most significant issues in the healthcare industry. My work ultimately brings a better experience to hospital staff and patients, which leads to improved patient outcomes.

In every organization, it is crucial for executives and board members to focus on agreed-upon goals and to share with employees how the company is meeting them regularly. Furthermore, employees seek a collaborative environment where they work together toward a common goal. Companies should ensure that their mission statement includes employee temperament and behavior values. Collaborating with people who are helpful, smart, and goodhearted creates a better work environment for everyone.

Employees want to be challenged (within reason)

The best employees detest boredom. If they feel that their work is unimportant or are not encouraged to grow, they will seek a better opportunity.

Intelligent, scrappy workers are often attracted to startups, allowing ambitious employees to try many hats and build new skills quickly. I am fascinated by the technical and intellectual aspects of my job and find them highly rewarding. My teammates and I don’t know all the answers as we work with new models, so we must test our hypotheses and rethink our approach.

While challenges are key to growth, it’s also important not to push employees past their breaking point. Leaders should put measures in place to encourage employee well-being and prevent burnout. In recent years, for example, many companies have offered more flexible work schedules, work-from-home opportunities, and new mental health benefits.

Mentorship programs are also an effective way to help employees set goals and accomplish their best work while providing resources that support their workload and help prevent them from becoming overwhelmed.

How to be an impactful company

To attract and retain the right employees, ensure that your organization’s mission communicates the challenges you solve and the goals you’re striving to achieve.

Review your mission statement: Does it effectively share how you solve challenging industry problems? Are you encouraging employees to grow and take on new tasks? Ensure these priorities are woven into the organization's ethos, starting with the leadership team.

Make your mission and values clear to employees to find the right match. Ultimately, the goal is to find a fit that’s fulfilling for employees and employers as you reach toward shared goals that will improve people’s lives.

[ Want more expert insights on leadership, strategy, career development, and more? Download the Ebook: 37 award-winning CIOs share essential IT career advice. ]

Yue Huang is a Senior Data Scientist at LeanTaaS, which provides predictive and prescriptive analytics and machine learning for health center operations. Yue holds a Ph.D. in molecular genetics and genomics and has over 10 years of experience in big-data research in healthcare.