When James McPartland took on the CIO role at Torchmark Corporation in 2014, he had a big task before him: Show the rest of the business that IT could help drive growth.
Finding and Retaining Talent in a Tight IT Job Market
Whether you’re searching for IT staff at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or a new startup, today’s job market has made it a tough challenge to find, hire and retain good people. Once your new employee is on the job, you have to provide onboarding, initial training, and a clear sense of their job responsibilities. To make someone feel truly productive and connected, however, you’ve also got to integrate that person into your company’s business strategy.
To a certain degree, the level at which you integrate a new IT employee into the business is role dependent. If you’re working with a senior IT lead who is by definition responsible for consulting with the business you obviously will take a different path than you would with someone responsible for implementing your next-generation phone system.
At Red Hat, I oversee 250 IT associates as well as 100 contractors. Part of my role is to ensure that our new IT staff are aware of, practicing and modeling a set of behaviors we call the Red Hat Multipliers.
- First, there’s Connection, which means making sure new hires feel they’re part of a community, connected by ideas and passions.
- Then there’s Transparency, because we want our leaders and the people managed by them to grow and to learn by sharing, not by withholding information. We try and model that behavior every day.
- Third is Meritocracy, which means the best ideas win. You earn respect at our company by making visible contributions rather than just by title or rank. We really try to live that as well.
- Fourth is Collaboration. Early on, we give people the opportunity to offer ideas and give feedback to both their peers and their leaders, and we encourage that.
- Finally, there’s Trust. Our managers and our supervisors have to lay the foundation for leading using the Red Hat Way and ensure that their people believe that they have their best interests at heart.
One way to sum up these Multipliers is to realize that everybody has a voice. That’s why we encourage our associates to engage and interact using our collaboration tools and to speak to the whole company. Often our newest hires have a unique perspective that others wouldn’t, so I encourage them to provide input, not just on IT issues but broadly across the company. We try to reinforce that in IT by having ongoing discussions via our internal collaboration tools about the nature of our business, how it’s changing, and what our challenges and opportunities are.
To learn more about hiring culture read this article on positioning your IT department for success:
Lee Congdon is CIO at Red Hat. Lee is responsible for the company’s global information systems, including the technology strategy, enterprise architecture, information technology governance, solutions delivery, and systems operations supporting the company.