Enterprise software company TechnologyOne has turned its recruiting focus to graduates and promoting them up the leadership ladder instead of hiring outside staff and integrating their career “baggage” into the company.
While the IT industry is continuing to grapple with a skills shortage, Adrian Di Marco, executive chairman at TechnologyOne, told Computerworld Australia the change in its recruitment strategy is not due to the skills shortage. Instead, he believes hiring graduates is a more effective model for growing the business.
“We can get [staff] – that’s not the issue. The issue really is the fact that we just don’t believe it’s as good a model as growing your own people,” he said.
“When you bring people in that are much more senior, they bring a lot of … baggage with them and it’s hard to mould them into a culture. When you’re a small business and you can’t make that investment, then you have to do that.”
With 900 staff, Di Marco said TechnologyOne was now at the size that allows it to invest more money into training staff, with around 90 per cent of staff placements now graduates. This has been a significant change from several years ago, when most of the company's employees were brought in from outside the company, with very few graduate recruitments.
“I think our culture got watered down … [and] I don’t think it served us well,” he said. “When you promote people internally, the conscious decision you make is they don’t necessarily need to have all the skills that someone from outside would bring, but they do have all this rich knowledge of the company and the values.
“What we’ve got to do is supplement that with some mentoring and training to bridge the bit that they miss. But that’s a small price you pay for the benefits you get. So recruiting external people in senior positions now is very, very rare [for us].”
Next year, TechnologyOne will be looking to hire 10 graduates.
However, Di Marco said there are several challenges with hiring graduates. For example, they need training at each stage of their development. To help overcome that challenge, TechnologyOne established a training ‘college’ around 12 months ago to focus on professional development, technical skills training and cultural change programs.
Di Marco said it costs around $1 million per year to run the college, with around one third of TechnologyOne’s staff (300 people) passing through it each year – graduates and longer term staff moving up the leadership ladder.
“It is always easier just to go and get a mature person in who can tick all the boxes and just come in and do the job, but the end result is not going to be great if you look at three or four years compared to growing your own people,” he said.
“You’ve got to have the graduate recruiting program, you need buddy programs [and] mentoring programs … where they can get the training for new roles as they move up the ladder, so a lot of stuff has to happen.”
Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0
Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU
Take part in the Computerworld conversation: LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.