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IT department structure for small companies

Maksim Shalamov
09-07-2020 11:14
IT department structure for small companies

Hiring IT employees for a small company

We are going to talk about a complicated topic here – hiring IT employees for a small company. Such companies may make mistakes thinking that they are not any different from bigger companies in terms of abilities, perception and/or position. However, it’s not right. The resources of big companies are much more vast and it lets them offering the conditions of work and salaries higher. A lot of people are lured by the idea of working in a big company, getting to the top, become a head of the department and see how such companies run. However, there are people who would be attracted to your company and you should organize competitive work conditions. The people at your hub are going to get the job and be proud of what they do. You need to create your own approach. Not all of the people like working in big companies. Sometimes people are tired of complicated processes and want to work more flexibly so they could see the result sooner. This possibility you need to underline when hiring. Don’t try to compete with moguls.
Here I would like to give you some basics you should be aware of when hiring to the IT dep of a small company.

So, here’s what you need to pay attention first:

  • The department should have the exact minimum of people for high performance. Huge number of employees is too expensive for small companies. You won’t have that many tasks as well. When hiring a lead avoid a person who used to (or wants to) head numerous departments. See if they want to adapt to new conditions. Otherwise you are going to get a lot of requests for hiring more people in order for them to feel more prominent (and in this case they are simply heading towards right direction for him/herself – without any consideration for the company). Try not to hire people who feel good just with a lot of employees below them. This is going to frame you a lot. However, there are some minimum requirements when it comes to the lower amount of people you need. Hire two people of each role (developers, designers…). Your business should not be at risk because of the sick days or annual holidays, not talking about dismissal. Obviously, you can’t have two leads, but you can help your lead to raise a deputy.
  • Hire result-oriented ones. A few people have this essential quality. No matter what experience or skills a person has. Some people try to make things faster and better, the others complicate things or over research it (just in case some new framework will make their lives better). At the end the first group gets to the point faster and your company becomes more competitive on the market. The second group may consist of the smartest, but they finish late or demand a lot of effort from their management to finish at all. In order to distinguish one group from another, you need to talk to people, see their preferable working process and find out how they solved problems at their previous workplace. If you need any help in hiring people, we can assist you.
  • Business dep doesn’t care about technology stack. They care that a task can be carried out on it. In other words they don’t care if it’s written on Python, Ruby, PHP or any other language or if you’re using Postgres, Mongo etc. The most important is to make things work as they should and so the new features were brought in accordance with deadlines. This means that if you are not a professional in this area, leave the decision to your Teach Lead. That’s why you hired this person. The only advice is to avoid stack abundance on your project (i.e. a lot of various programming languages, databases etc.) – thus eventually you will need a lot of specialists with different competencies to support your project.
  • Don’t hire only leads and seniors. This is going to cost you a lot in terms of motivation and retention. You won’t have enough of difficult tasks for them and you won’t be able to give them subordinates. All this is going to demotivate them a lot.

Some typical issues with hiring people to small companies

Let’s speak about typical issues with hiring people to small companies. The main issue is competition with the more prominent players on the market. It’s going to be this way, and you need to understand that every company is desperate for people (and here we are talking about the people who are able solve your problems).
So, what issues may come up when we are talking about hiring:
  • The salaries in IT world are growing as hell; you need to be constantly aware of this. With the pay below the market you won’t find a strong team.
  • Choose people whose wishes you can make true. In other words if a person wants to be promoted 5 times this year and you simply don’t have such a hierarchy, don’t fool with his/her expectations. At the end you’ll have a disappointed employee. If a person is looking for a big team – it’s not your perfect hire for now as well.
  • Huge corporations have a lot of perks besides the salary. Also they offer big hierarchy and a lot of people.

What do you need to remember

It doesn’t mean you should sit tight and throw your plans to the trash. You should just be aware of a couple of things:
  • Offer the real market salary – don’t try to wrap candidates around your finger. This way you are going to get demotivated employees and a bad reputation out there (and it will happen quite quickly because of online communications).
  • Prominent players are not everyone’s dream. Hierarchy and bureaucracy can make people to change the job or even avoid such companies whatsoever. Those people are your target audience. Don’t worry, this type of employees includes both strong and weak specialists, but their overall amount is not that small anyway. After hiring such people always remember to discuss all the improvements you want to implement. They may be perceived as a bureaucracy sometimes (i.e. precise planning of the tasks). Don’t worry, all the reasonable changes are going to be adopted and all the questionable ones will be pointed at. Just listen to your team.
  • Don’t play with people’s expectations. In small companies the mood of a team is important. If you have hired a person to lead two developers, he/she should lead them. If he/she doesn’t do that, give them a clear performance feedback. Another example is when you promised a bonus upon completion of a task. In this case you should give it to him/her when they have met an objective. Thus, people are going to value your company for an openness and truthfulness. It will pay you back with the motivation and high employee retention rate.
  • Motivate good employees. When we are talking about big companies, there is no time to watch every employee closely. In your case you are actually able to help a person grow, strengthen his/her motivation and wish to stay with you. It’s important to give a person the feeling of responsibility, show that they are needed. You also need to arrange the room for employees’ growth (you offer market salary, right?).
Again, if you need help with the choosing of stack or hiring people, you can always turn to the ones who have experience with that.
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