Common HR Issues That Arise in Tech Hiring & Best Practices to Solve Them

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Head of People
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HR teams face many challenges across every sector, but the tech industry has unique conditions that make hiring even more complex. These HR issues are the most common to tech, but implementing key best practices helps you solve them.
Published on
June 6, 2024
Updated on
June 6, 2024

From securing tech industry talent to fostering a healthy company culture, HR teams are tasked with overcoming large-scale, multi-year goals in an organization. Offering competitive compensation, promoting a healthy work-life balance, and developing a steady talent pipeline have proven some of the greatest hurdles that HR professionals in tech have had to clear — and they've had to do it amid a tumultuous labor environment. Whether it's adverse economic conditions, changes in employee expectations, or the rise of transformative technologies such as AI, several factors continue to shape how tech recruiters and HR management acquire talent.

Failure to overcome these issues hinders your team's productivity and undermines the corporate culture you've worked so hard to create. To avoid that, HR teams must reevaluate every phase of their talent acquisition and management workflows, adding best practices to each layer of their operations.

What Constitutes an HR Issue?

HR teams ensure that an organization's employees are equipped with the tools they need to meet company expectations. Representatives may be required to handle a vast number of HR issues in areas such as the following:

  • Talent acquisition: Writing job descriptions, holding job fairs, and posting openings
  • Onboarding: Conducting interviews, processing paperwork, and performing background checks
  • Education: Training new hires, holding performance reviews, and updating obsolete policies
  • Benefits and payroll: Compiling benefits packages, determining compensation strategy, and processing timesheets
  • Performance management: Processing complaints, conflict resolution, and resolving employee issues
  • Learning and development: Providing reskilling or upskilling opportunities and creating talent development and advancement opportunities 
  • Compliance: Adhering to local and international labor laws and renewing certifications

HR assists with each phase of the employment life cycle, whether recruiting new talent, fostering a healthy company culture, or facilitating a smooth transition at the end of the candidate journey. Any disruption within that life cycle could constitute an HR issue, so employees must be willing and able to shift between core HR functionalities.

HR Challenges in Tech Hiring vs. Traditional Hiring

HR professionals in the tech industry face many of the same challenges that those in nontechnical fields face, but the demands in the tech industry often exacerbate them or cause them to take different forms. Some of the key challenges HR professionals encounter in tech hiring include:

  • Competition: The tech industry is highly competitive. A 2021 survey by Gartner revealed that 64% of respondents cited a lack of adequate tech talent as the primary barrier to innovation. Skilled developers are in high demand in today's economy, so companies must pursue every avenue with diligence if they hope to find the right talent.
  • Shifting employee demands: A retirement package and health insurance are no longer enough to satisfy the modern American workforce. Employers must facilitate a healthy work-life integration and promote their employees' mental health and wellness to create a company culture that will attract top talent—especially in a field as stressful as tech.
  • The pace of innovation: The tech industry has always been a rapidly changing field, which makes it difficult for existing developers to keep their skills up to date. This is especially true with emerging and disruptive technologies and the rise of AI, as advanced machine learning algorithms continuously evolve and require specialized skills.

Another HR challenge specific to the tech industry is the communication breakdown that often exists between technical employees like engineering managers and non-tech employees like HR or recruiters. Without a clear explanation of the technical requirements they should be hiring for, even seasoned HR leaders may hire developers who lack the right skillset. The result is a dampened team efficiency and higher employee turnover—which could be avoided if engineering managers and HR collaborated.

Critical HR Issues That Occur in Tech Hiring

Shifting employee demands and drastic personnel shortages often lead to specific HR problems in tech. HR departments in this field face a unique set of critical challenges that are pivotal to the operational success of companies and their cultural integrity and digital innovation capacity. Addressing these challenges requires a nuanced understanding of the industry's specific needs and the broader contexts in which these companies operate. Some tech-specific HR challenges include the following:

  • Staying competitive: The severe talent shortage means companies must offer the most competitive benefits packages possible to attract the top tech talent and successfully navigate change management. Medical insurance, retirement funds, and ample time off are benefits employers have offered in the past, but many modern developers are asking for more.
  • Managing a remote workforce: The high premium placed on mental health and work-life balance has led many employers to offer hybrid or remote work settings, but these come with managerial challenges of their own. Teams often collaborate more easily when they inhabit the same space, so managers must find creative ways to bring their development forces together as they work on the same tasks.
  • Long hiring process: With such a severe developer shortage, your candidate probably has multiple jobs to consider. Peer interviews, proficiency tests, and other hurdles make the tech hiring process especially lengthy, and developers may not be willing to wait for your offer. If HR teams don't actively work to shorten the onboarding process, your prospects may move on—which hiring metrics will reflect.
  • Lacking diversity: Insufficient diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI) is a significant challenge that the tech sector faces. For example, only 25% of software developers are women, and the numbers are significantly lower for Black/Latinx demographics. Diverse teams are more efficient and innovative, exhibit better decision-making, and have fewer biases than homogeneous ones, so development teams that lack diversity are missing out on potential gains in their people and processes—and, ultimately, their final products.

Another key challenge is the frequent communication breakdown between engineering managers and HR/recruiting. As non-technical personnel, HR is likely unfamiliar with some key hard skills and competencies that incoming developers must possess. Many assessment tools evaluate candidates' coding and technical proficiencies, but if engineering managers aren't consulted early and often throughout the hiring process, HR may still hire developers who lack the skills needed for the job.

HR Best Practices to Consider When Hiring Tech Employees

While these HR challenges make talent acquisition difficult, some human resources best practices can help. From leveraging recruiting tools that help shorten the onboarding journey to including technical personnel in the hiring process, leaders with sufficient HR experience may take several steps to overcome their tech-related challenges.

Identify the Most Important Skill Sets

One of the most damaging HR setbacks is finding that a new hire lacks the necessary skills for the job. This hinders existing workflows and efficiency and creates a negative employee experience. The result is diminished employee engagement for other team members, and lower employee retention soon follows.

The simplest way to combat these effects is to hire talent with the necessary skill sets the first time. That means HR representatives must consult with engineering managers to identify which aptitudes they should be looking for when growing an IT team and should consult with technical personnel along the hiring journey. This might include:

  • Receiving input as HR writes job descriptions and requirements
  • Holding peer interviews with technical personnel
  • Basing HR initiatives on their recommendations
  • Accepting their feedback when assessing current employees' skills gaps
  • Incorporating their knowledge into educational materials for training and development purposes

When HR and engineering managers collaborate, they better identify the skill sets their teams need. That leads to a higher-performing team and a more positive work environment.

Offer Competitive Compensation

Recent data suggests that tech-related professions are consistently among the highest-paying jobs in the U.S. Many companies understand the need to offer competitive wages and benefits packages, but they must also get creative with incentives that matter to prospects. That includes:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Gym memberships
  • Childcare
  • Extended parental leave
  • Recognition programs
  • Employee wellness initiatives

Given that one of the key challenges at work is the increasing number of stressors at work and home, benefits prioritizing mental health and work-life balance have become especially important. These reduce the likelihood of developer burnout, improve attrition rates, and create a company culture that attracts the top tech talent—but a competitive salary is still imperative.

Expand Your Search

Tech talent is hard enough to find globally, let alone locally. The tech shortage is global, so HR strategy must target previously untapped potential to add to their talent pipeline. That means they'll need to cast their acquisition net further than before. Some ways to do that are:

  • Allowing remote work to eliminate geographical boundaries
  • Implementing a flexible schedule so that developers work at their most productive times 
  • Minimizing experience requirements to allow newer developers into the field
  • Offering upskilling or reskilling initiatives to unlock the talent within
  • Considering non-traditional candidates who possess the skills you need but lack conventional degrees or experience

Talent marketplaces and recruitment agencies may also provide companies access to a larger talent pool that may not be as easily found through online hiring platforms focused on individual applicants.

Expedite the Hiring Process

Peer interviews, code assessment tools, and other tasks are part of the onboarding gauntlet, making the journey excessively long. When companies reduce the amount of time it takes to bring an employee on board, they increase their chances of making a hire.

Some ways to expedite the hiring process are:

  • Holding each interview on the same day
  • Leveraging recruitment tools that simplify the onboarding process
  • Conducting preliminary background checks
  • Building screening questions into the application to gain a better knowledge of the candidate from the start

Talent marketplaces are also beneficial in shortening the hiring process—platforms such as Revelo specialize in the HR processes and technical expertise it takes to bring developers on board. Tech companies streamline their onboarding processes and focus on product delivery by sourcing administrative tasks such as payroll, benefits administration, and onboarding to human resources management experts.

Maintain a Positive Company Culture

The best tech talent expects a healthy work environment and a strong engineering culture, so companies must diligently foster an environment that meets these needs. Some fundamental parts of a strong overall company culture include the following:

  • Creating an atmosphere where all voices are heard
  • Receiving input and feedback from employees
  • Giving recognition for all their hard work
  • Allowing space for them to express their individuality

Today's developers increasingly expect companies to practice social responsibility and implement values that reflect their own, so effective HR professionals must do their part to ensure that their company exercises sound ethics to the best of their control.

Consequences of Ongoing HR Problems in Hiring

Without these best practices, companies struggle to keep up with their competitors in acquiring top tech talent. It’s important to keep in mind that while human resources typically execute these practices to ensure that companies experience fewer consequences, there’s still a responsibility from leadership and tech team leaders to achieve stakeholder alignment so that HR is empowered to achieve their goals. Some consequences that unaligned organizations should expect include:

  • Increased attrition
  • Inferior talent acquisition
  • A deeper employee shortage
  • Greater burnout for employees who stay
  • Dampened company culture
  • Less innovation
  • Lower efficiency

While many of these consequences are detrimental to your operations, they can be avoided if HR professionals communicate diligently with engineering managers. For example, if HR consults with engineering managers regarding the technical skills required for incoming developers, they'll be better equipped to recruit and hire candidates who perform their tasks autonomously. That helps new employees feel more comfortable as they begin and improves the team's efficiency, likely elevating company culture.

Let Revelo Do the Tech Hiring for You

It takes a significant amount of resources to find the perfect fit for a team—and when you factor in the need for key technical skills and a global shortage of tech expertise, the problem becomes more complicated. HR professionals in the tech industry must get creative and find ways to attract and retain top tech talent.

Revelo's talent platform matches businesses with skilled developers across Central and Latin America. Our remote candidates are time-zone-aligned and rigorously vetted for technical skills, soft skills, and English proficiency, so companies that leverage our services know that they have access to developers who align with their operations.

Our experienced team has extensive knowledge of the tech industry's unique challenges. After selecting your candidate, we’ll assist with ongoing processes such as onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance and offer support throughout the developer’s time with the company. 

Contact us today to hire skilled developers for your upcoming projects.

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