3 common recruit, train, deploy mistakes and how to avoid them
Recruit, train, deploy (RTD) has been an essential part of talent management strategy for tech teams over the last decade. It’s rise in popularity has coincided with exponential growth in demand for tech talent which universities have simply not been able to keep up with, resulting in significant skills gaps in the early stages of the technology career ladder. In response to this, many businesses both large and small have adopted recruit, train, deploy to navigate the war for tech talent and get access to high potential individuals who have the aptitude and drive to succeed in tech.
However, like any recruitment strategy, traditional recruit, train, deploy poses challenges that businesses must overcome to achieve successful hiring and long-term health for technology teams. They’re all challenges which can be overcome with the correct structures and strategies in place, however if ignored they will result in high consultant churn, wasted efforts in onboarding and ultimately, lower ROI.
At Bright Network Technology Academy, we partner with leading businesses to deliver highly effective recruit, train, deploy that breaks the mold of traditional offerings, resulting in high impact and high retention recruitment for our partners. In this article, we discuss three of the most common mistakes we see businesses make when utilising recruit, train, deploy and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not Defining Clear Job Requirements
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when using the recruit, train, deploy strategy is not defining clear job requirements. This is an easy trap to fall into when recruiting entry level talent, especially if you’re expecting them to work on various projects. However, it’s a trap which is key to avoid. Without a clear understanding of the job requirements, it’s impossible to attract the best candidates, meaning you’re missing out on the best talent. Clear job requirements aren’t just essential for attraction though. They also increase efficiencies in when hiring, as candidates will understand if the role is right for them or not before interviewing, reducing wasted time for hiring managers throughout the recruitment process.
In addition to efficiencies in the hiring process, clearly defined job requirements are also essential for achieving high retention rates and velocity in your teams. Without clearly defined requirements, it’s easy to mislead a candidate with what their roles does/doesn’t include, which in turn could lead to a mismatched skillset. Our recent research with 14,000 UK students and graduates also revealed the damaging effect mismatched roles can have on employee satisfaction and output, as 27.4% of respondents said they would be unwilling to complete work that is outside of their job description.
Mistake #2: Not Providing Sufficient Learning and Development
Another common mistake businesses make is not providing sufficient learning and development for their employees. This is often due to a common misconception that recruit, train, deploy employees will simply hit the ground running. However, RTD employees are at the start of their career in tech. This means they require ongoing learning and development to help them hone the skills that they have begun to learn while on a tech bootcamp or similar. Unfortunately, many businesses using RTD lack the capacity to provide the training new employees require, resulting in reduced output and decreasing employee satisfaction over time.
This issue is often made worse by a lack of clarity around training responsibilities between your business and your RTD provider. Many businesses assume the responsibility lies with the trainer, while providers do not offer ongoing learning and development once a candidate has been deployed.
You can overcome this common mistake through three clear steps:
Step 1 - Complete an L&D/onboarding audit. Be clear about the level of training and onboarding you can realistically provide to RTD employees. This should not be an aspirational list, as this step is designed to ensure you have a realistic view of your capacity to provide onboarding/training and what will be included within that.
Step 2 - Select a training provider that offers the right L&D. Every RTD provider is different. Some offer a full suite of ongoing learning and development once candidates are deployed within a business, whereas others offer little to none. The right provider for you will depend on your internal capabilities to train junior technologists, however at Bright Network Technology Academy, we believe the best approach to get RoI from RTD is to work with a provider that offers a full suite of ongoing learning and development. This allows you to rely on their training expertise, and complement this with role specific internal L&D where needed. The result, you’re able to get RTDA employees up to speed with minimum effort, while your training partner provides them with the ongoing L&D they need to grow to be key members of your tech teams.
Step 3 – Keep an open dialogue with your RTD partner. Finally, it’s vital that you communicate with your training partner about the needs of each consultant and the skills gaps within your teams. As their employer, you ultimately have the best view of which skills they need to develop most and how they could be developed to create a well-rounded tech team. This insight is essential when developing an effective L&D plan, and by working with your RTD partner on this, their training teams will be best positioned to deliver the the skills your team needs.
Mistake #3: Not Providing Adequate Support and Feedback
The third most common mistake businesses and training providers make with recruit, train, deploy is not providing adequate support and feedback. This has led many RTD employees to describe their first role as a sink or swim experience, with little to no feedback from either their employer or trainer to help them embed properly into their company. This is surprising given the focus that many companies place on ensuring permanent employees are given regular feedback and support to ensure they are fulfilling their responsibilities and constantly improving their output, but it is extremely common across RTD programmes.
Similarly to L&D, the result of inadequate support and feedback is reduced output and employee satisfaction, which in turn leads to increased churn which can cost an estimated £31,250 per employee (based on London’s average tech salary of £62,500).
This is, once again, often the result of a lack of clarity around who is responsible for providingy support and feedback to employees placed via recruit, train, deploy . To avoid this mistake, it’s important to look at RTD employees the same way you would look at any other employee, and have an open dialogue with your training provider about the amount of support you’re able to provide. At Technology Academy, we work with many clients who simply aren’t set up to provide the level of support, which is why we provide dedicated 1:2:1 support to every single consultant we place with our partners.
Recruit, train, deploy is a flexible and powerful solution for overcoming skills gaps and building diverse technology teams. However, there are common mistakes that businesses make across the industry that result in low employee satisfaction, low output and high churn. When utilising recruit, train, deploy , it’s essential that your programme is built to avoid these common mistakes, and that you partner with a training provider that offers a level of support to RTD employees that aligns with your internal capabilities.