Though many tech companies have been working remotely for years, COVID-19 has created or exacerbated a number of pain points for HR managers in the tech industry. IT companies face a variety of critical issues, such as the scarcity of the resources used in their products, and the exponentially increasing demand for new and better technologies. Within tech companies themselves, keeping up with the shifting demands of HR also poses serious issues. Let’s take a look at the main HR-related challenges faced by today’s tech firms, along with fresh ideas for overcoming them.
5 key HR challenges in the tech industry
1. Handling remote onboarding
Companies in the tech industry tend to see a high level of turnover, and today, they face more competition for talent than ever. Tech employees’ options are quickly expanding as companies in every industry seek to recruit them in order to digitize their systems and processes. COVID-19 has ramped up the demand for skilled tech workers, meaning most tech companies need the ability to quickly recruit and onboard new talent. To do so successfully, tech companies need a streamlined and remote onboarding process to handle the extensive list of manual tasks in their day-to-day. A stellar remote onboarding experience is one where neither the new hire or the HR pro are tasked with piles of paper documents or confusing contracts. A modern HR platform that enables digital offer letter sending, collects e-signatures, and automates onboarding tasks will make all the difference.
2. Providing access to benefits and tracking admin
Many tech firms are small startups that have difficulty navigating benefits administration on their own. From understanding which types of insurance coverage to offer, to understanding copays, the HR manager is often expected to cover all the bases. Sifting through information about company benefits and staying ACA compliant can place a huge burden on the small HR staff of a rapidly growing tech firm. Finding a quality benefits administration platform that allows employees to self-enroll and manage benefits at-a-glance not only empowers team members, but also takes the administrative burden off of HR. This can also ensure that benefits stay in sync with payroll and insurance carriers.
3. Managing remote contractors and labor costs
Because of the demand for their services, tech companies may find themselves scaling up during the pandemic, meaning they are managing a larger workforce than ever before. Firms that focus on areas like cybersecurity, cloud services, AI, performance management systems, analytics, and ecommerce solutions are tasked with developing new products and services at breakneck speed, and they may struggle to manage a larger staff without having the appropriate infrastructure in place. They could also be managing multiple types of employees, from contractors to full-time workers, across a broad geographic location. Keeping up with compliance demands across various states or even countries can prove challenging for a tech startup that has recently mushroomed into a larger enterprise. Ensuring your new hires have all the necessary tech industry business licenses they need can grow cumbersome as well. Further, they may have minimal HR staff to handle these responsibilities. Smart companies in this situation are turning to consolidated HR and payroll platforms to digitally manage labor costs, support contractors remotely, and report on the team’s data for insights.
4. Mitigating security threats
As the world goes remote, organizations are being exposed to new threats, and it can be hard to keep up with them all. “Phishing campaigns are reeling in unsuspecting employees; cybercriminals are spreading malware. Hackers are also exploiting vulnerabilities in cloud-based services and computer hardware,” says Deloitte in a report called “COVID-19 Outlook for the U.S. Technology Industry.” Cyberattacks have been spiking against employees working from home as well as institutions and companies.
Tech companies are particularly likely to be targeted by cyberhackers due to the value of their in-demand products. They are using remote collaboration to design products that have an extremely wide application and high value, and others may be seeking to steal this knowledge. Thus, HR in tech companies must go the extra mile to keep their employees’ personal information secure. Securing employee information in a SOC 2 certified HR platform ensures the security of HR data and other confidential information. This includes information like social security numbers and addresses, along with personal data like info on health benefits.
5. Encouraging women’s participation in the industry
Women already make up a much smaller percentage of tech industry employees than men, especially in leadership roles, and COVID-19 could increase that disparity. Women are facing increased pressure to care for their children, as it’s often impossible to send them to school or daycare in the pandemic. To overcome these challenges, HR should implement flexible leave and scheduling policies, send pulse surveys to ask parents what they need, and reach out to them to offer childcare assistance. Business leaders should stay up to date with local school mandates as well, to help predict when parents will need extra help. To continuously encourage women’s participation in the technology industry, it’s also important for HR to review key workplace and recruiting procedures around pay, benefits, performance reviews, and implement bias interrupters in their day-to-day.
Despite numerous difficulties that stemmed from the pandemic, the tech sector is also experiencing an abundance of opportunities resulting from the transition to remote work. Many tech companies have mastered elements of performance management that other firms are struggling to grow proficient in. Further, many other companies have a demand for enhanced security, so tech companies’ efforts to protect their own data can fuel the development of widely marketable products.
According to McKinsey & Co., the pandemic has sped up the widespread adoption of many technologies by several years. Cloud-based services and other telecommuting solutions are in high demand across all industries. Thus, business is set to continue to boom for the tech industry in 2021 and beyond.
Overcoming HR challenges in the tech sector
“Technology is HR’s most important partner and can solve its greatest workplace challenges,” says Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). If you’re scaling up (or are poised to do so), consider how a quality HR software solution could help you manage and onboard a remote team with skill while maintaining the high level of security your work demands.
Technology companies are poised to not only recover but expand—in some cases, considerably. According to Deloitte, “The goal shouldn’t be merely to bounce back after governments lift the lockdowns. Tech companies have the opportunity to emerge stronger, more resilient, and more innovative.” Making bold changes in personnel management now can position you ahead of the crowd.
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