What Companies are doing to grow talent — BSidesCharm 2022
The Hiring Village at BSidesCharm 2022 has a great mix of small and large firms, some local to the conference’s home city of Baltimore; others nationally recognized names. I wanted to try something different this time; rather than have the companies ask me about myself or what I am looking for in an employer, I wanted to ask them about how they were developing their junior talent pipelines to help them grow and develop as well as meet their resource needs. The results were reasonably inspiring overall, and I am enthusiastic about these companies’ commitments to talent development.
All of the companies mentioned that they were open to hiring junior talent and seem to focus the majority of that effort on internships. As I asked more, I was surprised to find out that beyond offering the internship, many of the companies did not have a close relationship with the local schools, colleges, or universities in their area to help better the school understand their needs, potentially offer classes or tracks that better help students prepare for what they look for in talent or the market is looking for. Some, on the hand, did and mentioned how much that symbiotic relationship has helped attract and get talent that was better prepared to get running faster.
I asked if they had ever considered or had apprenticeship programs (outside of SkillsBridge discussed later), and I was surprised that many had not considered this an option for attracting and growing talent while receiving continuous education. Many other fields, from medical to electrical and others, have demonstrated that this is a working model. I hope that more companies become more open to this option in the future.
As the conversation continued, I asked what they did to invest in their talent to retain them as they continued to grow. The responses usually started with the benefits packages, which included tuition and training reimbursements, and unfortunately for some, it stopped there. On the other hand, some of the companies also had great growth programs from development platforms for learning the hands-on skills they needed and focused heavily on growing juniors to mid and up. Others offered mentorships, the ability to work on different projects to develop skills that the employees wanted to grow, internal mobility, and dedicated training paths.
Unfortunately, only a couple truly had dedicated approaches to hiring junior and growing them to more senior roles vs. recruiting only at senior levels. While we discussed the constraints of customer needs and needing to deliver at a specific level, this approach of senior-only recruiting will only continue to expand the talent gap.
I was pleased to see that most if not all of the companies present had or were open to recruiting veterans and transitioning veterans and using SkillsBridge as a mechanism for doing so. Considering that many of these companies directly service the government, it was still good to see that hiring veterans and transitioning their clearances helps them considerably. A couple of these companies took it a step further by having programs for mil-spouses, which was great to see.
All in all, I left rejuvenated by the fact that some companies still believe that hiring juniors, growing them, and promoting within as a fundamental talent strategy is excellent. As the current generation enters the workforce, they will need employers who hire for entry-level roles and are dedicated to growing talent.