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Driving Canadian tech growth by hiring tech talent 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and innovation, the key to success for any scaling enterprise is its talent. As tech companies strive to scale and compete on a global stage, the need for hiring tech talent in Canada has never been more evident. Recent data from the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) reveals that Canada’s tech sector is projected to grow by over 11% annually, necessitating the addition of more than 250,000 skilled workers by 2025. This surge underscores an important need: hiring the right talent is not just beneficial but imperative for the sustainability and growth of Canadian tech and innovation firms.

Against this backdrop, we revisit a compelling Fireside Chat with three industry experts who shed light on the multifaceted challenges and opportunities in scaling tech talent. TechAlliance invited Candice Neil, Human Resources Director at LBMX Inc., Christina Nurse, Director of Professional Services at Northern Commerce and Liam Nediger, Chief Technology Officer at Info-Tech Research Group. Together, their experience of attracting, hiring, and retaining  tech talent in Canada for high-potential innovative companies not only reflects the current state of the industry but also provides a roadmap for companies eager to navigate the complex terrain of talent acquisition and retention:

What are some best practices for onboarding and training new tech hires when scaling a team? 

“We like to engage our new hires before they start with us through our pre-boarding. In that pre-boarding process, they are going to get a welcome email about what to expect on their first day and get all that paperwork out of the way, so they’re not sitting and doing those mundane tasks on the first day,” shares Neil. That’s not all – from encouraging new hires to immerse themselves in the culture through in-office presence, assigning them a ‘buddy’ to help them successfully transition into their roles and setting 30-60-90-day goals together, to have clear expectations.  These processes together ensure successful and seamless onboarding of new hires.

Echoing the importance of 30-60-90-day goals, Nurse adds, “It’s super important for both sides, the employee and the employer, to set these goals and expectations from the beginning, especially in a remote-working environment like ours. This helps employees stay on track and get work done effectively.” 

Which do you think is more effective, investing in the learning and development of existing team members or hiring new talent? 

Nurse and Nediger emphasized the importance of having a healthy mix, rather than choosing the learning and development of existing team members over hiring new talent and vice versa. Why? “It should be a part of your culture to invest in your people through learning and development to keep them motivated and engaged. However, when I look at an agency-based company, such as ours, bringing someone new on the team who has a particular expertise may prove to be advantageous, especially when you are trying to expand, or develop your growth plan,” says Nurse.

Strategic recruitment has now become more common than ever, especially in this era where founders and innovative ventures often face recruitment challenges. Attracting and hiring talent through strategic recruitment helps the business not only in achieving its long-term goals, but also ensures that the right people are in the right seats.  
“Having effective capabilities in both areas is critical. While supporting learning and development is important in terms of retention and job satisfaction, when you are looking at areas that need to grow or mature, there are times when bringing someone into the team who has been in that position can help you accelerate and mitigate risks in the area where it is particularly critical,” adds Nediger.  

What would you say are the challenges that companies typically face when scaling their tech talent and how can these challenges be overcome?  

“It’s one thing to onboard people, but when they start working is a more important piece to this process. Getting them working right away, especially newly hired intermittent and senior people, helps them get integrated quickly. In an agency-based company like ours, we are dependent on our clients who might take anywhere from two weeks to eight months to finalize their sign-off. This is the perfect time to train and get the new hire up to speed. Not having them do work or minimal work is not a smart business practice,” says Nurse.  
Quick and effective onboarding of new hires in a scaling company accelerates productivity, fosters a sense of belonging, and minimizes the time it takes for employees to contribute meaningfully. This also helps the new hires to align with the company’s culture and goals and ensures that they are equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to succeed in their roles. 

What advice do you have for companies that are just starting to scale their teams?

When asked, all three experts had their own experiences and insights to share with the audience that helped their venture scale smoothly.  
For Christina Nurse, it was the employees and the company being on the same page in terms of their audacious goals, vision, and mission. “Your employees should understand the direction because it’s not only YOU who’s going to make this happen, but it’s your employees too.”  
For Liam Nediger, it was deploying the right processes to ensure consistency, avoid confusion and prepare for any future bottlenecks. “Make sure that you are looking at both people as well as processes and evolve and formalize the processes to support your transition into a scaling venture. Think about the break points in these processes ahead of time, so that you are ready to accommodate them, if and when they happen. 
For Candice Neil, investing in the right Human Resource tool for LBMX Inc. made the difference. “It was much easier to manage all the incoming candidates, sort them, keep notes in case they were good for another, future role. I really recommend a good HR software that has an impeccable applicant tracking component to it.” 

As Canadian tech companies navigate the complex journey of scaling, the insights from our industry experts underscore a fundamental truth: hiring the right tech talent in Canada, coupled with effective onboarding and strategic recruitment, is pivotal to sustaining growth and achieving long-term success in an increasingly competitive global market.  

Easily scout the next generation of innovators for your team through The Roster and TechAlliance’s Job Board.

Want to know more? Watch the Fireside Chat here. 

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