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3 generational conflicts

 

Today, many large workplaces have at least four generations represented in their employees. Though baby boomers have begun retiring, many have chosen to stay active in the working world. Gen X is prominent, and Millennials make up the bulk of most workforces. Now, Gen Z has begun to make themselves known as well.

 

Bringing together all of these different perspectives and preferences can be a challenge, and conflict is sure to arise from time to time. When one of those times comes, here are three ways to diffuse the tension created generational conflicts in the office.

1. Fight the Stereotypes

Even if a stereotype isn’t meant as a negative, making assumptions about what someone is like based solely on when they were born is a mistake. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t pervasive, especially when coworkers don’t interact with one another on a regular basis.

 

One way to stop conflicts based on stereotypes before they start is to get everyone engaged in projects together. Team-building exercises that provide the opportunity to explore each other’s skills outside of a traditional work situation can help employees get to know one another in a less threatening environment.

 

Within the workplace, encourage employees to work together regularly, or work on cross-training opportunities. Once a level of mutual respect is built, generational differences won’t be a source of conflict.

2. Keep Everyone Accountable

While younger generations have increased opportunities for flexible scheduling and remote work, not everyone has chosen to embrace those styles. Regardless of the number of people who do or don’t choose alternate scheduling options, it is important that accountability remains consistent across the entire workforce.

 

Set defined expectations regarding the level of communication as well as the method. For example, a weekly video conference gives everyone a chance to communicate in real-time, while email turnaround standards ensure that one employee isn’t stuck waiting for a response from another. You can also have set times where coworkers must be generally available to one another.

 

For example, set a particular hour each day where no one is allowed to set appointments with anyone outside of the team. That way, coworkers can schedule a time to catch up if scheduling conflicts have prevented them from touching base.

3. Use Technology Properly

Every generation has their preferred method for wasting a little time at work. While the occasional break should be encouraged, constant distractions from personal smartphones, emails, or other activities can harm productivity.

 

To make sure technology is seen as a positive in the workplace and not a source of distraction, set ground rules regarding personal tech use during work hours. While you don’t have to eliminate it completely, consider banning certain devices during specific occasions. For example, the weekly staff meeting could be tech free.

 

However, it is wise to balance this out by supporting technology (including social media) when it can serve the business well. Have your most tech-savvy employees work with those who are less familiar or who could use a process update.

 

By respecting the preferences of all of your employees at the right times, you can limit generational conflict and create an environment in which everyone can thrive.

 

If you are looking for more information about generational conflict in the workplace or are interested in locating a new employee to join your team, the professionals at The Armada Group are here to help. Contact us and speak to a recruitment specialist today.

11 Decision Makers RESIZE

Excitement over the potential found in data and analytics may lead you to believe that decision-makers consider the information critical to making business decisions. In fact, some leaders find it difficult to use the results to make calls that previously relied on their own experience and instincts.

This idea seems to be in contrast to hiring activities within the IT field. Even though many companies understand the value of the information they hold and are hiring competent professionals to manage and review the data, there are still serious doubts in the upper echelons regarding the reliability of the information they have hired people to provide.

However, it is important to understand that the mistrust is not necessarily in the quality of the IT professionals working in the space. Instead, it is a hesitance to change a major component of how business is traditionally done. While the insights offered by advanced data and analytics may not be inherently in question, changing how decisions are made within any organization can be challenging, especially for those who have operated in a particular fashion for the majority of their careers.

Trust Takes Time

Depending on your generation, previous experiences or industry, your trust in data may vary. While those who have focused their careers on data and technology may be more open to what these processes have to offer, people who have not focused their careers on tech-based analysis may be hesitant to shift the decision-making power based on a new mechanism.

Questions regarding the accuracy of the data being collected, as well as how it is leveraged, leave some wanting. In fact, many executives even feel being overly reliant on this information can put their organizations at risk. However, as more businesses look to analytics for guidance, the level of comfort may increase.

C-Level Support is Required

If a company wants to use more data and analytics to assist in decision-making, the organization needs buy off from those at the top of the proverbial food chain. When C-level executives are hesitant to get behind the findings, any subsequent attempts at data-driven action may be thwarted before they even had a chance to be explored.

There are still questions relating to the reliability of data-driven decision making, especially since traditional decision-making approaches are distinctly more common in today’s workplace. Additionally, anxiety around the analytics lifecycle increases as the business dives deeper into the process. Even if support is relatively high at the point where issues of data sourcing are being discussed, it is comparatively non-existent when it comes to deploying solutions and measuring the effectiveness of the actions.

Data and Analytics Leaders Must Step Forward

Leaders in the areas of data and analytics will need to alleviate any concerns regarding the use of data-driven insights in the decision-making process. Ultimately, they will be responsible for creating the trust necessary to allow these projects to move forward in a corporate environment.

If your business is ready to see everything that data and analytics have to offer, The Armada Group can help the tech professionals you need to make the transition into a new way of thinking easier. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters and see how we can help you modernize your decision-making processes.

8 Skills Deficit

The Internet of Things (IoT) has gained significant attention across the business landscape. Connected products and integrated technologies have businesses eager to take advantage of new developments in the arena. However, the talent required to manage this changing IT landscape isn’t readily available. Shortages in available data scientists, security personnel and wireless networking specialists have made it difficult to fill current openings. And demand is only expected to grow as we enter 2017.

IoT Requires Specific Skills

Not everyone working in the IT professions have the skill sets required to meet the needs of this changing technical environment. IoT technologies involve specialized hardware and software, and new network protocols. Advanced security measures are required to maintain network and data integrity, and big data analytics have a starring role in these developments.

 

Since each of these specialties may be covered by different IT professionals, a business must have a diverse team to move forward with these new technologies. Having a skills deficit within the team can cause development to practically halt until the missing talents are either acquired or added. This means that financial investments in training, recruiting or both, may be required to keep projects moving forward.

IT Unemployment is Incredibly Low

Unemployment rates for tech professionals are currently 2.8 percent, well below the national average of 4.9 percent. This means that demand for IT skills is incredibly high when compared to the number of professionals available. The lack of talented IT professionals means compensating for skills deficits will be even more challenging, especially in fledgling fields like big data analytics.

 

Unemployment rates are expected to stay low as more baby boomers reach retirement age as there are not enough potential employees to replace all of those who will be leaving. While talented individuals can be wooed away from their current employers, other businesses may be pursuing your employees in turn. The low unemployment rates also allow professionals to feel more secure about voluntarily quitting a position to search for greener pastures, as the current expectation is that new opportunities can be found quickly.

 

This means that organizations will need to offer highly competitive wages and benefits to attract new talent and retain current top performers. Often, that means companies have to be willing to invest before the benefits of the new hires are fully realized. Some businesses may be hesitant to dedicate funds based on the potential of IoT but may be unable to enter the field without taking the risk.

A Fight for the Future of Tech

Both of these factors mean that many businesses may not be able to pursue the projects they have recently had their eye on. Until the required skills become more prevalent in the workforce, finding suitable candidates to fulfill your needs will remain a challenge. The Armada Group can help you locate top talent to advance your IoT endeavours. Contact us to speak with one of our professional recruiters about your current needs and what we have to offer.

8 Software Testing

 

For software developers, writing code and making it work is the fun part of the job. For software testers, breaking code is the fun part of the job. Until recently, this meant that testers were the "bad guys" at work. They were there to find flaws and point them out. This meant they weren't popular with either software developers or management.

 

Today, things are different. Well – developers still like writing code and testers still like breaking it. But today the relationship between coders and testers is a partnership. The shift to agile and test-driven design means that testing isn't left for the end of a project, when everyone wants to push it out the door and move on to the next great thing; testing is part of the project every day. That means testers aren't seen as a stumbling block to the project's release, but rather as partners in creating a product that will succeed.

 

The increased emphasis on testing means that what testers need to know to succeed is changing, too. Testers now need:

To know how to write automated tests.

Manual testing is time-consuming and tedious. Automating the test process speeds it up. While there are specific tools to create and execute test cases, testers who know a scripting language will be able to more easily set up the environment for test scenarios.

To understand the full requirements.

Agile development methods don't create extensive requirements documents. Instead, they deliver small working chunks of functionality that will eventually add up to a full application. Testers need to understand the ultimate goal to make sure the functionality in each sprint moves it forward.

To communicate testing results.

To be full members of the project team, testers can't simply tell management the percentage of tests that were passed or failed. They need to evaluate and discuss the overall quality and performance of the application in a much deeper sense.

 

Successful software projects require rock solid coding verified by rock solid testing. Find employees with the skills to deliver by contacting a recruiter at The Armada Group.

11 IT Security

 

There's never been a greater need for information security professionals. New technology, such as the growth of electronic health records, means there's more valuable information online to steal. And new technology also provides new angles of attack, such as a recent DDOS attack powered by unsecured Internet of Things devices.

 

For those building a career protecting businesses and consumers from these threats, these are the 10 highest-paying IT security jobs to aspire to. Titles and responsibilities vary by company, so be sure to explore all your options whether you're aiming for a role that's hands-on, a team lead or manager position, or as a senior executive.

Chief Security Officer

These C-suite executives oversee the security strategy of an entire business and monitor the effectiveness of the operational teams. With big responsibility comes a big paycheck of nearly $200,000.

Chief Information Security Officer

Like a CSO, the CISO is a senior executive with high-level responsibility. The CISO focuses more intently on information and data assets. Salaries match or exceed their CSO peer, and can reach close to $250,000.

Global Information Security Director

With an understanding of industry-specific security requirements, these professionals direct the work of project teams and are responsible for the response to a breach. Salaries extend upwards of $150,000.

Director of Security

The security director works with security teams and vendors to reduce the data security threats facing the organization. Salaries hit over $175,000.

IT Security Consultant

If you want the flexibility of working for more than one company, apply your security expertise as an IT security consultant. You'll help companies apply best practices or guide them through a crisis response. Expect a salary of more than $125,000.

Application Security Manager

Applications have specific risks based on the nature of the data they collect and store. An application security manager makes sure that applications have security appropriate to the risks they face. The salary for this work can reach more than $175,000.

Lead Software Security Engineer

As a lead software security engineer, you'll lead a team implementing security solutions throughout the enterprise. Median salaries are over $120,000.

Cybersecurity Lead

You can't defend against threats if you don't know what the threats are; cybersecurity leads help companies identify potential and actual threats, plus help defend against them. Median salaries hit $105,000.

Lead Security Engineer

Like a lead software security engineer, lead security engineers help teams implement security solutions, but have a focus that extends beyond software. Salaries reach more than $145,000.

Cybersecurity Engineer

A front-line defender of the organization, this is a hands-on role that involves probing for vulnerabilities and then building defenses. Look for salaries up to $125,000 or more.

 

Whether you're a security professional looking for a job, or an employer in search of a security professional, the Armada Group can match you to a position or candidate that will secure your future. Contact us to speak with a recruiter and learn about our process.

6 Data Scientist

Data Science, Big Data, and Analytics are three of the hottest buzzwords in technology. Competition is fierce for developers with skills in the tools used, like Hadoop and NoSQL databases. But does the promise of big data and data science live up to the hype? For companies that haven't yet made an investment in building a data science team, these three examples of real-life problems solved by data science can make the case for bringing those skills into your business.

 

1. Predictive analytics replace preventive maintenance.

In many industrial and commercial operations, machines undergo maintenance on a regular schedule, with parts replaced whether they show signs of wear or not in order to avoid costly failures. But that scheduled maintenance has its own costs. Predictive analytics is able to identify parts that are about to fail, meaning maintenance can be performed on a just-before-needed basis, replacing only the parts that are likely to fail in the near term. Companies like UPS are using predictive analytics to reduce their maintenance expenses.

2. Analytics help determine the best prices.

Data science and analytics can support dynamic pricing, identifying an optimum price at a moment in time. Airbnb uses a dynamic pricing algorithm to help renters set their prices.

3. Data science helps companies understand customer feedback.

Using new methods for analyzing unstructured data such as comments on social media and forums, companies are able to dig deeper into their customer's feedback and tailor customer service and product changes in response. 

 

Building a data science team requires adding data scientists, data engineers, and data administrators to your organization. The Armada Group can help you identify talent with the data science skills needed to help you get your team up and running and solving problems. We've been helping companies hire great employees for more than 20 years and have plenty of data to inform the way we work. Our successful process starts by understanding your company and the position you need to fill. Contact us to learn how our experienced recruiters can help you find the best new hires to meet your staffing needs.