How good is your Web site? I bet I can tell without even looking at a single page on your site. A brief chat with your Web team will reveal all. Your Web site is only as good as the team who builds and manages it.
Over the past several months, we've been on the hunt for the best Web talent -- everyone from developers and designers to system administrators. Good talent is hard to find and hard to keep. A great site is like an advertisement for an employee's Web skills; it can truly set him or her apart from everyone's claim to be a Web builder and expert. Anyone who has created an HTML page qualifies himself or herself as a Web developer. Job sites are packed full of resumes, but the credentials speak for themselves. The size of the pool and diversity of the skill set makes the hunt for killer talent daunting. You've got to quickly sort through the masses and find the Web gurus who bring the right skills, knowledge, and abilities to your business. Once you have them, keep them because it's not "easy come, easy go" when it comes to finding and retaining Web talent.
Building a high-caliber Web team should be a top concern for businesses making a move to the Web. Of course, the more money set aside for recruitment, the faster you'll find the hot talent. But there's plenty you can do to build and maintain a quality team without blowing the budget. Take note: Web folks best express themselves in environments that feel comfortable. It's beyond laid-back dress, roaming pets, and spacious quarters. Tearing down cubicles may be a start, but dream beyond the hammer. Many companies have gone to impressive extremes and provided employees with cars, condos, and cash. Companies unable to make that sort of leap of dollars and faith should focus on other incentives and rewards. Most Web folks love gadgets and thinker toys. New gadgets unleash creative potentials that will affect a company's bottom line.
Well-rounded Web teams have a wide range of experience. The aptitude to learn and learn fast is just as important as experience. It's rare that you'll find someone who has been doing this for a long time. It's also important to keep up with new technologies that will best serve the business. First-mover advantage puts you across the finish line ahead of the rest. Experience such as communication and attention to details should also qualify folks as exceptional team players.
Once you recruit your team, foster a spirit of purpose by providing time to innovate and educate. I often tell the team that our role is to help educate the organization in terms of technology and what that means to the business. Schedule discussions to chat about strategies that will carry your business forward. Encourage team members to attend conferences. Better yet, get them involved in panel discussions or teaching. Set aside time to allow folks to share new ideas that change the business from what it is today. Permit them to step outside their day-to-day duties and to contemplate the future. This leads to new opportunities and allows folks to improve their skill sets and overall experience in the organization.
Also, review compensation and check out benefits. In particular, look for unique benefits -- things that set your organization apart. They don't need to be cash. Massages, health clubs, and home loan support are but a few examples.
Remember that turnover is a given. Don't let it get you down. Industry reports show Web folks change as often as every one to two years. Job jumpers will always exist, but there's opportunity looking you right in the face.
Laura Wonnacott is vice president of InfoWorld.com. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.