The T-Shaped Employee & Remote Working
The Technology Apprenticeship Program (TAP) has developed very detailed sourcing and identification models to recruit from feeder schools, universities, and trade programs for the last few years. Each time we set up a new program we learn more about our recruiting methods and continue to tweak the process to fit the needs of each employer and the ever-changing needs of corporate America.
In March 2020, we stood up a new TAP class at a major US employer. During the time we instigated the program, COVID-19 hit the US. Luckily, TAP can be set up 100% virtually without skipping a beat and we have continued to implement several new classes since that time. That’s not to say that we didn’t recognize certain changes and learn from those changes the ways to ensure that apprentices are successful in remote working environments.
Every new employee is different and every Technology Apprenticeship Program will inevitably call for unique strengths. The technology apprentices we recruit for organizations across the US are found at specific feeder programs. We have worked with the career teams at certain universities, colleges, and trade schools because we appreciate the readiness of their graduates for “real-world” opportunities. We expect our apprentices to hit the ground running in order to provide our clients with reliable teammates.
Identifying the T-shaped Employee
The T-shaped mentality for hiring puts character over skillsets. The image of the T shows that skills are the downward line with the horizontal line representing the characteristics of the ideal employee.
Once the graduating class is able to apply to TAP, we consider each applicant by initially looking at their skills and the individual results of projects they have completed prior to graduation. A basic level of skills is imperative in order for each apprentice to keep up, but it is not the leading driver when it comes to choosing apprentices.
Each TAP class is provided with a mentor from Tech One IT and also matched with a mentor on our client’s side. These mentors will help the apprentice to learn new skills, keep up with the necessities of workflows and processes that are individual to each company, and act as a shoulder to lean on whenever needed. This coaching style helps our apprentices to excel and allows us to focus deeply on the character traits that consistently lead to success in tech teams.
The crossbar representing characteristics helps us to narrow down the applicants. For example, humility is a character trait that is imperative to success within TAP. This program allows apprentices to work with some of the nation’s best technology teams. While their voice will be heard, they must learn to accept feedback and use it to continue to grow in their careers.
“Recently, we set up a new TAP class at a Fortune 100 company, although in a virtual environment. At the same time that our apprentices were brought on board, the client also hired several graduates from the same feeder schools that our apprentices attended. Over the course of the first 3 weeks, the difference between the graduates became clear. The Tech One apprentices thrived, while the others struggled. The factors that made the difference were two-fold: mentorship and our intense sourcing methodology” (Paul Cozza, EVP, Workforce Solutions)
Traits of the ideal remote worker
Since the second quarter of 2020, we have expanded our T-shaped hiring practice for TAP to include those characteristics that lead to success in a remote working environment. In the classes we have stood up during quarantine, we have monitored the characteristics of the apprentices chosen for those programs. The apprentices that have not skipped a beat tend to exhibit certain traits from the moment of the interview.
The characteristics we believe help remote workers succeed are as follows:
Remote workers must be resourceful to continue moving a project forward without needing constant feedback. Having a mentor has helped Tech One apprentices to build confidence and strengthen resourcefulness.
“Upholders respond readily to outer and inner expectations. They wake up and think: “What’s on the schedule and the to-do list for today?” They want to know what’s expected of them, and to meet those expectations. They avoid making mistakes or letting people down—including themselves.” (Gretchen Rubin, The Four Tendencies)
In order to work remotely, apprentices must be diligent and driven from within. They are not reliant on external sources meaning that they finish tasks whether someone is monitoring them or not.
To work remotely often means waiting for feedback. Creative minds are able to jump from task to task meaning they are able to jump to another task while waiting for necessary feedback or approval on their original task.
Being open-minded and unafraid to voice opinions or ask questions, our apprentices are able to get to the crux of all issues, gathering enough details to work individually and not veer off course. In addition to being communicative, apprentices are still tested for humility meaning constructive feedback is easily accepted.
Tech One apprentices are coming out of feeder programs where they frequently work in virtual environments. Our apprentice groups consist largely of millennials and the social construct of a virtual environment has been completely normalized in their culture. They are conditioned to be available immediately and this responsiveness allows our clients to feel that everybody is part of the greater team, regardless of location.
If you’d like to know more about our sourcing model, or if you are interested in our apprenticeship program, we’d love to hear from you!