There has never been a better time to be a technology consultant. The technology talent crunch is real, thanks to the rapid evolution of technology, the competition between companies for top IT talent and the limited number of professionals with sought-after technological skills.
That means that if you're an IT consultant, you've got a lot of choices. Agencies are after you. Corporations want you. Small to mid-size businesses need you. Recruiters are banging down your door. So how do you know which opportunities to pursue?
The short answer? Work for the technology consulting company that prioritizes your happiness. That might sound trite but consultant happiness is important for a consulting firm, says Omni Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist Kaycee Whitaker.
"If you're not happy, Omni suffers," she said.
How exactly can you tell if a technology consulting firm has a stake in its employees' happiness?
That's the long answer.
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How to tell a technology consulting company cares about its employees
Obviously different things make different consultants happy but according to Whitaker and her colleague Talent Acquisition Specialist Michael Kenyon, you can tell how much a consulting firm cares about you by seeing how much they invest in you.
Here are some things to look for in a consulting company:
- Certification and other development opportunities
- Opportunity to choose work that interests you
- Flexibility when it comes to working remotely
- Paid bench when you're not on a project
For the uninitiated, "bench" is short for "being on the bench" — you're not currently working for a client, so while you wait, you're benched. Omni, for example, offers a 90-day bench period, during which consultants are still on the payroll. During their bench time, consultants may develop their skills by earning certifications, learning about new technologies, or they may work on internal projects, like helping out with IT projects, helping with sales or marketing.
It's not just benched consultants who can explore new kinds of work. A good technology consulting firm will give all its consultants the opportunity to explore the tech that interests them.
Take Omni Solutions Consultant James Krot for example: He is not new to technology consulting companies. He's worked for five consulting companies in the past as a contract worker but chose to come on board as a staff professional with Omni where he's been working on both client projects and internal business.
"I enjoy working for Omni because I can work on different lines of business and can move to different positions if something is open," he said. "Omni’s management team has been really open and available and greatly encourages improvement among employees, which I find is a rarity in this business."
Solutions Consultant Anthony Messerschmidt was also drawn to the variety that comes with working for a small technology consulting firm.
"One of the biggest things that drew me to Omni was the learning opportunities," he said. "As a software consultant, you will be working on different projects frequently and with each new project there are new technologies to learn, new people to learn from and new ways of doing things. Every project is a professional and personal growth opportunity."
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Bringing consultants into the company
Because IT consultants are in such demand, it can be tempting to treat them as a product, rather than as members of the company.
Omni turns that on its head — its employees co-own the company, so management involves all employees in the workings of the company.
That's what appealed to Solutions Consultant Lamont Beal, who came to Omni on the advice of a friend who was already on staff here. He appreciates the company's inclusivity, management's transparency on the state of the business and the fact that Omni's leadership is actively involved in consultants' lives.
"Omni isn’t one of those set-and-forget companies like some other ones I have worked with," said Krot. "Most of them want to get their commission or get their staffing fee and move onto the next person. I frequently interact with my other Omni employees with projects, even if I am not a part of them, to help them with a question or to lead them in the right direction. Omni truly is a team experience."
And of course, when consultants are treated like people, and not like merchandise, that makes them happy. So, when you're looking for a technology consulting firm, look for one with happy employees. That's a good indicator of an IT consulting company that cares about its employees.
"The first time I interacted with Omni was at a technical demonstration where I met some of the developers," said Messerschmidt. "I was really impressed not only with their knowledge and skill but with the genuine interest and excitement they had when talking with me. Every interaction since has been the same way."
Thinking of becoming a consultant? Contact our recruiting team to see if consulting is right for you.