The emphasis on people skills in the IT profession is a relatively new phenomenon, although perhaps not an unpredictable one, given techies’ increasing exposure to high-level job responsibilities. For IT personnel at Aquent, a provider of marketing and creative staffing solutions, these interpersonal qualities help them interact frequently with customers and co-workers not focused on technology, as well as cultivate an overall culture of performance.
“We have created a corporate culture here that respects excellence,” said Dan Neff, division president of IT Solutions. “There’s a lot of peer feedback about how people are doing. When the problem is solved, and the customer’s thrilled, it’s not just management that makes you feel good about it — it’s all of your peers too. The culture that we have here inspires people to be top performers.”
Aquent maintains a database of 400,000 freelancers in a variety of creative fields for contract and full-time work (more than 3,000 of whom are billing at any given time) and also provides technology support to marketing organizations.
Within the company, the IT Solutions Group has 70 full-time employees. Although this unit is involved in a range of technical spheres, the main areas of focus are Web development and business intelligence. Specifically, the staff regularly deals with Web servers and database solutions.
In spite of their deep technical knowledge and experience, it would be a mistake to think of these employees as mere technology pros, Neff said.
“It’s a more holistic view,” he explained. “To get an…
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