Finding and Nurturing Talent

Sheila Burkett // Web Development
Intern smiling while looking at computer in office setting

One of the most important aspects of growing a successful company is finding and retaining the right people with the right skills. That’s why Spry developed a robust internship process. It helps us identify people who love to learn and fit our culture. A Spry internship includes an immersive training program to quickly get skills up to speed.

One of Spry’s strongest brand pillars is our employees – finding and nurturing diverse talent is a strategic initiative for us. We learned long ago that outsourcing client work is simply not who we are, so we had to think of unique ways to find those young people who share our philosophy and culture, and help them become the best designers, web developers and project managers in the business.

Small business owners face shortage of skilled workers

On February 21, 2018 I was quoted in The Wall Street Journal because of my response to a survey for The Wall Street Journal by Vistage Worldwide Inc. They reported that “nearly two-thirds of small business owners reported facing a shortage of skilled workers” and “many firms are testing new strategies”.

One of our strategies is offering paid internships to individuals who are in college, have completed a coding camp or are transitioning their skills to a new programming language. Over the years we’ve recruited students from UMSL, SIUE, Marquette and Claim Academy.

Learning on the job

There is a career path for our interns going into creative, digital marketing, development or project management. During their internships, they learn key skills important to our field: problem solving, critical thinking, written communication and time management.

The success of our program has resulted in the conversion of many Spry interns into full-time or part-time Spry employees as Customer Support Specialists, Project Assistants, Digital Marketing Assistants or Junior Developers. Giving interns a career path, along with the training they need to be successful helps them see a future with Spry Digital.

Over the past three years, we partnered with St. Louis Youth Jobs to offer digital agency job opportunities to high-school and college students. We also partnered with local high schools in their work-study programs. Students have worked as office assistants and on special marketing projects to explore working in an office setting and on business projects. We love it when our students stay connected with us as they continue their education and consider their career choices. Even if they take a different direction, they could become customers of Spry Digital in the future.

Building a culture of nurturing talent

 As unemployment stays low, companies continue moving to virtual workforces, and the baby boomers retire, recruitment and retention requires an open mind and a nurturing culture. Having defined career path options for entry level employees along with giving people an opportunity to prove themselves helps us build a team of people that love what they do and where they work.