Meridian Technologies, a Consulting Solutions company, fills a full spectrum of skilled technical positions for some of the country’s largest organizations. Meridian meets the highest standard of excellence due to its focus on forging long-term relationships with deeply experienced consultants and building high-performance, service-oriented teams that produce results. Its scalable engagement models, from individual technology consultants to more strategic enterprise programs, enable clients to tap into world-class talent, expertise, and services to drive technology and enterprise transformation initiatives.
As Executive Vice President at Meridian, Rick Stengard leads over 250 people in multiple regional sales and client-facing delivery teams across the commercial and government IT services sectors. His focus is on developing techniques, processes, and training to ensure scalable and repeatable growth.
M.R. Rangaswami: What are some of the current challenges impacting the staffing of technical positions?
Rick Stengard: It’s a competitive market right now for highly skilled IT professionals. One thing we try to impress upon clients is the importance of speed—the faster we can move a strong candidate through the hiring process, the more likely it is they’ll accept an offer. Unfortunately, multiple interviews and homework to assess candidates aren’t as doable as they used to be.
Right now, the most skilled and qualified candidates are on the market for days, not weeks. One of the things we do at Meridian is to help our clients hire faster while maintaining the same level of talent quality. We spend time up front matching the right people with the right opportunity. A full gamut of screening is done before the interview process begins for the client, so the evaluation process can move faster.
Within the government sector, which is a key focus for us, one of the biggest challenges is sourcing talent with the required clearances and certifications. For federal government especially, clearances as well as technical certifications are needed for most people working with technology or in an IT capacity. Meridian continues to successfully migrate qualified tech talent from the commercial side to the public-sector side to fill the demand, including helping consultants get the proper clearances and certifications.
M.R.: What have been the impacts of remote working on the workforce, including program delivery?
Rick: Pre-pandemic, our consultants and technical professionals were almost exclusively onsite, meaning that people were relocated or had to travel to client facilities during the contracted period. This meant that oftentimes, access to talent was limited by geography or was attained at greater cost. Now, with cloud computing and the increasing acceptance of distributed work environments, the need for relocation and travel is less, reducing costs and widening the talent pool.
Overall, we’ve found that our remote teams are just as effective. As a validating point, we have Agile software programs that have their performance measured on a quantifiable, point-based scale. The velocity of points being accrued per person and per hour has remained the same or in some cases even surpassed the levels seen during onsite work.
M.R.: What should organizations look for in an IT staffing and solutions partner?
Rick: No matter what an organization’s staffing needs are, it comes down to the quality of the people. It’s the client that is taking the risk, so it’s vital to have faith in a partner that can identify people who deliver programs successfully.
There are many IT staffing solutions providers that will look at a job description and just provide a resume that checks the basic boxes. It’s important to have a partner that spends time pre-consulting with you to understand your needs—not only in terms of technical skills, clearances, and certifications—but also in terms of more intrinsic qualities to deliver exactly the right person. There are great software developers who won’t make good team leads because they aren’t good communicators or lack leadership skills, for example.
It’s also important that the partner doesn’t just step out of the process after the hire is made. Your partner should continue to manage talent post-hire and throughout the project to ensure successful program delivery and a satisfactory experience on both sides of the table. In fact, consultant care is a big part of Meridian’s culture. We believe that establishing long-term relationships with IT professionals that we have confidence in, and who are happy in their jobs, is key to providing the best human resources to our clients. Our consultant retention averages nearly 36 months and extends to as much as 10 years, which is exceptional in our industry.
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com