The Technology Talent Battle (Part 2)

abstract-technology.pngIn part one, we had a look at how you can rotate high performers, encourage the use of innovation within your organization and ensure outside exposure.

Now I am about to take the discussion further. Join me and continue reading.

Increase talent externally
Developing and maintaining existing talent is important, but it is never enough. Skills and qualifications required to play key roles may not exist internally, and opportunities to upgrade talent always exist. A new person brings fresh ideas and perspectives into a technology organization. As such, sourcing talent externally is also critical. Naturally, great recruiting capabilities are a must, but there are also specific actions that IT organizations have found particularly useful.

Rethink location strategies when necessary
IT organizations created incredible value over the past years by relocating functions to less expensive locations. Some IT organizations are now refining their location strategies to enhance their ability to attract critical talent. In many cases, this means operating a portfolio of locations that includes lower-cost sites to perform transactional activities and locations in city centers or near universities to attract technologists with cutting-edge skills.

Draft the best athlete
Large, complex technology requires hundreds of specialized skills, and needs can change rapidly. Customer analytics and enterprise mobility may be pressing requirements, but other issues may be more critical in a few years. However, talented technologists can learn new skills quickly, so some IT organizations have focused recruiting on finding great problem solvers and communicators, with the expectation that they can pick up the skills required for a particular role.

Leverage the network
Talent attracts talent, especially in technology roles. Investing in high-profile hires, potentially from non-traditional sources for example, recruiting high-tech talent for enterprise IT roles, can help build buzz on the recruiting market.

Making required changes happen
Which of these levers to apply, how to apply them, and in what cycle depend heavily on a company’s needs, existing capabilities, and organizational constraints?

Here’s how to think about integrating these levers to help win the war for technology talent:

Get an accurate picture of future needs and current capabilities. A technology talent strategy has to start with insight into needs. Will there be large investments in multichannel customer care? Which is a bigger priority? Business innovation or quality and efficiency of IT delivery? Will cyber security risk management have to improve? At the same time, IT businesses must develop an objective view of their current skills and capabilities. How current staff feel about their career experiences, how staff are perceived outside the company, and how current recruiting and career-development processes work—or don’t work for that matter.

Develop a map of priorities. To focus efforts, leading organizations develop a heat map that shows the gaps between business needs and current skills, as well as risks related to those gaps. For example, a company might recognize that most of its developers grew up programming back-office applications, but that the business will need more sophisticated data analytics over the next two years, or that given a planned consolidation program, the company can’t afford to lose any high-performing infrastructure engineers.

Track and reinforce progress. To make sure the required, everyday behavior changes occur, progress must be tracked against a set of metrics. For example, maintenance of high performers, the number of external hires who succeed in their roles, and the percentage of staff receiving business-oriented training and syndicated with senior leaders who can resolve issues and accelerate progress.

With the current skills gap in IT, it can be challenging to find, retain and develop the right talent.

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