Tech surplus, talent shortage

In the digital-first world, CIOs are pivotal in overseeing their organisation’s adoption of new technologies and driving innovation to pave the way for a successful digital future. To deliver your corporate objectives, it’s crucial to have in place the right talent behind the tech.

But finding – and keeping – great people is harder than ever. For the tech leaders who came together at a recent Investigo Executive technology leadership event, one word stood out when discussing their biggest frustrations and challenges: attrition.

They’re not alone. Last year, a survey from Gartner revealed that talent shortages are the biggest barrier to emerging technologies adoption. With new technologies emerging faster than we can count them, it’ll only get harder finding the tech wizards we need to keep us ahead of the curve. Our innovation leaders talked about their attrition challenges in detail and exchanged a few tips for seeking and securing tech talent.

Hybrid working opens (and closes) doors

While hybrid working theoretically gives organisations a wider range of people to choose from, it also means talent has a wider range of employers to choose from. Geographical boundaries don’t count for a lot in the metaphysical world, and the skill sets companies need aren’t always on the digital doorstep. “Companies that offer true flexibility and look beyond their usual hunting ground will win,” said Investigo Executive Director Natalie Whittlesey. “We’re seeing clients offer a ‘work anywhere’ approach, and writing this into contracts as a benefit. You want to work on a beach for a month? Go ahead!”

The art of seduction

It seems the grass is always greener when it comes to career development. While a value retailer based in in the North of England has lost out on talent who can get more money working from home for a big company based in London, other CIOs have seen people lured away by start-up equity.

Several of the leaders who attended the event were still seeing a traditional middle management mindset towards hybrid working; one of, ‘if you’re not seen, you’re not working.’ In recognising that the working world has changed for good, companies need to provide meaningful performance metrics that tie into each individual employee’s ways of working. Hybrid working is only a part of that. “The ability to work remotely doesn’t make your organisation more attractive – it just puts you on the same playing field as your competitors,” said Anna-Marie McGraw, Associate Partner within Investigo Executive’s Interim Practice.

So how can CIOs approach these talent challenges? Here are the key tips our innovation leaders exchanged during the discussion.

David versus Goliath

In a hybrid world we can’t all compete with the biggest global organisations, with their significantly greater profile and resources, but we can stand out in the sphere in which we operate. It’s important to play to your strengths and show what makes you different from the local competition.

This is where an effective employer value proposition (EVP) is so important. What’s good about working for your company? Are you making assumptions about what your employees value about your business, or do you truly know? Are there some common themes, or are a range of things valued depending on the individual? You might be surprised when you actually ask the question.

Engage with your people through pulse surveys and focus groups to understand their specific expectations from an employer, and use their feedback as the basis to provide the things they’re looking for. You can also take an external view and ask your network, or recruitment partners, to tell you how you’re perceived in the market. Talent acquisition experts can support you with your employer branding and show how your people strategy compares to your competitors’.

Lay your pipeline

If the talent isn’t there now, why not indulge in a bit of talent acquisition alchemy? Unearth potential talent. Cultivate it. Nurture it. Interface with local schools, colleges, and universities. Hiring apprentices, hosting career days and sponsoring hackathons are great ways to engage young talent.

To help secure talent for the future, many companies are forming relationships with universities and colleges. “Yes, inexperienced talent may move on once they’ve gained valuable skills, but if your culture is attractive and your company rewards fairly, they just might stay, too,” said Matt Smith, the IN Group’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Nurture your relationships

Always remain on the lookout for good people via your network. Adopting a collaborative approach, and regularly engaging with people in your network, means you’re always learning about what’s going on in your industry, and always front-of-mind for potential talent. So when that one impactful person who can make a massive difference comes onto the market, you’re giving yourself a real chance of being their next destination. It’s this collaborative approach that forms the basis of everything we do at Investigo Executive.

If you’d like to discuss your talent challenges in more detail or you’d like more advice on finding the right tech talent to drive your business forward, please contact Natalie Whittlesey. She’d love to hear from you.