8 brief bold lessons for CEOs to hire, retain, and grow the scarce tech talent

8 brief bold lessons for CEOs_banner_v3


Well, we have known for a while now that there’s a tech talent shortage. Isn’t it? But to be honest that shortage might be even bigger than you may have anticipated. In fact, according to a recent survey, it may be at its highest level since 2008.

1500+ CIOs agree that there’s a talent draught which creates a massive demand for those with the right skills.

An exacerbating issue of the post-pandemic era is the Great Attrition which is already being felt by many companies as tech talent streams out the door to pursue better opportunities. Being able to work remotely has made it even easier for people to leave, since geography is less of a barrier to poaching talent.

For many companies, these moves come with a big warning: there is a massive push happening to grab talent, and you may be missing out.

These seismic shifts come at a time when the shortfall for tech talent is already acute. As per the McKinsey & Company analysis, significant skill gaps exist in seven areas and it will get worse with time. Let’s take an example of Germany, 780000 additional tech experts are required by 2026 to meet the economy’s demand. Across the globe, more than three million cybersecurity positions were unfilled in 2020.

Leaders are now feeling the heat. Another survey by McKinsey says that more than 87% say their companies are not sufficiently prepared to address the skill gap. Further, 61% of HR professionals find that hiring developers will be their biggest challenge in the coming years.

Companies cannot expect to succeed in the digital world without a strong technological background, despite the formidable challenges in finding tech talent. Laying this foundation will only be possible with a deep bench of tech professionals. This sums up to that developing robust people and talent strategies are among the highest-value actions that any business should undertake. Every CEO’s top priority, therefore, should be tech talent.

Leveraging our years of experience in technology talent transformations, we have compiled a list of eight realities companies need to face in finding, keeping and growing tech talent and what they can do to address them.

1. Your only good aspect of talent management might not help you succeed fully

Fulfilling your tech-talent needs is increasingly a multifaceted contest. Finding great talent doesn’t help if the talent doesn’t want to work for you, and hiring great talent doesn’t matter if the talent leaves quickly. Companies have to invest simultaneously across the entire “hire to retire” life cycle.

Start with investing in a digital-talent engine, a focused team dedicated to managing the entire employee experience, from hiring and onboarding to creating new career paths and continuously building skills.

2. Close your talent gap; it’s wider than you think

Your talent gap is wider than you think. While 58 percent of organizations analyze their skill gaps, our experience shows that companies typically underestimate their size. Talent analysis has to go beyond the role level to understand what skills people actually have. And that analysis has to happen much more frequently than the typical once or twice a year in order to keep pace with changing demands.

3. Think about candidate experiences, not recruiting process

HR managers tend to focus on improving their recruiting processes and introducing efficiencies. A more effective approach is to “think like a recruit.” Talent wants to meet the people they’re going to work with, complete the interview process quickly (in as short as a day), and get moving quickly when they’re hired. “Post and pray” isn’t a strategy; tech talent isn’t just going to job sites, so be active in nontraditional channels, such as hackathons and curated sites.

4. Top talent is interviewing you, not the other way around

Understand what tech talent really cares about. Money is important, but top candidates also care about working with new technologies, building up their skills, being part of a culture that values technology, and doing meaningful and interesting work.

5. Build small, empowered teams with a clear mission, and let them execute

In many organizations, the ratio of engineers to management and coordination and support people is 30:70; that needs to be flipped. Build small, empowered teams with a clear mission, and let them execute. Support them by clearing organizational roadblocks and enabling team-level decision making.

6. Eliminate meaningless toil and bad practices—top talent won’t put up with it

Focus on eliminating as many barriers as possible by, for example, developing high-quality, reusable code and providing world-class planning and development tools to make engineers’ work lives easier. Top companies make more than 80 percent of testing automated and continuous.

7. Focus on developer happiness, and productivity and performance will follow

Create an environment that delights and inspires your developers. Focus on developer happiness, and productivity and performance will follow. Make the quality of the developer experience a primary metric of success, and use data to closely track job satisfaction. One of the most important metrics is how many of your developers are recruiting other developers.

8. Stop turning great engineers into bad managers

More than two-thirds of developers don’t want to become managers. Instead, they prefer to keep their craft sharp and pursue ever more sophisticated digital challenges. Create both managerial and non-managerial career paths, so your engineers have the option to grow and build up their skills.

When you as a leader implement these tech-talent centric practices in your interactions and experiment with them continuously, you will not only see an astounding growth but also you will be able to effectively engage and retain top talent. It’s high time for leaders to open up communication channels and address each tech-talent personally which will help your team shape their learnings and long-term contributions for the better.

PeoplActive can provide you with the scarce tech talent that you have been looking for, by leveraging our exclusive network of top 5% developers in Cloud, Cybersecurity, DevOps.

*This article is an adaptation of an excerpt developed by Mckinsey & Company.

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