5 Keys to Adapt Your IT Talent Strategy to the Current Reality

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ByMindquest

Published23 April 2020at08:59, updated on19 July 2022at17:01

5 Keys to Adapt Your IT Talent Strategy to the Current Reality cover

Discover our 5 keys to adapt your IT Talent Strategy to the current reality. Here are 5 things you should keep in mind.

It seems it was ages ago that we were wrapping up 2019 and getting ready for a new year. It was the perfect time to look at emerging trends and future business needs, to make resolutions and establish goals for the year ahead. However, the global pandemic is forcing us to scrap many of those plans. We must adjust to the current economic and social reality, and so does our talent strategy.

As an IT decision-maker, your success depends very much on the performance of your teams. Now more than ever, you need to mobilize the right skills, at the right time, and at the right cost.

To do this, you must re-evaluate your existing talent strategy. You must anticipate your skills needs and set up concrete measures to attract, recruit, retain and develop that talent — both to weather the crisis and for when the storm is over. 

Identify your main challenges

Alright, so it’s your team that determines your success. But how do you find and recruit top performers when the tech & IT talent market is suffering from a heavy talent shortage and everyone is competing for the same candidates? Who should you prioritise hiring given the uncertainty of the situation?

All key departments in a company should have a talent strategy in place, but it is all the more necessary for IT since the talent war is raging much more than in other areas. For instance, an expert in an area of expertise such as cybersecurity often receives several offers for permanent jobs or freelance assignments every week — or even every day.

Be aware of these issues to anticipate your needs and define the best possible plan of action (difficulty levels to recruit a particular profile, salary levels, etc.).

Another of the Keys to Adapt Your IT Talent Strategy: Be flexible with your recruiting approach

You know how fast everything goes in the world of IT, especially given the massive shift to remote work. In this perspective, you must ensure that you are able to quickly adapt by working both with stable resources, who know the long-term challenges of your business, and with resources that can be mobilised quickly and on more specific issues.

The solution is often to use both internal and external talent, including freelance IT consultants. They make it possible to bring in skills that are often specific on certain technical subjects, without too restrictive a commitment over time. They also have the benefit of bringing a “new” and external look which can be beneficial to the team already in place and stimulate rapid change.

Leverage soft skills to accelerate your projects

More and more, soft skills are making a difference among IT professionals. The IT department is at the heart of digital transformation and must be an engine of change in the company. Especially in today’s climate, IT teams must be composed of people capable of adapting, communicating, and sometimes even evangelizing to encourage the adoption of new tools or uses.

Hard skills are obviously fundamental, but the lifespan of acquired skills is getting shorter and shorter, and times of crisis call for something more than technique. As an IT decision-maker, you must make sure that your recruitment and talent development strategy focuses on people as the primary performance lever.

A good CIO or a good IT leader shows leadership, creativity and a daring vision — even an entrepreneurial spirit. You must look for these qualities in your IT team leaders and members to ensure the success of your projects.

Are you recruiting developers? Choose candidates who demonstrate emotional intelligence and who will be able to put themselves in the shoes of the user. Beyond the technical mastery of the targeted computer languages, make sure that the curiosity, the method, the initiative and the critical thinking of your candidates are evaluated in the recruitment process.

For more information on the topic, check out this article outlining the 5 most sought-after soft skills in IT.

Beyond recruitment: talent retention and development

It is no longer enough to know how to identify and attract the best profiles to have an effective talent strategy: you have to make sure you know how to keep and develop the right IT professionals who constitute your teams. Especially in a crisis like the one that is unfolding.

You might be tempted to cut staff loose and settle for short-than-best experts to reduce costs. That can be a big mistake. Your employees are your greatest asset and you should protect them and nurture them as much as possible. Focus on retaining your best talent, on future-proofing your existing team. You will be thankful for it once the crisis ends and you have all the competitive advantages of a robust IT team.

Some specific steps that you can take:

  • Create a sense of belonging — especially important with everyone working from home
  • Make your current and future projects attractive and take advantage of online development opportunities
  • Reassure your employees. Make sure they know they are appreciated and that you have their back.
  • Facilitate the management of work-life balance now more than ever
  • Put special attention on internal communication. Transparency here is also crucial

Remember that these initiatives must concern internal talent, but also external employees. The increasingly frequent hybridization of teams, made up of both freelancers and “classic” employees, means measures must be implemented across the board.  

Another key area of focus you should put particular emphasis on the onboarding of new recruits. The successful integration of an employee is always the foundation for successful collaboration, but, with less and less human interaction, it is necessary to make an extra effort in this area.

You must ensure that appropriate onboarding processes and tools are in place. Again, treat outsiders like you treat employees and make sure that freelancers are well integrated into the team.

The last of the Keys to Adapt Your IT Talent Strategy: Seek the support of the right partners

Defining talent strategy is key to your department’s success. But it is not an easy feat in these strange times, especially if you are not a recruitment specialist. Here, a trusted recruitment partner can be decisive. It may be wise to seek the guidance of a third-party actor who knows the market well and understands your specific problems and needs — someone capable of supporting you today and in the long term.

It is also necessary to work in collaboration with other departments within your company: HR for the entire employer brand part, Purchasing for relations with external service providers, etc.

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