The tech talent crunch is having an impact across virtually every organization, and as a result, CIOs needs to be thinking creatively about how they can position their organization best to win top talent.
This means tech leaders need to be open to new ways of embracing this talent, and the most forward-thinking CIOs will embrace bold objectives for change amid growing calls for a more diversified workforce.
“I strongly believe that CTOs and CIOs are responsible for providing proper support for their teams, ensuring they can achieve the goals laid out for them in any given year by both the CTO/CIO and other company leadership,” explained Dave Walters, CTO at Hired. “Effective support means having not only a sufficient amount of team members but also people with the specific skills needed to effectively achieve the goals.”
Walters said CIOs need to understand that the current deficit in tech talent is a real thing – and growing worse annually.
He pointed out the Great Resignation has increased employee turnover, leading to all-time high demand for tech talent as companies look to maximize their talent pipelines.
This, in turn, is driving continued pressure on salaries and leading to significantly shorter hiring cycles.
“The less prepared CIOs are to deal with this dynamic, the more of an impact it will have on their organizations and ultimately the business they support,” Walters said. “They may be seeing this today reflected in the time it takes them to fill open positions, the challenges they have in finding experienced professionals with specific skills they need, and even in their own challenges in retaining top talent, which is easily lured away with competitive offers.”
He said CIOs need to implement a two-pronged strategy to set their organizations up for success – focusing on retention on one side and recruiting and resourcing on the other side.
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that if you are struggling with retention, it will impact the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts and you will find yourself on a hiring treadmill: You need to do everything you can to retain your top talent.
Secondly, CIOs need to look at ways to increase their likelihood of finding and attracting the talent they need – starting with offering competitive packages.
This means broadening the talent search, including remote and international talent. Organizations also need to have a solid plan in place for growing tech talent within their organizations, offering compelling learning and professional development opportunities.
“CIOs need to empower their organizations, through tools, resources, training and best practices – to be productive in the ways that work best for them while ensuring strong collaboration and overall alignment on the direction of initiatives,” Walters said.
Antonio Vázquez, CIO of Bizagi, added that CIOs also needs to understand that the current workforce is experiencing burnout.
Factors ranging from inefficient communication and no physical contact to a lack of plans for the near future (other than surviving) and salary freezes or cuts—all were harmful to employee experience.
“The first thing that we, as executive teams, should understand is that retention periods have shortened,” he said. “You can no longer think of employing someone for 10-20 years–realistically you’re hiring them for 2 to 4 years.”
Based on that initial premise, Vázquez said CIOs need to adapt their employee engagement plans accordingly and always keep in mind the cost of change.
This includes working on competitive compensation packages that can retain employees for a few years, and putting a focus on specific career paths for tech workers separate from the traditional, develop tailored training plans, including on-the-job training by participating in innovative projects.
Vázquez said to attract talent, you need to make a strong and consistent value proposition to your potential candidates. Then, when all that is set, you need to align your selection and on-boarding processes.
“However, when thinking about attracting new talent, the same question always pops up: What about your current talent? Don’t forget about it,” he said. “Always define your plans keeping in mind new and current talent, and how you can blend those two in the best way.”
Another critical consideration to take is the new workforce dynamic brought on by the pandemic—namely flexible work schedules and work from home (WFH) opportunities.
Walters explained tech pros have become much more comfortable with remote and asynchronous work, noting engineers have long felt they could be more productive working away from the distractions of the office.
“The forced shift to remote work at the beginning of the pandemic, coupled with the significant improvement in remote collaboration tools and other cloud-based technologies and platforms, put this assertion to the test for many companies that had no intentions of doing so,” he said. “And for many, if not most, it was proven to be true.”
Vázquez agreed that the generalization of WFH programs has opened a new horizon to tech workers.
“You can now remotely work for companies you never imagined you’d have the opportunity to work for, and the cost of change is almost none,” he said. “The current workforce wants the flexibility of working from home; if companies no longer offer WFH, this may be the dealbreaker.”