2020 has undoubtedly expeditated digital transformation across many businesses with IT leaders throughout the world accelerating their cloud adoption plans. With this tremendous shift, however, we’re also seeing a widening of the digital skills gap. While the crisis has for many led to a necessary restructure, as we begin to look to a post COVID era it’s crucial businesses have the right talent in place to ensure a strong recovery.
But finding the best tech talent isn’t straightforward, particularly when you’re in a competitive, candidate-scarce market such as Salesforce or AWS. With an ever-increasing number of customers and partners clamouring to hire skilled professionals, attracting, training, and retaining these candidates can be incredibly expensive as skyrocketing demand drives salaries up and availability down.
“As new roles emerge and skills requirements change, the size of the existing pool of skilled workers just isn’t going to be big enough to meet demand. Companies won’t simply be able to fall back on hiring new employees as they attempt to futureproof their workforce.”
Miguel Milano, Former President of EMEA, APAC And LACA Sales, Salesforce
So, what should business leaders look to do when designing a post COVID workforce?
1. Planning for the unplanned
Hiring for what you need today might feel a lot easier than thinking about what you’ll need your team to look like in the long run, but in a post-COVID climate, it will be vital to do just that to maintain business continuity. This is something to keep in mind when you’re diving into any workforce planning sessions. Approach recruitment with a keen eye on where the business wants to be a few years down the line, because without that forward-planning you’ll find yourself ill-prepared for surprises, and constantly replenishing roles, as people may not have the skillset you need in a year or two years’ time. Think about what that role or team will look like in 12 months, and seek to hire people who can weave their skills and experience together to create one hard-wearing tapestry.
2. Consider new pipelines of talent
Organisations should consider the number of options that are available when it comes to getting the right talent. Permanent hiring can be supplemented by a number of other options. Implementing a graduate, apprenticeship or returners programme for example, or working with a consultancy or hiring a contractor.
“Traditional approaches to recruiting are expensive and ineffective at attracting critical IT talent to support digital transformation. New approaches are necessary to offset current talent shortages, and to ultimately accelerate execution on digital business transformation objectives.”
Gartner — Competing for Digital Talent: Tactics for Uncovering Non-Obvious Talent
A lesser known option are talent creation programmes. They work with organisations to deliver business ready professionals by recruiting, training and then deploying talent to work as part of their clients teams. Businesses avoid the burden (and cost) of training and developing employees but gain access to the niche technical skills they need. They can either keep that resource on a temporary basis or can transition them to a permanent member of the team after contractual timeframes have lapsed. What makes these programs truly valuable is that they lower the cost of ownership of your entire talent acquisition program, not just your salary overheads.
3. The flex factor
A core part of planning for uncertainty is to make sure you can scale your talent to meet an increase—or drop—in demand. As you review your talent management processes, make sure to develop pipelines of talent that can be flexed up or down as needed. Consideration should also be given to how long it will take to ramp up.
Finding tech talent is hard enough but when you throw in additional challenges of being in a candidate scare market, this can seem near impossible without a talent strategy.
If you have a critical project that needs talent fast, you need to have access to a pipeline that can scale with your business. This also applies to geographical flexibility. Finding tech talent is hard enough but when you throw in additional challenges of being in a candidate scare market, this can seem near impossible without a talent strategy. Adopting a blended approach to your workforce planning allows organisations to have greater control and a lower risk.
4. Embed diversity into your hiring practices
A lot of businesses we talk to have the same challenges– they want to bring in more diverse pools of talent but can’t find the people. Recruitment, hiring and onboarding processes need to be designed with diversity in mind. In our white paper, Hiring a Diverse Workforce, we discuss with other industry experts what businesses can do to attract more diverse candidates. One thing all our experts agreed on was that, for diversity and inclusion to be impactful, it needs to be driven from the top.
“Not every part of a company may have a diversity issue. It’s important to identify where the inequality lies and then set realistic targets to address it. If a company has no female directors, this is an obvious place to start and one that will make diversity challenges further down the line much easier to implement.”
Maxine Benson, Co-founder, Everywoman
Eric Dreshfield, Salesforce ecosystem veteran, ITequality Executive Advisor, Dreamforce regular and Salesforce MVP Hall of Famer advises, “Companies should proactively seek out diverse suppliers when they are purchasing goods and/or services. To help facilitate this process, I would recommend that businesses set up a registry, where diverse suppliers can provide the company with details about the products and services they sell.”
5. Upskill and reskill your employees
And finally, be prepared to invest in training and certifications so that your staff are able to gain these skills while they’re with your organization.
“In addition to adopting more inclusive hiring practices, businesses also need to think about how they provide training.”
Miguel Milano, Former President of EMEA, APAC and LACA Sales, Salesforce
“Apprenticeships offering practical on-the-job training, in-house training programs for non-college-educated entry-level employees, and partnerships with external workforce development agencies, all play an important role when building a more diverse workforce”, continues Milano, stressing the value of professional development and its impact on D&I.
Putting money behind learning and development initiatives not only leaves your business with well-rounded and more skilled professionals, but also helps build trust and loyalty, increase motivation, and reduce employee turnover. It really is one of the best ways to demonstrate how much you value your workforce, and perhaps the most commonly overlooked!
Revolent is a world leading cloud talent creator, specialise in recruiting, cross training and deployment of AWS and Salesforce certified talent. We are passionate about creating net new, diverse talent, creating opportunities for people from a broad range of backgrounds.