Why companies need to move from talent consumers to talent creators

Today’s employment landscape is challenging for organizations looking to recruit and retain top technology talent. Recent labor trends, many of which are fueling the Great Resignation, have shown leaders across industries that their employees are looking for more. In addition to conversations about compensation and working conditions, they want opportunities to grow professionally and advance in their careers.

The tech industry continues to face a persistent talent shortage, and this challenge is exacerbated by the growing difficulty for organizations to retain their current workforce. A recent survey found that 72% of respondents working in IT planned to leave their jobs in the next 12 months. Additionally, another survey of tech executives shows that tech executives believe finding qualified talent is their biggest current challenge.

How can organizations keep their tech talent happy and engaged? How can they not only attract, but also retain top tech talent so their companies can continue to innovate and deliver value to customers? Tech organizations need to look internally to find the talent they seek by upskilling and reskilling their existing tech workforce. To make this vision a reality, organizations need to focus on being creators rather than consumers of talent.

I’d like to share three examples of why companies need to move from simply consuming talent to building a talent base that will carry them into the future.

Finding talent internally, because hiring alone is not a silver bullet

Building winning teams can be the toughest task for any business leader. This is especially true for building technology teams, where the competition for talent has never been fiercer.

1-800-Contacts is a great example of a company that recognized the challenge of finding qualified technology talent to fill its open technology roles and created an innovative solution to combat the problem. As the competition to hire tech talent grew, the company decided to implement a program focused on skills development within the organization. To do this, they created their university training program CTAC and partnered with Pluralsight to create programs with which they could quickly upgrade, retrain and onboard tech workers.

As part of the program, 1-800-Contacts created a formalized path for employees across the company to join the company’s technology organization. As a result, the company has been able to create new career paths for high performers, retain institutional knowledge, and create a new pool of candidates to address tech worker shortages. The company takes call center employees who are embedded in the corporate culture and turns them into software engineers and IT experts.

Keeping pace with innovation

One of the most common themes we see when working with companies looking to grow their workforce is that technology innovation moves so quickly that it’s hard for technical teams to keep up. The most successful companies counter this by developing a culture focused on skills development that aligns with their organizational goals.

Accenture recognized the pace of technology innovation and the need to build technology acumen across its organization. Accenture has partnered with Pluralsight to develop its Technology Quotient, or TQ program, to fill skills and knowledge gaps and ensure its teams have the tools to make the most of technology. TQ helps build technology fluency across the organization and keeps all team members (tech and non-tech) engaged and informed of the rapidly changing technology landscape.

Since its launch less than two years ago, Accenture has used TQ to improve the skills of more than 100,000 people. And he accomplished this amazing feat in a remote work environment. The program’s personalized learning paths enable collaboration between team members at different levels, helping to build technical skills at scale across the organization.

Employee Engagement, Developer Satisfaction, and Institutional Knowledge

One of the biggest lessons we learn as companies compete for top tech talent is that technologists want to feel engaged and have the tools and programs available to them to grow. Tech workers feel more engaged when they have the opportunity to learn and grow. Pluralsight’s recent State of Skills Enhancement report found that more than half of technologists surveyed value opportunities for professional growth more than competitive compensation.

When workers are not engaged, companies can suffer the consequences. Workers with greater institutional knowledge are harder to replace, and losing them can derail project timelines and product launches. The loss of a technical or senior employee can cost up to 150% of that employee’s salary, according to Built In.

Manulife is a shining example of an organization that has embraced a culture of development to keep its technology teams happy and engaged while driving innovation. Manulife strives to break the “myth” that top talent only comes in the form of “the 7-year-old veteran engineer”. Instead, it wants to be an example: that you can hire junior talent, develop that talent within your organization, and create a talent pool that will serve the business for years to come. The company has created several programs to help its 10,000 engineers develop the technology acumen and skills they need to accomplish the company’s most important technology initiatives. These programs include a comprehensive skills development program as well as an onboarding process they call “Manulife University,” which helps bring their new tech talent up to speed quickly.

During the integration process, Manulife measured the time it took for its engineers to get up to 100 lines of code. He found that engineers who were able to get up to speed faster reported higher job satisfaction and generated more referrals for new talent.

These companies exemplify how to solve one of the biggest problems in our industry. As organizations struggle to find tech talent in a market that has too few qualified candidates to fill roles, resourceful organizations understand that if you can’t find it, you need to develop it. These are the organizations that will win as we move into an increasingly digital world.

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