Nurturing a Talented Tech Force: Attracting and Retaining Great Technical Talent….
In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, the success of any organization hinges on the capabilities of its technical talent. With the demand for skilled professionals surpassing the available supply, attracting and retaining top-notch technical talent has become a pressing challenge for businesses across industries.
“86% of leaders are prioritising upskilling their workforce in 2024”
Whether you are engaging with an MSP/MSSP (Managed Service Provider or Managed Security Service Provider) or you have your own internal IT team, it is likely that you have some technical staff on your team – and we all know, they are hard to find, harder to secure and even harder to retain. In fact, only 13 percent of employers surveyed say they can hire and retain the tech talent they need most.(1) Surprisingly, only a minority of the 1,179 executives surveyed in Deloitte’s 2023 Global Technology Leadership Study consider attracting and nurturing talent as a key focus for their tech function. However, this presents a crucial opportunity for technology leaders to establish a robust and proactive tech talent strategy and pipeline. Beyond simply filling technical positions, it becomes a strategic imperative that could significantly impact the enterprise’s growth potential. Now is the opportune moment to prioritize talent development and acquisition, recognizing its paramount importance in driving innovation and ensuring the organization’s sustained success. (2)
Organizations poised for high growth, those fostering thriving workforces, and those embracing innovation all share a common agenda: a steadfast focus on cultivating a more human and relatable identity. By embodying relatability, these organizations challenge conventional notions of value creation, redefining their contributions to society. Rethinking their processes, work methodologies, and digital investments, they chart a new vision for their workplace – one that unlocks the untapped potential of their teams through core values, collaborative partnerships, employee wellness, agility, and unwavering energy. These relatable organizations spearhead a transformative shift in how businesses operate and engage with their workforce, fostering environments that encourage individual growth and collective progress. (2)
In my previous musings, I highlighted the crucial role of upskilling the workforce, as evident from the 86% of leaders who are prioritizing this initiative. Moreover, finding and retaining top talent has emerged as the number one priority for CEOs in the short to medium term. A significant 50% of CEOs anticipate that their organizations will face challenges in meeting demand with their current talent model. It comes as no surprise, then, that HR’s priorities are closely aligned with executive concerns. At the forefront of their agenda is the improvement of workforce planning to enhance the organization’s ability to make informed decisions regarding talent acquisition strategies, encompassing buying, building, and borrowing talent to meet evolving demands.
What Melbourne Tech talent really want?
Melbourne’s tech talent has unique aspirations and desires that businesses must understand to attract and retain the best professionals in the industry. Beyond competitive compensation packages, Melbourne tech talent seeks a work environment that fosters innovation, collaboration, and personal growth. Flexibility in work arrangements, such as remote work options and flexible hours, is highly valued to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Access to cutting-edge technologies and challenging projects that have a tangible impact on society or the environment is a key driver for tech professionals. Additionally, a strong emphasis on professional development and opportunities for upskilling and training is essential to keep tech talent engaged and motivated. Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion, and offer a supportive and inclusive workplace culture, resonate deeply with Melbourne’s tech talent, fostering a sense of belonging and contributing to a positive work experience. Overall, understanding and catering to these preferences will enable businesses to attract and retain top tech talent in the vibrant city of Melbourne.
“In our organization, we’ve witnessed firsthand how people flourish when they are integral to a greater journey, appreciated for their contributions, and engaged in fulfilling work. Rebranding as the Human Face of Tech and defining our vision and values have not only attracted a higher calibre of candidates but also cultivated a deeper sense of purpose and fulfilment among our team members.”
Bradley Kaine CEO
To establish a thriving talent oasis and position ourselves as an employer of choice, we must adopt a strategic and holistic approach that goes beyond offering attractive compensation packages. Let us delve into the key strategies that can help us attract and retain exceptional technical talent, empowering our organization to lead in this ever-evolving digital landscape.
57% of business leaders are focused on offering flexible/hybrid work environments & geographic options.
*Deloitte 2023 Global Technology Leadership Study
1. Embrace a Compelling Employer Brand:
A compelling employer brand plays a pivotal role in attracting high-quality technical talent to an organization. In the competitive landscape of the technology industry, top professionals are drawn to companies that showcase a clear and authentic identity. A strong employer brand communicates the organization’s values, culture, and commitment to its employees, instilling confidence and trust in potential candidates. When a company establishes a compelling employer brand, it not only attracts the best talent but also fosters a sense of belonging and pride among its current workforces. A well-defined brand presence helps create a positive reputation in the industry, leading to increased interest from talented individuals seeking rewarding and meaningful career opportunities. Ultimately, a compelling employer brand is a powerful tool that enables companies to stand out, forge meaningful connections with top technical talent, and build a strong and innovative workforce.
“Our team embraces our vision and values, ingrained in every aspect of our culture. Displayed prominently on our walls and communicated at every monthly update, our core principles of being ‘accountable’ and ‘united’ resonate throughout our organization. We continuously strive to ‘change the game’ and challenge ourselves to make a difference. Evaluating our progress each quarter, we ensure the right people are in the right seats, measuring their alignment with the United, Accountable + Change the game behaviour. This commitment to our vision and values empowers our team to drive meaningful impact and foster a collaborative and purpose-driven work environment.” Bradley Kaine
2. Champion Diversity and Inclusion:
Fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture is not only ethically imperative but also an essential driver for attracting and retaining great technical talent. Embrace diversity in hiring practices, promote equal opportunities for growth and development, and create an inclusive environment where all voices are heard and valued. A diverse workforce fosters creativity, enriches problem-solving, and enhances the overall performance of the organization.
3. Invest in Continuous Learning and Development:
Technical professionals thrive in environments that offer opportunities for growth and skill development. Invest in robust training programs, workshops, and certifications to keep our technical talent at the forefront of emerging technologies and trends. By providing a clear path for career progression and fostering a learning culture, we demonstrate our commitment to their professional advancement.
“At Kaine Mathrick Tech, we prioritize continuous learning and growth, especially in the fast-paced realm of technology, where innovation happens at lightning speed. Each year, we encourage our team members to pursue a qualification to upskill and stay abreast of the latest developments. We believe that investing in their knowledge and expertise empowers them to excel in their roles and drive our organization forward. Through a comprehensive evaluation process conducted every 12 months, our team members have the opportunity to share their career aspirations, while receiving valuable guidance from their line manager and peers on how to accelerate their professional journey.”
46% of leaders believe they must focus on digital transformation & optimisation, and extract organisational value from it
*KPMG leaders survey 2023
4. Cultivate a Collaborative and Agile Work Environment:
Technical professionals are drawn to organizations that foster a collaborative and agile work environment. Encourage cross-functional collaboration, embrace agile methodologies, and provide the necessary tools and resources to promote seamless teamwork. Empowering our talent to work in a dynamic and supportive atmosphere fosters innovation and fuels their passion for problem-solving
“As a CEO, I firmly believe that cultivating a collaborative and agile work environment is the bedrock of attracting and retaining exceptional technical talent. By fostering a ‘united’ and ‘accountable’ culture that encourages open communication, teamwork, and cross-functional collaboration, we harness the collective brilliance of our tech professionals. Embracing agility allows us to respond swiftly to industry changes, innovate relentlessly, and stay ahead of the curve. Our collaborative and agile work environment empowers our technical talent to thrive, turning challenges into opportunities and driving our organization to new heights of success.”
5. Recognize and Reward Excellence:
Acknowledging and celebrating exceptional performance is pivotal in retaining top technical talent. Implement a robust recognition and rewards system that highlights achievements and contributions. Recognize the impact of their work on the organization’s success, reinforcing a sense of belonging and significance within the team.
6. Create a partnership – equitable, transparent and rewarding relationships:
The future of work is witnessing a fundamental shift, where people no longer seek to merely work for a company but to work with it. This shift entails flatter and more networked talent models, facilitated by a flexible, fungible, and globally dispersed workforce. As this social contract of work evolves, the key to its success lies in ensuring everyone feels they are receiving a fair deal. The rise of hybrid working, gig work, and the access to a globally mobile workforce presents both new opportunities and challenges. In response, forward-thinking organizations are embracing a partnership mindset within their ecosystem. They prioritize equity and inclusion in their talent models, enabling access to diverse talent pools. Additionally, they are cultivating robust supplier and partner networks to build business resilience. In this dynamic landscape, the ability to foster partnerships rather than traditional leadership becomes a company’s biggest competitive advantage. By embracing these shifts and fostering a collaborative approach, organizations can position themselves as relatable and adaptive entities in the ever-changing world of work.
7. Nurture a healthy workforce with benefits that matter:
Employers now bear the responsibility to address employees’ unmet needs and ensure their emotional, physical, social, and financial well-being. Relatable organizations exhibit empathy towards their employees’ personal and family circumstances, actively supporting the well-being outcomes of their entire workforce. They foster healthy, rewarding, and sustainable work behaviours while providing personalized support during critical moments that deeply matter. A renewed emphasis on people sustainability is sparking a deeper understanding of the intricate link between health, happiness, and productivity. In the past, well-being was confined to a narrower concept, superficial perks like free fruit or cycle-to-work options were common, but overall efforts were fragmented, operating at the local level. Companies are embracing a shift away from worksite-focused strategies, opting for data-driven approaches that integrate digital and human delivery. To cater to an increasingly diverse workforce, understanding the evolving needs and circumstances of different populations becomes imperative.
Thriving employees are 7x more likely to work for a company that prioritise employee wellbeing.
8. Support Work-Life Integration:
Balancing work commitments and personal life is crucial for a happy and engaged technical workforce. Offer flexible work arrangements, remote work options, and consider wellness initiatives that promote work-life integration. A healthy work-life balance reduces burnout and improves overall employee satisfaction. Employees crave a balanced life – one where work allows time for family, hobbies, health and learning. The key to unlocking collective energy is ensuring that business transformation and employees life experiences are considered together. The energy depletion crisis, closely followed by attrition (remembering that energised employees are less likely to leave their employer) is due to businesses not giving equal weight to both. Bureaucracy, inefficient technology, and siloed working drain energy, leaving teams struggling to meet demand. However, energy can be revitalized by streamlining ways of working, simplifying organizational complexity, and creating a seamless digital environment. To sustain energy, it is crucial to minimize distractions and increase focus, making it easier for individuals to concentrate, contribute, and collaborate effectively. By addressing these factors, organizations can foster a more energized and productive workforce, poised to tackle challenges with renewed vigour and enthusiasm.
30% of organizations are redesigning meetings to improve effectiveness
9. Be relatable:
Forward-thinking organizations are seamlessly integrating their transformation initiatives with a strong emphasis on enhancing the employee experience. They recognize the paramount importance of employee well-being and are actively advancing the lifestyle contract to effectively manage their workforce’s energy. This shift is marked by an exciting frontier in which the People function is elevated and its scope expanded to encompass the human capital agenda. Today, the primary focus lies in mitigating people risks and unleashing untapped potential as companies transition from a period of recovery to one of renewed vigour and growth. This holistic approach ensures that organizations not only thrive in their transformational journeys but also create an empowered and motivated workforce that drives sustainable success.
An overwhelming 96% of executives say we are in an employee-centric labour market and 70% of HR professionals are predicting higher than normal turnover this year.
10. Embracing younger unskilled talent with the right attitude:
Embracing younger, unskilled talent who exhibit the right attitude and alignment with core values can be a transformative strategy, far superior to poaching skilled professionals from other organizations and upskilling them over time. When hiring based on attitude and values alignment, organizations lay the foundation for a dedicated and motivated workforce. Younger talent, unburdened by ingrained habits, can be moulded into the company’s culture and ethos more effectively. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn can infuse a dynamic energy into the organization, fostering innovation and creativity. Moreover, hiring for attitude allows for greater cultural fit, reducing potential conflicts and promoting a harmonious work environment. By focusing on nurturing homegrown talent, companies can also experience considerable cost savings and improved loyalty. Rather than investing substantial resources into attracting seasoned professionals from competitors, training younger individuals can be a more economically sound choice. The investment in their growth pays off in the long run, as these individuals develop skills specific to the company’s needs, driving productivity and contributing to the organization’s overall growth. Upskilling existing professionals from other organizations can pose several challenges. These individuals might carry ingrained habits and preferences that do not seamlessly align with the company’s culture and practices. Furthermore, poaching from competitors can lead to a negative industry image and hinder relationships with other businesses. The long-term approach of harnessing untapped potential within younger, unskilled talent and moulding them according to the company’s values and culture can be a transformational strategy. By focusing on attitude and alignment, organizations foster innovation, save costs, and build a loyal workforce that contributes to sustainable growth. This approach not only benefits the organization’s internal dynamics but also enhances its reputation within the industry, setting the stage for continued success in the years to come.
While specific statistics can vary, some estimates suggest that companies that offer comprehensive training and development programs to younger employees can experience retention rates that are 25-30% higher than those that do not prioritize such initiatives.
In the pursuit of becoming more human-centric, organizations are actively listening to stakeholders, leveraging data to make informed decisions, and advocating for meaningful causes. This approach fosters openness and relatability, enabling employees with the privilege of choice to select organizations that align with their values and aspirations. In 2023, both employers and employees are seizing the opportunity to voice their preferences for work, workplace dynamics, and the overall work experience. To embrace the new shape of work, leading organizations are dismantling outdated structures and slogans, building from a foundation of collaboration, diversity, and sustainability. The focus is on transparency, trust, and distributed leadership, where ideas are crowdsourced, and skills and interests shape careers, rather than traditional roles and relationships.
Continued volatility and uncertainty are driving a heightened urgency for adaptability and resilience, both at the enterprise level and for individuals. As change continues, finding the right balance between humanizing and transforming will be crucial in 2023. In this context, the People function remains at the centre stage, dominating C-suite discussions and board-level debates. HR, having proven itself critical to business success during the pandemic, now has the opportunity to be truly transformative. Empowered by advanced tools like AI, blockchain, and data science, leaders can design cultures and programs centred around how people can work in ways that align with their desires and capabilities.
Looking ahead to the new generations shaping our workplaces, it is evident that they envision a future that is not just brighter, but also more balanced. In this year, relatable organizations will take the lead in assisting their people in finding the harmony between earning, learning, and finding joy together. By focusing on humanizing the workplace and empowering employees, organizations can thrive in the ever-changing landscape of work in 2023 and beyond.
Attracting and retaining great technical talent is a multifaceted endeavour that requires a strategic and inclusive approach. By creating an appealing employer brand, embracing diversity and inclusion, investing in learning and development, fostering a collaborative work environment, recognizing excellence, and supporting work-life integration, we can build a talent oasis that attracts the best and brightest professionals to join our journey of innovation and success. As we champion our technical talent, we pave the way for transformative growth and position ourselves as a leading force in the competitive landscape of technical innovation.
Why partnering with an MSP can help your business retain your technology staff
Partnering with a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can be a game-changer for businesses seeking to retain their technology staff. MSPs offer a host of benefits that create a more favourable work environment and enhance employee satisfaction. By entrusting specific IT functions to a reliable MSP, internal technology teams can focus on strategic and innovative projects, reducing the burden of mundane tasks and repetitive troubleshooting. This shift in responsibilities empowers technology staff to engage in more fulfilling and challenging work, fostering a sense of professional growth and job satisfaction. Moreover, MSPs provide access to a broader range of expertise, tools, and resources, enabling technology staff to tackle complex issues and stay ahead of technological advancements. The collaborative partnership between businesses and MSPs also opens up new opportunities for continuous learning and skill development, elevating the value proposition for technology professionals within the organization. Ultimately, by leveraging the strengths of MSPs, businesses can create a conducive environment for their technology staff, improving retention rates and fuelling long-term success.
- Survey: What attracts top tech talent? Harvard Business Review / Will Poindexter and Jessica Craig, 2022.
- 2023 global talent trends report: source https://www.mercer.com/insights/people-strategy/future-of-work/global-talent-trends/