The Key to Staying Ahead of the Curve in the Rapidly Evolving World of Tech

Michael Green

Michael GreenVice President of Nelson Frank

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Companies of all shapes, sizes, and across every industry are putting more stock in digital transformation as the latest tech products and services become not only more accessible, but an essential weapon in the battle to stay competitive.

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But business tech isn’t a silver bullet. Implementing a new system or tool isn’t enough to help your organization be more efficient; you also need people on your team who know how to use it. And sourcing, hiring, and retaining tech professionals is no picnic in today’s skill-strapped and candidate-scarce sector. 

The digital skills gap

Right now, there aren’t enough tech professionals around to fill the tidal wave of new IT jobs hitting the market. This shortage is creating fierce competition for those candidates who have the skills that are in demand from employers. Even if a business is lucky enough to attract one of these people, though, they’re still faced with a longer-term issue of what to do when the skillsets they need change.

Businesses who want to win the war for tech talent need to have one foot in the future, and think not only about the sort of skill profiles they need today, but also the ones they might need tomorrow. 

Tech moves swiftly. Just as we’re getting to grips with one new development, something else comes along to help us do more, faster. The speed of this innovation means that many traditional channels of education aren’t agile enough to keep pace with every emerging tech trend.

Starting the hiring process over each time you need a new tech proficiency on your team is an impracticable, not to mention expensive, strategy. Who can businesses then look to when they need a skills boost? The answer could be right under your nose.

Working with what you have

It’s estimated that more than half of the workforce will have to reskill or at least significantly upskill by 2022 to be able to meet their employers’ strategic requirements.

To ensure that they have the aptitudes they need to get the most out of their tech platforms and achieve their commercial goals, organizations need to invest in the development of their existing staff. Businesses who expand their training offerings, and take a role-based approach to arming employees with new skills, will be best-placed to come through tech’s talent crunch unscathed.

Your existing teams are your most valuable resource you have at your disposal when it comes to building a great team. You already know where their talents lie, and what new skills they’d be best suited to learning, and they have something that new hires can’t possibly offer—proprietary knowledge of your business, your processes, and your mission. 

Championing employee development is a no-brainer: your business cuts hiring costs, brings cutting-edge knowledge and skills into your workforce, and enjoys the increased engagement and productivity that comes with employees who feel supported and invested in.

Transforming your existing staff into the tech superstars you need starts with developing a culture of perpetual learning. Encourage your staff to seek out opportunities to learn new skills in whatever way best suits them, and reward those who take the lead on their own reskilling. This could mean bringing in trainers or thought-leaders from your product ecosystem to teach your team or deliver information about product updates. You could set aside time for them to take online courses or attend in-person training. Sending them to industry-specific events and user groups, and having them disseminate what they’re learned to their colleagues, is also a great way to boost skills.

Many major business tech vendors offer role- or product-specific certifications too. These accreditations are incredibly useful for adding tech clout to your team, as vendors update and refresh exams on a regular basis to make sure they’re up to date. Paying for your people to study for and earn these certifications enhances your internal knowledgebase and lets your employees know you’re committed to their progression.

A recent survey of ServiceNow tech professionals found that 70% of respondents’ employers had at least partially funded their teams’ certifications. Of course, delivering great training isn’t cheap, but upskilling is an indispensable exercise if you want to be able to take advantage of the latest and hottest skills without relying exclusively on external recruitment.

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