5 resolutions for driving a successful talent strategy in 2018

Why IT should put a spotlight on soft skills training
With the first few weeks of 2018 now under our belts, many IT teams will already have put their business goals and strategies in place for the year.

As a manager and leader, you will have asked yourself some key questions whilst evaluating the past year and planning ahead for the next: What will be our focus in 2018? What are we going to improve? How can we do things better and more efficiently? What does the business need of us? After all, setting the right direction of travel is the key to driving success.

While focusing on fulfilling business requirements, an area that is often neglected which also deserves attention is your talent strategy. Even if you only manage a handful of people, your ability to meet your goals can be significantly hampered if you don’t have the optimum blend of legacy and emerging IT skills. And, if your team is going to move on from asking ‘have you tried turning it off and on again?’ to a role that has more strategic involvement, you need to be thinking about the skills that will be needed to support the business in five or ten years’ time, and start to align your team accordingly.

With the skills gap increasing and Brexit due to take place in 2019, getting the right attraction and retention strategies in place now will help your business to remain competitive and drive long-term success for the future. Here are a few steps you can take to develop a successful talent strategy for the long-term:

1. Build a transparent and authentic employer brand

Jobseekers today have access to more information about companies than ever before. Organisations that embrace this opportunity and openly share information about the company, corporate culture and vision in new ways, will transform the candidate experience.

However, employers shouldn’t overreach and try to make the company seem perfect, particularly when replying to a negative comment that has been posted online. This can disingenuous to today’s candidates. Instead of squelching imperfections, use these occasions as an opportunity to engage and diffuse. Using practical, emotional and interactive ways to reach individuals with the right information will send a strong message about your brand – not only to potential candidates, but also partners and investors, encouraging dialogue and engagement.

2. Be open to flexible working

These days, people want to work with their employer in different ways. And the expectations they have of their employer changes over time, as their life priorities evolve. By offering a range of flexible workplace practices that appeal to candidates of all ages and at various stages of their careers, you’ll be able to engage with a wider talent pool, attract and retain top talent, as well as maximising productivity and meeting business demands.

From permanent workers to contractors; Millennials to the ageing workforce: each of these talent groups brings different values to your organisation, including a range of life experiences and skills. This not only helps to create a more diverse and balanced workforce but will also help to close the skills gap. Understanding the factors driving the increasing demands for flexible working are key to making the first steps.

3. Invest in technology

Some organisations have begun investigating the benefits of introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to their hiring processes to take away some of the time-consuming admin involved in recruitment. By taking away some of this burden, you’ll have more time to spend with prospective employees, getting under the skin of their goals and motivations, so you can be sure they’re the right person for your team.

However, there’s a limit to how far you can automate recruitment at this stage. Finding the candidate with the right cultural fit for the company is just as important as having the right skills and experience. For the time being, this isn’t something that an algorithm can calculate.

4. Focus on soft skills training

Professionals who develop effective soft skills are better able to understand and convey the business value of projects to relevant stakeholders. They can more easily earn buy-in and support, collaborate more effectively on cross-functional teams, and they can attain positive outcomes and deliver successful projects more efficiently.

Instead of just focusing on honing technical capabilities, try to to take a more holistic approach and place greater emphasis on soft skills training within your team.

Ultimately, your entire team benefits when all members are equipped with effective communication and collaboration skills. Understanding and developing the soft skills of professionals will lead to the success of the entire team – and, most importantly, the success of the organisation.

5. Foster a culture of learning and development:

One of the key factors in maintaining a successful team and business is being responsive to emerging trends and having the ability to remain innovative.

Foster a culture of learning and development within your team, for both new starters and those who have been around for a little longer. Empower them with the opportunity to upskill, work across other areas of the business, and learn both tech and non-tech skills from other people. In return, you’ll boost business growth, productivity and most importantly, morale.

Whether you’re looking for new talent or to make the most out of your existing workforce, these are just a few ways you can drive success for the long-term.

Need support finding the right talent for your organisation? Get in touch today.