How to build a digital workspace for today’s challenges

As the UK employment market goes from strength to strength, we are seeing the needs of digital talent, as well as companies, change. After a tougher market through the depths of the pandemic, now is the time to secure the best talent as their faith in the UK economy and employment market is restored.

But how teams and solutions are built has changed, and the priorities companies should keep in mind have also been altered in light of the pandemic, so how can companies prepare for the future and build the digital workspace they need to succeed?

Trends in the market – increasing salaries and the importance of learnability

Due to the shortage of candidates available in the market, and how competitive the market currently is, companies are now acknowledging that they can only recruit for the skills that they absolutely need. It is no longer possible to have a ‘wish list’ of skills on a job spec; lists of experience of 15-20 technologies being required are a thing of the past. Instead, recruiting for learnability is now equally as important as the actual skills a candidate presently has.

Furthermore, clients aren’t getting traction with adverts. Whilst this has been the case for some time, clients are really having to sell themselves more than asking for a long list of requirements. Additionally, with some reports of technical vacancies being open for a number of months, employers need to remember not to always think what they need now, but what they will need in three months’ time.

With remote working firmly a norm now for many organisations across the UK, candidates can apply for roles anywhere in the UK, including major hubs such as London which previously were too far away when office-based work was required. With digital skills being so heavily in demand, salaries are increasing at an alarming rate and companies that are based in cities like Manchester and Glasgow are now consistently competing with companies in London, who typically have higher salaries and are in turn raising the expectations of candidates from a salary perspective. By lowering experience expectations, focusing on a candidate’s learnability and highlighting what a company can offer to talent, it is still possible to stand apart in the crowded market.

Implementing cross functional teams to increase collaboration

Within the tech industry, we’re accustomed to seeing teams structured based on function, with members sharing technical expertise. Increasingly, however, this siloed approach is becoming outdated, and business are shifting towards cross-function collaboration.

Cross-functional teams often consist of groups of employees from various functions across a business who work together to achieve organisational goals. By having team members such as Developers, Testers, DevOps Engineers, UX Designers and Product Owners collaborating closely on projects, a greater level of synergy, communication and a clearly defined common goal are afforded.

Experis have a lot of experience in recruiting for these team structures. Our vertically/technically aligned recruiters are equipped with the experience to qualify candidates around their experience in these kinds of teams. Having also worked with a number of clients who have built out these kinds of teams, Experis can advise on what has proven successful in the past, as well as potential pitfalls and how to avoid these.

The benefits of approaching projects from a technology agnostic perspective

Rather than building a solution based on what technology skills your organisation already possesses in-house, approaching a project from a technology agnostic perspective means developing a solution without a particular technology in mind, but rather based on what technology would best compliment it.

This approach carries with it multiple benefits for organisations. As teams are constantly learning new technologies and in turn feeling empowered to contribute to conversations around what technology they believe would best suit a solution or project, taking a technology agnostic approach can help improve staff retention. It also carries the added benefit of helping a company remain at the cutting edge of technology, by encouraging consistent research and training within the team.

Make technology choices based on access to talent

Moving forward, making technology choices based on access to talent will help organisations to attract talent and can also offer cost saving benefits. As mentioned earlier, gone are the days of creating job specs with a requirement of experience with innumerable technologies. Instead, companies interested in attracting and retaining top talent should make technology decisions based on talent, as opposed to talent decisions based on technology.

If an organisation is to select a software solution or choose to complete a project in a certain language or technology that has an extremely small talent pool, this can have a detrimental impact on the organisation as these talent pools are very often very highly paid, due to the scarcity of their skills within the market.

As the past eighteen months has demonstrated, technology requirements can shift quickly, and what a company is currently using may not be what is best for business needs in a year or two. Increasingly, the priority should be on the learnability of a candidate, as this will demonstrate their ability to adapt and learn new skills as and when it is required.

The talent market has changed considerably in the last year, and we are not anticipating a return to pre-pandemic methods of working. Instead, organisations need to take the learnings of the past eighteen months on board to rethink their talent strategies in order to be in a strong position to build the workforce they require to meet the post-pandemic challenges of today and tomorrow. By putting the priorities of candidates first, being flexible and taking a technology agnostic approach to projects, companies can ensure they stand out from the crowd as an employer of choice to top talent, and are well on their way to building structures and processes fit for the future.

To learn more about how Experis can help your organisation build a digital workspace ready to meet the challenges of today, contact our team here.