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Why companies must transform from consumers of talent to creators of talent
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Why companies must transform from consumers of talent to creators of talent

Today’s job landscape is challenging for organizations looking to recruit and retain top tech talent. Recent labor trends, many of which are fueling The Great Resignation, have shown leaders across industries that their employees are searching for more. In addition to conversations around compensation and work conditions, they want opportunities to grow professionally and to level up their careers.

The tech industry continues to face a persistent talent shortage, and exacerbating this challenge is the increasing difficulty for organizations to retain their current workforce. A recent survey reported that 72% of respondents working in IT were planning to quit their jobs in the next 12 months. Additionally, another survey of technology executives shows that tech executives believe finding qualified talent is their biggest current challenge.

How can organizations keep their technology talent happy and engaged? How can they not only attract, but also retain top-level technology talent so their companies can continue innovating and delivering value to customers? Technology organizations need to look internally to find the talent they seek by upskilling and reskilling their existing tech workforce. For this vision to become a reality, organizations must focus on being creators, rather than consumers, of talent.

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

Source talent from within, because hiring alone isn’t a silver bullet

Building winning teams may be the most difficult task for any business leader. This is especially true for building technology teams, where the competition for talent has never been more fierce.

1-800-Contacts is an excellent example of a company that recognized the challenge of finding qualified tech talent to fill its open tech roles and created an innovative solution to combat the problem. As the competition to hire tech talent increased, the company decided to implement a program that focused on upskilling from within the organization. To accomplish this, they created their CTAC University training program, and partnered with Pluralsight to create programs with which they could upskill, reskill and onboard technology workers with speed.

As part of the program, 1-800-Contacts created a formalized pathway for employees from across the business to join the company’s technology organization. As a result, the company has been able to create new career pathways for top performers, retain institutional knowledge and create a new pool of candidates to address tech worker shortages. The company is taking call-center employees that are brought into the company culture and turning 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 develop their workforce is that technology innovation is changing so rapidly that it’s difficult for tech teams to keep pace. The most successful companies counter this by developing a culture focused on skill development that maps to their organizational goals.

Accenture recognized the pace of tech innovation and the need to build technology acumen across its organization. Accenture partnered with Pluralsight to develop its “Technology Quotient,” or TQ program, to address skills and knowledge gaps and ensure its teams had the tools to get the most out of technology. TQ helps build tech fluency across the organization and keeps all team members (tech and non-tech) engaged and up to speed on the rapidly changing tech landscape.

Since its launch less than two years ago, Accenture has used TQ to upskill more than 100,000 people. And it’s accomplished this incredible feat in a remote work environment. The program’s customized learning paths allow for collaboration between team members at different levels, helping to grow tech skills at scale within the organization.

Employee engagement, developer satisfaction and institutional knowledge

One of the biggest lessons that we’re learning as companies vie for top tech talent is that technologists want to feel engaged and have the tools and programs at their disposal to grow. Tech workers feel more engaged when they’re given opportunities to learn and develop. Pluralsight’s recent State of Upskilling report indicated that more than half of the technologists surveyed value opportunities to grow professionally more than they value competitive compensation.

When workers aren’t 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. Losing 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 embraced a culture of upskilling to keep its technology teams happy and engaged while driving innovation. Manulife is working to break down the “myth” that top talent comes only in the form of the “7-year veteran engineer.” Instead, it wants to be an example: that you can hire junior talent, grow that talent within your organization and create a talent pipeline that serves the business for years to come. The company created several programs to assist its 10,000 engineers as they develop the technology acumen and skills they need to accomplish the company’s most important technology initiatives. These programs include a comprehensive upskilling program as well as an onboarding process that they call “Manulife University,” which helps get their new tech talent up to speed quickly.

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

These companies exemplify how to address one of the biggest problems in our industry. As organizations grapple with finding 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 must build it. It’s these organizations that will win as we push into an increasingly digital world.