We’ve worked with many CTOs and CIOs in the last few years, and consistently hear a familiar complaint from companies that focus on technology: a persistent shortage in talent. Although there are many factors that influence the human capital you have available, most of these tend to be out of your control This, however, doesn’t mean that you have to give up and accept the fact that your company might suffer due to a talent shortage.
CTOs face a huge amount of pressure as their companies expect them to deliver results faster and in more creative ways, so they tend to focus on other pressing matters that are easier to measure. But fear not, you can actively address this issue to significantly mitigate its effects on your company while getting your day job done.
The biggest issue with talent shortage is that corporate leaders think there is no real way to address it. Because they don’t see the lack of skilled labor as a “tangible” issue, they often fail to develop concise strategies that can address and solve these shortages quickly and efficiently.
In this article, I will discuss how CTOs and CIOs can solve talent shortage problems in tech companies and how this can improve several aspects of your company’s operations.
Solving Talent Shortages in IT Companies
CTOs rely on skilled workers that are capable of developing effective solutions with the resources they have available. Finding experienced IT workers remains a problem where demand outstrips supply and often leaves headcount unfilled or staffed with insufficiently-trained staff.
Although many companies partner with universities and local institutions to help develop new talent, there is a more direct approach you can put in place. Talent risk management (TRM) can help identify and anticipate possible talent shortage threats and deal with them internally, rather than having to rely on external factors. Using data collected in innovative ways, such as our Knowledge Silo Matrix, can help pinpoint which talent areas are weakest and which can be supported with effective knowledge transfer. Managing your existing talent base will allow your best workers to share tribal knowledge with selected apprentices, reducing pressure on your most overburdened experts.
Most CTOs don’t see talent risk management as something they can measure and track progress on. Since you can’t manage what you can’t measure (Peter Drucker), it seems obvious that leaders find talent risk to be unmanageable. But using simple assessment tools such as noted above will allow leaders to delve into data they didn’t know they could measure, and make informed decisions on what skills gaps to focus on. This kind of TRM can help organizations improve their performance across the board while creating a healthy work environment for all of their team members. Instead of overburdened experts and underchallenged employees, you can identify who is which and use TRM to load-level the work. Managing your human capital can help mitigate unforeseen events such as employees changing jobs, sudden retirements, or personal leave requests because you will have a set action plan that is clear and measurable. If you make the right changes, you can measure and mitigate talent shortage problems in the same way you do with more traditional issues.
Talent risk management can address the talent shortage dilemma in the long-term, but you need to take a few steps in order to assure your TRM efforts will yield the results you seek. Start by ensuring that your leaders are aligned on dedicating focus and resources to solve this problem. You cannot conjure up a whole new supply of capable workers without widespread agreement on a specific plan to get this done.
Secondly, CTOs must inform their colleagues and C-level executives that talent risk management is a company-wide responsibility, so all should be involved and carefully review their respective area of expertise. In other words, for talent risk management to be truly effective, your highest-level executives needs to view talent shortage the same way they view any other risks (such as legal liabilities or security threats) and support your efforts to mitigate the risks you’ve identified.
Because the lack of skilled labor affects the entire company, you also have to communicate your plans to your front-line workers. Effective change management includes identifying all stakeholders and informing them of the work you are planning a well-designed talent management solution will both monitor and communicate progress towards goals so that your organization can measurably reduce your talent risk.
By implementing talent risk management, you can staff your strategy with greater confidence using real data. This means that your company will be able to continue their operations in a smooth manner, allowing you to focus on other pressing matters that need your attention.
For a handy checklist on What to Look For in a Talent Risk Management Program, click here.