STORY INLINE POST
These are some amazing and challenging times that we are going through. So many ecosystems of opportunity and risk are being created, as more technologies converge and disrupt industries and communities.
The impact from technology is creating new and different job opportunities every single day. Tech, in particular, is being talent-disrupted. “Eighty-five percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet,” says a published report by Dell Technologies. We need to be prepared. There are more gap-talent issues to cover in tech and more competition. This is one of the biggest challenges already in place and we need to work to be prepared, for new skills and for attracting and retaining talent.
Products and services are becoming increasingly dematerialized and digitalized. The pace of change is so fast that we are learning “as we go” how to use new technologies and, even more so, the convergence of new technologies. AI, Robotics, VR, Biotech, Gentech, Blockchain and now The Metaverse are just a few of the technologies that are evolving and mixing. We need to understand that what we have learned is no longer useful (or won’t be in the coming 18-24 months) We must be ready to train new skills and then retrain over them. Among the most important skills to have are the ability to learn and flexibility. This is not new. Many executives today are in jobs that did not exist five years ago or when they graduated from college. Technology is changing the present and the future of business.
To that, we can add two contextual issues: First, the crazy increase in investment in Latin American fintechs is creating more job opportunities than trained techs can fill; second, the post-pandemic decision of many people to reevaluate how they want to live and work, leading to the Great Resignation.
In summary, there is high demand for tech talent but talent decides where, how and when to work.
What can we do?
Maybe your first thought is increasing wages or improving compensation packages. While it’s not a bad idea to make sure you are paying your employees what they are entitled to, big retail companies have already tried raising wages. Companies like Amazon have offered larger hiring bonuses and still, over 90 percent of these companies are unable to “easily” fill their empty roles. The Great Resignation was a first sign for us to question whether the answer was to be found on a deeper level, where people feel a more profound sense of purpose in their roles.
So maybe higher wages are not the only solution for attracting and retaining people, or at least not that easily. And while there is no one right answer and every organization will need to make unique decisions on workforce and workplace, here are two relevant questions to ask during the process:
- In this fast-changing tech world, you will need to hire. What kind of leaders are you looking for and what new set of skills will you need?
- What are people looking for in companies that will make them even consider you, and when (if) they do join, what will they need to stay for the longer term?
Look for leaders with a particular set of five skills:
- Leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit and a big desire to disrupt “the normal” while wanting to have a positive impact along the way.
- Leaders who are capable of sitting back to first understand at what point each technology is and are able to change perspective to understand what kind of implications that may have.
- Leaders who are ready to embark on a voyage of change, where devotion to learning is critical, and who are committed to helping their teams develop in the same direction. Retrain and upskill your force. Ongoing education is key, particularity in tech, where everything becomes quickly obsolete.
- Leaders who understand that change happens so quickly that they are always looking ahead, scanning and trying to guess the future. They look ahead and are able to build a map (even if it’s not perfect or accurate).
- Leaders who feel passionate about leaving a legacy of positive impact on society, on themselves and on the “organization” they are working for.
Consider the next three points as tips for attraction and retention:
Have a human-centered culture. Preach and apply an organizational culture focused on people; a culture where the focus is on people’s well-being, now and in the future. People must feel they have the optimal condition to be able to do their job. Today, performance is a consequence and not the focus. We no longer talk about “human resources” but about “people operations.”
Among the different points to look at, one of the most important is having a clear career path. One of the main causes of people leaving their job is a lack of vision in terms of options to advance. Eighty percent of the people who will leave their job in the near future will be pushed out by a lack of career advancement. That being said, make sure you provide opportunities. This is an internal exercise for your company. You need to define the best way that your company can incentivize your most committed people and to determine what other options to provide to those who decide to stay. Your people should always have room to grow and learn. Lateral moves, raises and promotions are just three proven strategies for boosting people but so are training plans and upskilling efforts.
Encourage Feedback: It is proven that organizations with systems in place for employee feedback have lower turnover. This does not only mean the “once-a-year” evaluation and not even the midyear status meeting. This must be embedded in your culture. People need to be sure that they work in an environment where they can criticize and have an opinion on how things operate, all while being assured, they are safe. People need a space where they feel their work is understood and appreciated. It is not easy to build and yet so important because if you succeed: 1. You’ll know beforehand what your people like, dislike and why they are leaving you and 2. The effort you make will be perceived by your people in the sense that you are taking them seriously.
Give them maximum flexibility. In today’s world, if one person is remote in your company, everyone else is. Being remote is not only a competitive advantage but it is also becoming a common denominator as more research from companies shows they are asking (and listening to) their people. So, if the de facto way of operating is being remote, or distributed, or a hybrid, then the next task you have is to make collaboration easy. Having the right tools is your competitive advantage and it will allow collaborating and innovating from anywhere. Tools that will allow your teams to communicate asynchronously and synchronously. This set of tools (that you will define as best for your organization) are normally called a collaboration stack. My advice, given the amount of literature on such an interesting topic, is that you read the book “Competing in the New World of Work,” by Keith Ferrazzi, or simply Google other references on the topic. But there are two things that are musts: make sure the rules of engagement are set and followed, and that people are accountable.