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Retaining Top Talent in Tech

Every business today is a technology business. As a result, tech workers are in high demand and have lots of job options. How can you keep hold of your top talent?

Workplace disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has especially affected the technology industry, greatly expanding the talent field from local communities and regions to the world. That means tech talent is in the driver’s seat when it comes to choosing which companies they want to work with based on pay and perks. 

“Europe’s low pay for startup jobs compared to the U.S. is putting it at a disadvantage in the battle for talent,” explains a PitchBook article. One of the biggest attractions for tech workers is stock options, which are largely inconsistent in Europe, hampered by fragmented rules, the article adds.

Because digital skills are in demand across industries and locations today, tech workers have myriad job options and are taking advantage of them. ZDNet reported that only 29% of tech workers in the UK planned to stay at their current company for a year.

The European Talent Landscape report added that although developers are largely satisfied with their work, they change jobs often. For example, 69% of developers in Greece reported job satisfaction, yet 41% of them changed jobs within the past year. 

As tech talent leaves, other workers are tasked with picking up the slack. This only exacerbates the problem, leading to burnout and more exits. It’s a negative cycle quickly spinning out of control.

A winning talent strategy

Against this backdrop, there’s a rising need for tech skills, particularly in cybersecurity, the cloud, data and artificial intelligence (AI). “In a world where skilled talent can be challenging to find, retaining high-performance employees becomes more critical than ever,” notes a Web Summit blog.

“Companies that fail to recruit and retain great tech talent are bound to lose their edge, cede ground to competitors, and, in many cases, fade away,” adds a Bain & Company article. “Meanwhile, companies that adopt a winning talent strategy will have a powerful advantage that’s just as critical to their success as the competitive moat created by their technology products.”

What does a winning talent strategy look like? It’s a fresh approach to talent management in this highly competitive marketplace. It doesn’t make sense to invest in hiring new employees who are going to leave the company in a few months. Instead, the best tactic is to focus on reskilling and upskilling current talent. This should be the priority over hiring initiatives. 

“It’s impossible to hire everyone you need,” McKinsey points out.

“Training and reskilling the existing workforce has to be a core part of the strategy to win the talent battle.”

Not only can this approach help you keep your top talent, but it can also save the company money, benefiting the bottom line. “While reskilling an internal employee may cost $20,000 or less, the cost of hiring often costs $30,000 for recruitment alone, in addition to onboarding training,” McKinsey explains. 

It’s not just IT people who need to be reskilled either. Upskilling employees in nontech departments can benefit the company just as much. 

How to get the skills you need

Before you can embark on a reskilling initiative, it’s important to inventory what skills your current workers possess. Rather than interviewing each worker or asking them to complete a survey, why not make use of the talent data you have on hand? If it’s dispersed across the company and stored in multiple systems, you’ll need to consolidate it into a centralized repository. Only then can you get a big picture of your skills landscape.

By pooling all of your talent-related data, you’ll have a single source of truth. And that is the key to an effective reskilling and upskilling initiative. You’ll also want to enlist the help of AI to find the connections between skills and roles and between possessed skills and proclivity to develop new skills. 

An AI-powered talent data platform can help both aggregate your talent data and map data points to empower talent teams to quickly see which workers can be groomed in new skills that will help the company. AI and machine learning are much more beneficial than that, though. They can also be used to help create personalized skills development plans for your workers. 

AI is able to quickly find connections the human eye can’t see, such as how certain skills relate to open positions — even if they’re not mentioned in the job description — and how other skills can be systematically grown and developed into additional skills. 

As McKinsey explains, “Technology skills evolve so quickly that focusing solely on credentials and specific skills when hiring is not enough. In addition to specialized talent, the best companies look for ‘strong talent,’ which has the ability to learn and adapt.”

That approach is truly the key to winning the talent war. Learn how Beamery helps tech companies retain talent through reskilling and upskilling.