No one could have predicted that the way we operate and do business would alter so dramatically just six months ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc across the economy, reversing significant consumer trends and pushing businesses to quickly improve their technical capabilities in order to support digitization and a remote workforce.
Technical leaders are encountering greater obstacles in delivering digital products and services to the market as a result of these shifts. Finding the right talent is one task that has become even more complicated. Finding the proper people to fill gaps in their teams is one of the most difficult challenges for CTOs and technical leaders when it comes to designing and delivering exceptional solutions.
Here are some suggestions from CTOs and other technical managers for dealing with resourcing difficulties now and in the post-pandemic workplace.
Finding specialized talent is still a major challenge
Because technology evolves at a rapid pace, so do skill requirements. Hiring managers and CTOs continue to struggle to find individuals with specific skill sets that meet product and market demands.
According to Tony Karrer, head of the Los Angeles CTO Forum and CTO of Aggregate, which produces online communities, technical expertise is still hard to come by, particularly for architecture, data science, development, technical management, and DevOps roles.
According to Mark Long, principal of independent business Interna Consulting, this difficulty is often exacerbated by the requirement to fulfill tight timelines.
Long claims that the typical HR process can’t keep up with the demand for new hires. You don’t have time to train people on your team to fill the function because speed is a deciding factor, making it tough to quickly ramp up your team to adapt to changes.
Furthermore, disciplines have evolved rapidly, and as they become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to discover the correct applicant and accurately assess their knowledge and skill level.
Cybersecurity is a good example, according to Eric Gruber, an Amazon IT manager. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the cybersecurity skills shortage would result in 3.5 million unfilled positions by 2021.
“Managers are put in a dangerous position of vying for the limited talent to satisfy the needs… or finding other creative methods to temporarily cover gaps until more talent becomes available,” Gruber added, as cybersecurity becomes increasingly more crucial owing to the threat situation.
Moving beyond technical skills when vetting candidates
While it is difficult to get specialized personnel for product teams, that is not the top issue among IT executives. According to Amit Nayar, VP of engineering at FloQast, “the emphasis is shifting from hiring for technical talents to identifying bright people who have a better grasp of what it takes to produce the high-quality app’s users demand.”
Developers and testers that focus on quality, think like customers and make user-driven technical decisions are in demand. Managers seek team members who look beyond the code and tools to consider the entire value of the product to customers and the company.
It’s not enough to have testers who simply checkboxes, according to Steve Motola, CTO of IT consultancy EntWise. “We need people who can comprehend the product and consider its overall quality. Skills in QA design and planning, as well as developing an end-to-end QA strategy, are in short supply.”
GoodRx’s senior manager of quality assurance, Priyanka Halder, agreed. “Instead of just quality engineers, employers are increasingly searching for quality advocates,” she said.
Technical aptitude is combined with soft qualities such as critical thinking and communication in the ideal candidate’s profile. While these extra characteristics make it even more difficult for leaders to find the proper people, it is widely agreed that team members who possess these qualities offer much more value to a group.
Most hiring managers are still attempting to figure out how to improve their filtering and screening process for these extra attributes. According to Shahin Mohammadkhani, executive director of enterprise technology at Sony Pictures Entertainment, there is a need to go beyond typical coding interviews to be able to recognize excellent talent with the perfect blend of technical and soft abilities.
Building quality-driven teams where each member is regarded as a champion of both quality and the end-user is more important than ever.
Distributed teams and remote work change the game
Unfortunately, there is no quick answer or one-size-fits-all solution, and the recent acceleration of the remote work culture as a result of COVID-19 has prompted businesses to reconsider how they hire and retain employees.
As a feasible solution to fill resource gaps, many firms are considering a shift to remote teams. This modification has two effects: It has opened a can of worms for some, but it has also brought up fresh and exciting prospects for others.
Mohammadkhani of Sony Pictures Entertainment sees remote employment as the new normal. “Now that we’ve developed the technology platforms, everyone can work from anywhere. Many organizations have increased their chances and their reach to the source pool and different markets by opening up their models to accommodate remote team members. Remote control, unlike in the past, is now a desire rather than a hindrance.”
GoodRx’s Halder agreed, saying that getting top testing personnel has been difficult “Because of hiring freezes and layoffs at larger organizations, it has been easier since COVID-19. We now have access to more resources that were previously unavailable.”
This openness to remote work, on the other hand, has ushered in a new level of competition for small and medium-sized businesses looking for top talent for their teams. Large organizations that previously would not have considered recruiting remote candidates for important tasks from outside their city or nation are now more receptive to the idea.
This may put startups and small businesses in a perilous position of having to figure out how to compete for talent against the perks and allure of working for a Fortune 500 company.
COVID-19 is redefining tech team structure and culture
The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted major work habits, in addition to raising concerns about sourcing distant tech personnel to fill shortages. Employers must now reconsider not only their workforce planning and employee branding but also their work culture.
According to a poll of employees conducted by Ultimate Software on the condition of remote work, 54 percent prefer to work from home, 90 percent feel more productive, and 50 percent are less stressed than when they work in the office.
Managers, on the other hand, face a number of problems when working remotely, including:
- Monitoring the output of distant workers
- Boosting team morale and reconciling COVID-19’s mental stress with the demands of meeting team deliverables
- To support successful communication and smooth cooperation, the correct balance of tools and technology must be found.
- Managing sensitive data security and access
Even after COVID-19, creating a productive and welcoming remote-work culture will be critical to the success of tech teams.
Adopting new models for finding top tech talent
The epidemic has proven that, when properly managed, a remote workforce can be just as productive as in-house teams. As a result, remote insourcing and outsourcing are gaining steam, particularly in countries where tech job openings are plentiful.
Remote insourcing essentially means that roles that would have been farmed out in the past are now filled within, but by personnel who work remotely.
Access to a larger sourcing pool may aid in resolving challenges with finding people who possess the proper mix of technical and soft abilities.
The major shift since the pandemic, according to feedback from the Los Angeles CTO group, has been toward recruiting more remote talent to establish in-house teams. Karrer of the CTO Forum stated that “Many CTOs have discovered that working with the completely remote staff is possible. In addition, other leaders in the company have witnessed how successfully a wholly remote approach can operate.”
According to Karrer, the attitude of needing everyone to work in the same workplace has evolved considerably. As a result, CTOs are increasingly looking for people who will only be in the office a few times each year.
Outsourcing can fill in the gaps
This can be used in conjunction with outsourcing to fill more demanding responsibilities like cybersecurity or product quality assurance. Managers may swiftly satisfy skill demands while simultaneously controlling expenses with this integrated hiring method. Instead, then hiring a full-time employee and incurring the related overhead costs, managers can hire an outsourced consultant on an as-needed basis.
“Organizations will continue to extend their usage of contingent labor to maintain more flexibility in workforce management post-COVID-19,” according to Gartner’s research. According to the Gartner report, 32 percent of firms are replacing full-time staff with contingent workers as a cost-cutting tool.
According to a McKinsey analysis, the outsourcing industry has played an important role in organizations’ crisis response across industries, particularly in the delivery of technological services. According to Statista, the IT outsourcing market was expected to reach $413.7 billion by 2021 before the epidemic.
Key outsourcing challenges
It will be vital to find respectable, trustworthy outsourced professionals. Leaders must commit to doing their homework when it comes to developing a successful screening process that goes beyond budget and timeline constraints.
Other considerations to examine include the maturity of outsourced resources, thought leadership, community contributions, and a track record of dealing with remote teams.
Regardless of the new issues that may arise, outsourcing can assist in filling some of the biggest IT talent gaps. This might very well become the new normal when it comes to putting together powerful product teams. Companies that adjust quickly will be ahead of the pack.
Facing the new normal
One of the most difficult difficulties facing today’s tech CEOs is finding exceptional tech personnel. The rise of remote work culture and related workforce trends has opened up new opportunities for hiring and locating specialized people, and the epidemic has demonstrated that distant workforces can be productive.
Companies are evolving toward more remote teams and outsourced, distributed resources can assist cover skill gaps by providing access to a larger talent pool. However, when it comes to forming a remote product team, you must be strategic.
With the exciting chances for discovering talent that this trend brings; managers must focus on what matters most: identifying talent that will enable them to develop a quality-driven team and culture where providing customer value comes first.
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