How to Reskill Your Technical Talent

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How to Reskill Your Technical Talent

The phrase “war for talent” never seems to go away. But for technical talent competition can be particularly cut throat. It’s not enough for companies to strategically emphasize recruiting and retention strategies for highly skilled employees.

Code reported there will be an estimated 1 million more computing jobs than applicants who can fill them by 2020. So, the market literally doesn’t have enough supply to adequately fulfill the demand.

To keep pace with the rapidly evolving digital landscape, organizations should consider how they can reskill their existing workforce to “build” or even “borrow” rather than solely “buying” the skills tech savvy talent need to thrive.

Companies like AT&T have had great success reskilling their workforce. In 2015, 50 percent of the company’s new jobs went to internal people, and since the average employee tenure is 22 years, those positions did not all go to new hires.

To launch a reskilling strategy to build the technical skills your company needs, consider the following:

Build a continuous learning culture. Reskilling shouldn’t be the first step in an organizations’ efforts to ensure it has highly skilled technical talent. Companies should have already set the stage so that learning has a prominent place in its talent management strategy.

Curricula and other learning services should be firmly integrated with work, promoted, and interactive. Essentially, employees should already be prepped to learn. It should be happening daily on an informal as well as formal basis. For instance, managers and employees at all levels should be coaching, mentoring, and using collaborative platforms that promote habitual knowledge sharing.

Identify the skills your organization needs. Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, blockchain, big data, e-commerce, the cloud, coding, user experience design, product management and digital marketing, the list of useful tech skills is long and varied. However, it’s impractical to go after all skills, even if they’re necessary.

Organizations should first assess their current state to identify gaps and subsequently target which skills will help them meet current and future business goals. Furthermore, don’t discount the importance of soft skills for technical talent. Business acumen, the ability to collaborate effectively and solve problems are perfect complements for digital skills.

Provide a variety of learning resources. Technical talent should have easy access to learning: portals, blogs, informal collaborative platforms from which to get quick information from internal experts, etc. They should have access to formal program curriculum from a variety of sources as well. That could include internally created programs and external programming from academic institutions and training providers. For instance, if your company needs help developing skills in cloud computing or web or mobile app development, DevelopIntelligence offers customizable courses a company can tap to fill those particular gaps and more.

Companies should also provide learning assets in the formats technical talent prefer. In 2017, DI conducted a Developer Survey of more than 800 developers globally on their learning behaviors and training preferences. Data revealed developers prefer to learn in a classroom in small groups, essentially, in labs. Their next preferred learning method is video. Understanding these preferences is key to promote training engagement.

Upgrade your talent management processes. To effectively reskill technical talent learning leaders should approach the process from multiple angles. Accelerated promotions strategies, reverse mentoring, innovation exchange programs and incubators, action learning and other creative project work will position internal development as an attractive career enhancement tool.  

Similarly, an organization should promote lateral or diagonal career moves, not just vertical ones. Create new digital career paths that can only be accessed through training. More than 55 percent of developers in the aforementioned survey said they seek out training in order to meet current or upcoming needs – then they seek out training to advance their careers.

Some 68 percent of developers are motivated by curiosity or a desire to improve their skills, which are directly connected to the work they do every day. Show technical talent why it’s in their best interests to devote time and energy to updating, refreshing or augmenting their current skill set. Make the reskilling process as appealing as possible.

Companies need to capture a wide range of technical expertise in order to stay ahead of technology innovation. It makes sense to reskill the existing workforce. With the right learning options – and a culture that promotes internal development and career advancement – organizations can build a loyal talent pool capable of evolving along with the marketplace.