by Rebecca Merrett

How to spot high performers, drivers of business: Hudson

Oct 25, 20124 mins
CareersIT Leadership

The increasing demand for IT to do more with less and help drive the business is redefining the skills that are needed to succeed in an IT career, according to the latest Hudson ICT Leaders Series report.

“What we’re really seeing across the IT market is an emphasis on commercial skills,” Hudson’s ICT national practice director, Martin Retschko, told CIO Australia.

“The assessment for the recruitment practices involved in ensuring that there are high performers recruited into an organisation is looking at not just at the technical skills, but also the motivational fit and the cultural fit.

“The kind of culture our clients are looking for is very much around collaboration, communication, innovation, and change. They are looking for technologists that are proactive and can bring some entrepreneurial flair to the operation, can act as advisers right across the business and can contribute to where the business is heading strategically.”

Bruce Shi, information services director for Chinese pharmaceutical company Sanofi, described in the report how IT roles have shifted from being less focused on core technical skills to more focused on business and management skills.

“When I first joined the company most of my team was focused on trouble shooting, protecting and programming,” Shi said.

“Now I need people to know about business partnerships, service management, IT architecture, strategy development and project management, and so we’ve transformed the team from a technical team into a business IT team .”

When finding talent with skills needed to help drive the business, Retschko said organisations are using performance benchmarks to assess the behavioural and motivational aspects of high performers.

“CIOs and HR departments are working together to try to understand what drives high performance within an IT department, and really getting to the ‘nitty gritty’. So what sort of background, what sort of aptitudes, what sort of motivation do people have that are at a high level of performance and using that benchmark to go out to market and seek to replicate that type of candidate.”

Retschko added that organisations are also ‘mapping out the competition’ as a way to find high performing candidates and to build a talent pipeline.

“I’m also seeing the development of talent pipelines, so really understanding the competition, understanding the sort of people that will drive performance for an organisation and developing talent in-house.”

CIO of Credit Union Australia, David Gee, said in the report that he uses a skills, knowledge, experience, behaviour (SKEB) model where candidates are assessed on how they approach solving a problem that has been described to them on a whiteboard.

“I’m not worried so much about presentation skills, but the ability to think through an issue and come up with plausible approaches is important,” Gee said.

“To me, it’s about how they ask questions, how they come back with different approaches — that says a lot about a person.”

Retschko pointed out that to have a long-term, sustainable IT career, workers in the industry need to look beyond the technology function of IT and understand other parts of the business they work in.

“IT workers need to understand every aspect of the business; they have to take an interest in the business. It’s not just about the technology, but it’s about the industry that they operate in, it’s about the business that they operate in and understanding the changes that are going on.”

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