The fight for tech talent is on - here's how to safeguard yours

Tech skills will help businesses win in the future, but the competition for talent is opening up

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The competition for tech talent—from developers to engineers—has gone up a notch, and here’s why. Over the past year, the word “work” has been redefined. Both the work we do, and how we think about work, has been completely disrupted. When the lockdown hit, businesses were forced to transition from being office-based to working from home. We even saw many re-evaluate their hierarchy of needs starting with continuity before moving onto productivity, culture, creativity and finally, emergence. The way we work will never be the same again.

Hybrid work is the future. But with the rise of distributed teams comes the challenge of keeping workers connected and productive. The pandemic has seen technology come into its own to help keep businesses operational—we ultimately rely on technology more than ever. As a result, business leaders need to retain their tech skills if they are to continue to get ahead, as without geography serving as a barrier to adopting talent, the race is on to find it. So, how can businesses safeguard their talent?

The future relies on technology and its talent

Let’s start with where the demand for tech talent is coming from. Firstly, the way we want to work is changing. Our new consortium, Future Forum, found that fewer than 12% of knowledge workers want to return to working full-time in the office while the vast majority (72%) would prefer a hybrid approach.

While the office isn’t the gold standard of productivity anymore, the foundation of running a business still lies in the ability for teams—internally and externally—to collaborate. Having the right tools and infrastructure in place is therefore critical. In fact, IDC’s 2021 Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions found 65% of global GDP will be digitised by 2022 and 60% of enterprises will invest heavily in digitalising employee experience in 2021.

It’s no surprise then that tech teams have an even more important role to play thanks to their ability to roll out new technologies and to support teams with whatever digital transition they’re going through.

The time to safeguard your tech talent is now, but how?
Digitising your business and delivering high-quality products and services requires high-quality talent. The secret to retaining top performers while attracting the best tech talent starts from within a business. Here are two imperatives leaders can abide by to achieve this: 1) equip your teams with tools that they love to use so workers can spend time on high-value work, and 2) create a dependable space for team communication.

The good news is that the two imperatives go hand-in-hand. Tools which teams love to use also create a dependable space for quick, real-time team communication. So, to retain talent while also moving work forward faster; increasing company-wide alignment; keeping teams connected and engaged; sparking innovation, and accelerating work being done with outside partners, businesses need to look towards collaboration tools which act like a central nervous system. Channel-based messaging tools, like Slack, offer the best of both worlds.

Channels can be assigned to specific tasks, projects or issues such as a #devel-new-site channel where all developers meet to work on the new website, or a #triage-mobile-app channel where teams work together to squash bugs on the mobile app. Channels are much better than one-to-one messages or closed email threads because they make it easy to include the right people in the right topics at the right time.

Starling Bank is one example of a business which has realised such benefits. With it being the first bank in the U.K. to offer mobile-only checking, it delivers fast customer service while complying with banking regulations. This is why Starling Bank’s management portal (an operations and customer support web app that runs payment queues) feeds into private Slack channels. There, key reviewers can approve or reject sensitive actions with a single click before they are archived in a pipeline which is easily accessible for audits. Thanks to bots, reviewers also get extra help. Designed in-house to automate Starling Bank’s developer operations processes, Starbot, assigns less-senior developers temporarily escalated privileges to deploy releases or diagnose issues, including restarting servers.

With technology becoming central to how we will work in the future, finding and retaining tech talent is crucial to shore up business continuity, and win. Giving tech teams the tools that encourage them to build and innovate is just one step to safeguard talent and to make a business attractive to future joiners. Action needs to be taken now before the race heats up.

Slack is for all kinds of teams and companies. Find out how Slack can help make your communications organised and efficient here.

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Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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