Keys to Building an Empowered IT Workforce for Digital

Building an Empowered IT Workforce

This fifth blog post in the Partnering with Intent series explains why IT organizations seeking to build and maintain a digitally prepared workforce need to abandon their traditional recruiting, retention and partnering strategies. Millennials, the lion’s share of digitally prepared talent, require a new management approach. One that provides technical enablement, context, purpose and flexibility. It also needs to rebuild trust around the use of partner organizations and the role they can play in a company’s digital journey.  Embracing the principles outlined in “Partnering with Intent: A new approach to dealing with the shortage of tech talent,” can help IT organizations become a “destination of choice” for millennials with digital talent.

With senior executives’ expectations running high, IT leaders know that delivering on ambitious, technology-driven business imperatives calls for a new culture and leadership style built on trust and open communication. Digitally prepared talent is in short supply, and no company can afford to hire all the digitally skilled staff they need for permanent positions. That shortage, coupled with cost pressures, prompts most IT organizations to work with a selected contingent as well as outsourced labor companies that offer talent experienced with the latest digital technologies and best practices, on an as-needed basis. These partners understand how this new cultural model can be used to secure staff engagement in an almost constantly shifting landscape of projects and priorities. The velocity of change that characterizes digital means that few IT organizations can go it alone.

That all-important engagement hinges on staff being able to use the latest technologies, understand the business reasons behind the IT organization’s shifting project priorities and appreciate the clearly spelled out roles of responsibilities of players from partner organizations. IT leaders need to be thoughtful and transparent about how they decide to deploy people and why. Too often, digitally prepared talent is separated from core teams, making it difficult for innovation-led methods and processes to integrate into the organization as a whole. When learning gleaned from digital initiatives is not shared across the organization, only an illusion of change exists. Millennials make up more than half of today’s U.S. workforce. Dissecting what matters to them begins with understanding their career motivation, as well as their expectations for where they work and their need for transparent, authentic leaders.

IT organizations with authentic leaders can build and maintain an environment that draws in digitally prepared talent by offering their staffs challenging work with a purpose.  As Partnering with Intent reminds us, few IT organizations can afford to keep on staff all of the digitally prepared talent it needs. The invaluable contribution that  strategic, deeper relationships with fewer, more high-value partners  offers is two-fold: (1) access to exactly the type of digitally prepared talent you need today; and (2) the flexibility to restack the talent deck when the business causes priorities to change.

Leaders need to acknowledge that in order to succeed they need to liberate the creative spirit of their people. To do this they must establish a climate of trust in part by sharing the roles that everyone plays, including partner companies, such that staff are not distracted by constant concerns over the job security. This can only be achieved in transparent surroundings, working with innovative partners that understand their role and who provide an encouraging and additive cultural fit.

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