In the IT industry, where success is largely defined by innovation, there is a growing demand for HR professionals to be more strategic. To drive competitive advantage, being more strategic involves understanding how to deal with the most significant HR issues in the sector. Here are some HR challenges faced by the IT industry in 2021 along with how HR managers can overcome them.
Attracting Top Talents
More organizations are competing to fetch the best IT talents to drive digital transformation. With high demand for good talent and low supply, attracting top performers amidst the talent shortage is an inevitable challenge for many. According to Indeed, 86% of IT companies consider hiring talents to be a significant concern for their HR teams. From 2016 to 2019, IT businesses could only hire 6 employees for every 10 open tech jobs.
Apparently, attracting top talents goes beyond offering a competitive salary. A research by Rishon Blumberg of 10x Ascend found that IT professionals would prefer to work for companies that have initiatives matching their interests and goals, rather than those promising high salaries. Thus, instead of spending a fat budget for lavish compensations, it is time for organizations to focus on what matters for talents. For example, you can partner with local campuses’ IT faculty to conduct campus hiring. If your company truly values the potential of fresh graduates instead of simply relying on the experienced ones, who are probably hard to attain, this can be a great solution for talent scarcity.
Retaining Top Talents
After successfully bringing in new IT hires, the next task is ensuring them to stay as long as possible. High turnover rate is a significant HR concern and there are often inadequate skilled professionals to fill the open vacancies. This is due to the notorious reputation of the IT industry for having a terrible work environment where working long hours is typical. David Heinemeier Hanson, cofounder of communication software Basecamp and developer of Ruby on Rails, argued that there is an embedded narrative around companies that not only praises but also requires burn-out activities.
In retaining employees, HR leaders need to be creative in terms of providing the workforce with non-cash benefits. This can be in the form of flexible working hours, providing sabbatical leave or block leave, and encouraging work-life balance. Talentvis’ office representatives in Indonesia, for example, currently adopt the hybrid work model to balance between the need for physical office interaction and remote working in light of the pandemic. This can be a good example of a simple and effective retention strategy for IT companies.
The Demand for Continuous Upskilling
By 2022, at least 54% of all employees will require new digital skills training, according to a survey by KPMG. However, leaders of different generations believe in different approaches to this issue. While Millennial leaders believe that reskilling current employees is just as important as hiring new ones, most older leaders believe that hiring new and already skilled individuals is more effective. These conflicting viewpoints can cause conflict and pushback among employees, but one thing is certain: there is a demand for continuous upskilling for employees in the IT industry.
For an HR manager, you can start by observing both upskilling initiatives and hiring new skilled employees, and then collect data over time to determine which path gives the highest growth and ROI. For example, retraining a customer support representative may be more cost-effective because you would have to teach new hires on your specific products and processes regardless. On the other hand, if you do not have the time or resources to train someone in that position, you can opt to hire a new developer with more up-to-date skills.
The AI industry is expected to reach 190 billion USD by 2025, with 74% of HR leaders believing they would play a leadership or supporting role in these AI projects. When AI is implemented in the workplace, HR managers must develop ways to balance human innovation with machine learning. Integrating AI demands a consideration of how employees’ jobs will change in the coming years as a result of technological advances. This allows companies to better prepare their workers and remain competitive. Despite the excitement surrounding AI and its potential to improve corporate performance, 45 percent of IT HR managers say that preparing for AI will be their most difficult problem in the near future.
HR managers need to prepare a thorough analysis to make the best out of AI for their IT companies. Evaluate how your teams are currently performing their tasks. This can help you determine which areas AI can benefit the most. When planning in AI adoption, you can gather suggestions and feedback by sending out surveys and having direct discussions with employees. You might also want to look at how your competitors are enhancing AI for their business operations. Use these insights to create scalable strategies that can help you optimize the business without losing sight of your people, values, and goals.
With enhanced technology and processes, HR managers of the IT industry play a key role in engaging employees while addressing these challenges. With the right strategy and preparation, your company can embrace the future with optimism.
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