To secure the talent necessary to compete in an era of technology-driven opportunity, companies will need to recruit and, in many cases, cultivate a new type of employee—the IT worker of the future—who has habits, incentives, and skills that are inherently different from those in play today.
Given that competition in the talent marketplace for such workers is only increasing, HR leaders should consider taking the following innovative approaches to staffing:
Recruit differently. Increasingly, innovative companies are deploying unorthodox approaches to recruit fresh talent. For example, externships—training programs typically offered by schools and private businesses to provide practical experience in a given field—can put promising candidates to work quickly. They can also be used to vet the transfer of individuals within and across your organization—a “try before you decide” method that can enable both parties to understand aptitude, fit, and interest.
Similarly, some companies are hosting internal and external “hackathons,” day- or weekend-long competitions in which participants rapidly explore, prototype, and demo ideas. Hiring decisions can be based on demonstrated results instead of on resume depth and the ability to navigate a round of interviews.
Finally, consider training employees with no technical background—38 percent of recruiters are actively doing so to fill IT positions.2 Graphic designers, artists, cultural anthropologists, behavioral psychologists, and other backgrounds are building blocks for user experience, mobile, data science, and other desperately needed skills.
Light your talent beacon. An estimated 70 percent of Millennials learn about job opportunities from friends.3 Enlist your own people to help play a critical role in attracting the IT workers of the future by clearly communicating your vision for the IT organization, and investing in incentives to drive retention and referrals.
Look outside the organization. Though employee referrals can help attract top talent, they are only one piece of the staffing puzzle: Organizations should also consider participating in external talent ecosystems. Start by defining a crowdsourcing strategy that guides the use of crowd platforms to solve your organization’s staffing problems, and give employees permission to participate in crowd contests, on the job or off the clock. Additionally, identify incubators and start-up collaboration spaces that are looking for corporate sponsors. These situations often provide opportunities to co-locate workers with inventors and entrepreneurs exploring new ground. Finally, seek out briefings and ideation sessions with your vendor and partner community to harness software, hardware, systems integrator, and business partner thinking and research.
To meet IT staffing challenges going forward, HR may need to broadly shift its focus from people and policy administration to talent attraction and development. This will not be easy, but it will likely be worth the effort. By spending your energy attracting, challenging, and rewarding the right kind of talent instead of succumbing to legacy organizational constructs that are no longer relevant, you can help unleash the IT worker of the future in your business.
To learn more about the steps HR can take to recruit and cultivate top IT talent, check out Deloitte Consulting LLP’s 2015 Tech Trends Report.