March 21, 2019

HOW TO KEEP BUSINESS-CRITICAL TECHNICAL TALENT DURING A SKILLS SHORTAGE

Talent Management in Analytics

An organization’s ability to collect and analyze the data that generates valuable business insight is vital, especially when they need to compete head-to-head with digital native companies, such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, disrupting traditional markets.

According to a recent study by CapGemini and EMC “Big & Fast: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business”, the use of “big data” is enabling a new kind of competition empowered by an increasingly connected world. The report says that 64 percent of senior executives say that this phenomenon is changing traditional business boundaries and enabling non-traditional providers to move into their industry.

Enterprises are responding by doubling down on their data and analytic investments. However, the shortage of qualified analytic experts in engineering, analytics, programming and other technical disciplines is putting that investment at risk.

Business leaders and recruiters are feeling the squeeze as they face a shrinking pool of qualified job candidates.

Just 26 percent of executives are happy with their organization’s ability to attract and retain high-performing talent says Gartner’s quarterly Emerging Risk Report” which ranked talent shortage as a top business risk.

Short-sighted solutions aren’t sustainable

The solution for many is to look to outside consultancies and contractors to fill the skills gap.

While this can be effective, it needs to be balanced with the development of an internal knowledge base for organizations looking to develop an analytics-driven enterprise.

Instead, organizations need to develop comprehensive talent management programs to train and retain highly sought-after talent.

Closing the skills gap with talent management programs for analytics professionals

As companies increase the pace of cloud adoption, open source technologies and advanced analytics techniques, they need to both upskill their existing workforce and recruit new employees to plug skill gaps.

The most successful enterprises balance these two initiatives by matching the internal organizational knowledge of existing employees with new hires who have expertise in other technology areas.

Combining these efforts to build a dedicated talent management program yields five main benefits for organizations:

  1. Recruit and retain top talent.
  2. Boost engagement and creativity.
  3. Develop leaders.
  4. Foster and grow internal knowledge basis.
  5. Match the supply of talent to the demand.

Developing a framework to train, grow and retain data and analytics experts

While executives and HR managers well understand the benefits of having a comprehensive talent management program, companies find it difficult to know where to begin.

Enterprises should simplify talent management initiatives around three principle pillars to provide a clear focus:

1. Adopting technical assessments in recruitment

Online technical assessment platforms offer an objective evaluation of candidates’ skills in technology and competency areas. This helps screen out all but the most qualified candidates and highlights the person’s strengths and weaknesses. It also reduces the burden of interviewing a large number of candidates for positions.

2. Tracking skills progression across individuals and teams

Online assessment and learning management systems offer individuals and managers a 360-degree view of their progress against structured career development plans. They can also be used to highlight skills gaps at the team and organizational levels and allow managers to craft agile, cross-functional teams with a broad array of talents.

3. Investing in technical training and certifications

With new technologies and solutions being introduced all the time, it is essential that organizations consider training programs for both target-state technologies they will be using in the future as well as tool-agnostic competency skills.

For the former, software vendors are increasingly offering their own certification programs (often at no or a very low cost), which serve to motivate employees through the prospect of enhancing their resumes.

For the latter, a wealth of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offers employees the flexibility to tailor learning to their own career-development goals.

In fact, many forward-thinking organizations encourage employees to use up to 20 percent of their working hours on professional development.

By following these three principle pillars, organizations can make dramatic strides toward achieving their talent-management visions while multiplying the benefits realized from technology investments.