“There has to be a better way.”
The great brands—those that thrive and maintain relevance long after their competitors lose steam—are born from this idea. They start with the customer and think, “What could be better about their buying journey? What product could fulfill their need better than what’s currently available? There has to be a better way.”
That better way is almost always enabled by some advance in technology. That’s why it’s imperative for companies to have access to a steady pipeline of talent with the latest tech skills ready to solve the next friction point.
That talent must have a vested interest in your company, extra motivation to lend their expertise and passion for your brand. After all, the competition for technically skilled employees is fierce, and great ones even more so. On-site salons, snacks and espresso machines have become table stakes in recruiting talent.
The only way you can create a deep bench of skilled and passionate employees is by implementing continual technology skill development for everyone in your organization—from the call center to the C-suite. Sound like an undertaking for HR or L&D? It’s not. To set your organization up for speedy, constant innovation, today’s tech leaders are on the hook. Here’s how it works.
1. Happy employees beget happy customers, so shift your focus
3. Align teams to objectives
Next, get clear on your objectives with your leadership teams. We’ve already identified the challenge: a lack of skilled, diverse talent at a time when rapid innovation is a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. Align your teams to the company’s overall goals and give them the autonomy they need to reach those objectives. That will often require they learn new skills, and it’s important that you support them in that journey. By doing all of this, you’ve empowered your team to achieve defined business results through their own innovation. The results? Trust, ownership and pride in their work and in the business as a whole.
4. Give them the space (and tools) to experiment
Success happens when employees are given a testing ground to use technologies that may not be directly in their typical career path, but can be valuable for the progress of the individual and the company. Consider creating an in-house skills boot camp that gives anyone who participates access to new skills via instructor- or mentor-led training and/or supplemental video courses, assessments and hands-on learning experiences.
Another way innovative companies identify and grow untapped talent is by hosting regular hackathon events. Consider setting aside two days per quarter to encourage employees to apply what they’re learning to solve friction points within the company or within the customer journey that they’re most passionate about.
5. Measure your results
For the individual, participating in your skill development program or hackathon events can be role changing. For the company, the ways your employees apply themselves will be game changing. We’ve seen an app overhaul, AI- and VR-powered solutions like Express Exam, and an engaged, committed, diverse and self-replenishing pool of tech talent come from our commitment to our skills strategy and CTAC-U.
As you roll out your own programs, take time to measure success in areas such as speed to production, quality of releases and delivery of new, inventive solutions utilizing emerging technologies. Know who to turn to for expertise in a given technology, and enjoy having a broader base of talent that’s up-to-snuff on the skills required to drive meaningful change.
With rigorous, org-wide technology skill development in place, managers should be able to more easily put the right people on the right teams to solve business objectives. Leaders will be empowered to have more meaningful one-on-one conversations because analytics show where your employees’ passions and skills lie.
Finally, by building a company-wide foundation for technology skill development, even your hourly or entry-level associates will have a clear path into a new career, fostering loyalty to your company and a much-needed diversity of perspectives.
When you clear the way for every employee’s tech skill development journey, you’ll experience:
- Learners who are highly engaged with content relating to the latest technology skills. They’re deeply dedicated to innovation on behalf of your company and customers
- Talent that is readily available in-house to pull off the “next big thing” in your industry
- Diversity of thought, both in your organization and the tech community as a whole
Some of the best tech talent isn’t on the other end of that job posting you just published. It’s in your distribution center. It’s in your call center. It’s your rockstar front-end developer itching to try something new, only this time on the back-end. Upskilling your internal game changers versus trying to out-recruit the competition is your key to succeeding amid the next wave of rapid technology change.
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