Sunday, April 10, 2016

“CIO Master” Tuning II Three Debates in IT Talent Management

With the increasing speed of change and digital dynamic, IT talent management will see the urgency of being both innovative and analytics-based, to hire the right people and keep them "digital fit."

People are always the most invaluable asset in businesses. But how can you hire the right people who possess the right mind with knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors necessary to move your business in the direction? How can you keep the talented employees engaged and help to realize the business vision and values of the organization, so they are not just running the business, but keep innovating and transforming the business for the long-term prosperity? Due to the change and complexity nature of IT, what are the hot debates to spark brainstorming  for IT talent management and how to innovate people management and performance management effectively?

Is IT skills gap fact or fiction? There is always a debate regarding IT talent supply and demand, does IT skills gap really exist? If so, what are the root causes of the gaps, and how to close them? With pervasive IT, new technologies and products, the gaps do exist at different levels, from cognition to culture, from communication to innovation, from skills to capabilities. Mainly IT needs both specialized generalists who understand both business and technology, and have the right mix of technical skills and business acumen for solving the right problems and solving them right, as well as dedicated IT specialists who can handle the heads down technical tasks efficiently. IT needs to strike the right balance of the “old way” doing things to keep the lights on, as well as provide innovative solutions to do things differently, drive business growth and gain competitive advantage. IT leaders should always ask themselves whether the workplace is healthy enough to attract and retain the best and brightest. Either the cognitive gap, skill gap, gender gap, or generation gap, what are the root causes behind it? Overall, technology tends to be more dynamic in a company as well as across the industry, the key is to recognize that they both change and demand everyone to continuously maintain and grow their expertise or skills to keep 'digital fit.' IT or the organization as a whole needs to take a set of digital practices for talent development and management innovation.  

What differentiates top IT performers from the norm? Though every position is different, and every business and industry has its own criteria and focuses on talent measurement. But overall speaking, what personality and behavioral characteristics are displayed by top IT performers? With the pace of change speeding up, are those key performance indicators changing as well? Top IT performers, just like top performers in any other discipline, seek a balance of their influence and add value to the business through their specific set of knowledge and expertise. High-performers believe the whole is better than the sum of pieces, so they focus on the practical application of the knowledge to achieve the objectives of the organization. The top IT performers also are those who keep themselves updated with the latest technologies. It is particularly critical for IT professionals to have "changeability" and learning agility because technology is often the disruptive force behind the business transformation. Hence, IT talent need to be the change agent and continue to update their knowledge and become more adaptive, creative, and flexible, and they are always on the lookout for ways to improve.

How to attract, develop, and retain the best IT talent? Talent Management is perhaps one of the most critical practices in business today, developing and retaining IT talent is even more challenging due to the variety of gaps existing between business and IT, changing nature of technology and smartness of IT professionals. Recognizing that talent is people and people have ambition and drive, it is important to foster close ties between the IT team and the business such that IT team members really understand how critical their role is and get regular feedback on how well they are doing. Keep people interested and give them challenges and the sense of purposes, so they will find the sense of relevance and satisfaction. Rotate IT staff across teams to give them exposure to different technologies and business applications, change and transformation agents look for growth opportunities because they offer challenges and accomplishment then it comes to fruition. High potential IT professionals have the strong “sense and sensitivity,” only insightful management with solid judgment can manage them effectively.

With the increasing speed of change and digital dynamic, IT talent management will see the urgency of being both innovative and analytics-based, set the right course and make a good alignment of talent management, culture management, and performance management, keep all staff working harmoniously to achieve business goals, at the same time inspire individuals to exceed their career goals, discover purpose and reach the high level of Maslow's pyramid. It’s a win-win for both individuals and the organization.


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