The economy has not been too friendly to all of us, we face the fact that good people are hard to come by, and lack of good people is a blocking factor in realising company growth. Making good software products is still a pretty difficult thing, and regardless of excellent tooling and ever improving best practices, one simply cannot do if they do not have the right people on board.
Software companies are still amongst the highest potential earnest in business, because solving a business problem is simply worth a high prize tag. But to achieve your goals, an excellent team is a must.
Combatting talent shortages, embracing digital transformation, and getting employers to accelerate pay increases are three of the biggest challenges facing staffing firms in recent times.
Staffing firms are overall optimistic about their grow this year as 79 percent of respondents expecting revenue to increase. However, due to the changing nature of work, firms are tackling some hurdles related to hiring, operations, and macroeconomics.
#Combatting the Talent Shortage
It’s no surprise that a skills deficit continues to plague the staffing industry with 73 percent of firms citing it as one of their biggest areas of concern this year. Workers are quitting their jobs at unparalleled rates because of a healthy economy. In a tight labor market, how should firms find the best talent for the best opportunities? One strategy firm are relying on is reskilling – or updating workers’ skills through education and training. Seventy-four percent of staffing firms believe that reskilling workers represents an effective strategy to thwart the skills shortage and help create new talent pools, fill key roles, and transform lives.
#Embracing Digital Transformation
Digitization is one of the major themes nowadays, but it undoubtedly presents some barriers for firms as they start adopting it as a strategic competitive advantage. Forty-nine percent of staffing professionals selected embracing digital transformation – defined as the integration of technology into all areas of their business for the purposes of improving operations and the way they deliver value to customers – as their top operational challenge. Why is this a top challenge?
It’s because firms are trying to find the best ways to incorporate automation and artificial intelligence technologies into the recruiting strategies. While process automation is here to help firms alleviate administrative and low-level tasks, true artificial intelligence isn’t here yet. After all, in relationship-driven businesses such as staffing, only humans have the precise empathy to match and advance conversations that can yield stronger relationships with candidates and clients.
#Getting Employers to Increase Pay
In today’s candidate-driven market, more people are quitting their jobs at rapid clips and minimum-wage rates are increasing to closely match cost-of-living hikes.
What does that mean for staffing firms? They might have to work with employers to increase compensation ranges for open roles, so they can attract the top talent, 38 percent of staffing firms believe getting employers to accelerate pay increases for workers is a top hiring challenge this year. Some staffing firms are reluctant to pay employees more because they simply don’t have the budget or just don’t want to in general.
While these three challenges are only a snapshot of a few barriers to mitigate, finding creative strategies for tackling these obstacles may be a key factor in reaching your goals for the year.
# Build an Entry-Level Hiring Machine
Companies often spend more time and resources on sourcing for senior or executive roles because these are high-visibility roles. The data suggests this is the wrong approach:
1) executives are almost 2x more likely to respond to a new career opportunity than entry-level candidates; and
2) there are far more entry-level positions than senior positions.
In today’s market, entry-level candidates are being overwhelmed with new career opportunities making it easy to ignore the next interview request. Candidates have so many opportunities they are ghosting companies after interviewing. Given these unique challenges, we believe companies are underinvesting in building an entry-level talent pipeline; especially at the top-of-funnel.
Companies can reallocate their recruiting resources used for senior roles since executives are more willing to engage with a company especially if an increase in title or responsibility is offered. Executive recruiting resources should be focused on creating a world-class candidate experience to ensure executive-level candidates are excited about working at your company.
#Be Flexible, Consider Remote Candidates
Companies are seeking new solutions for their hard-to-fill jobs. For technology and sales roles, we’ve seen companies consider remote workers. Instead of limiting the talent pool to a specific location, companies are often allowing for remote workers.
Remote job opportunity increases interview rates by 44%. Candidates are more open to hearing about new opportunities that provide flexibility around work arrangements.
When considering talent acquisition strategies for 2021, remote talent is an effective way to grow the team without sacrificing ambitious revenue targets or product innovation.
Recruiting will continue to be a challenge for the foreseeable future. Companies require more specialized skills to manage evolving technology, revenue targets, and industry trends. If HR teams continue to crunch the data and understand the challenges each open role presents, companies will be able to better manage ambitious growth and hiring targets.
#Talent management is a pervasive gap
The leadership development model for product management—that is, the behaviors and mind-sets that product managers are expected to display at various levels—is often poorly articulated. As a result, the only way to measure product managers is on the success of their product. Product managers tell us that they believe career progression at their companies is a matter of being in the right place at the right time to become part of a hit product rather than of doing the right things.
What is more, product management primarily requires learning on the job, but few software companies have put in place mechanisms to support this learning. Product managers often start in other functions, such as engineering, design, or marketing, and bring a specific set of skills from their previous roles. But this transitioning talent needs support to wear the multiple hats required of product managers.
Compounding the issue is the fact that product managers make up a small talent pool at most companies and hence often end up lower on the agenda of HR leaders.
First, articulate the product management leadership development model for the organization. This should include a concrete, actionable description of what the organization wants and expects from its product managers. It should reflect the organization’s strategy and priorities and is not the same as the conventional list of competencies used to assess employees. For example, competency models are often expressed as innate traits, qualities, or values that product managers should have, such as “is decisive,” whereas a leadership model is expressed as concrete descriptions of desired behaviors, such as “acts to reach timely closure on decisions.” The leadership model should also articulate what it looks like to make different transitions in the organization. For example, how do the behaviors and mind-sets differ for an established, principal product manager from one who is transitioning to a director of product.
Second, provide the product managers with organizational enablers for ongoing growth and apprenticeship. There are many ways to do this, including rotational programs, regular cadence of product reviews (with focus on coaching and knowledge sharing rather than inspection), walking in the shoes of other functions (taking support calls or doing customer demonstrations, for example), conducting skip-level one-on-one sessions, providing formal mentorship programs, giving regular growth-based feedback, and so on.
Third, leverage a field-and-forum approach to design an end-to-end learning journey. There are several principles and approaches for learning programs that we have discovered through our work with technology companies. The first is that product managers, like most adults, learn best by doing rather than by watching videos or sitting in classrooms. Additionally, product managers learn most effectively through activities that are grounded in their day-to-day context rather than through generic product management trainings. For example, we have run a product management academy program in which product managers take on ambitious projects and are coached through them on a weekly basis. It is important to note that the learning programs must be tailored to the different transitions that are critical for the individual organization. Additionally, it is important to put hard metrics on the “soft stuff” by tracking key performance indicators for these programs that measure both participation and subsequent effectiveness.