For the third year in a row, there is a massive increase in the skills gap across industries, with nearly 80% of organizations saying that their teams lack the necessary skills; as stated by the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary report. The ever-increasing skills gap is the bane of IT leaders who aim to build future-ready tech teams. The age of digital disruption dictates the requirements of the current and future workforce and the existing workforce is unprepared to address the emerging trends and developments of the future.
Hiring their way out of this problem is not an option, say recruiters. There is a dire need for upskilled personnel and every organization needs to identify and provide ample opportunities for its employees to grow and upskill themselves.
Flexible, scalable, and innovative teams are the future of tech. The sooner companies throw traditional practices out of the window the better. Future-proofing teams dictates the success of any organization and ensures it stays relevant, in 2021.
Digital transformation and innovation are happening at such a rapid pace. Companies are feeling the pressure too, which is why they must be building future-proofed teams and ever-ready workforces. Ensuring your team can scale with the changing times, will ensure your teams are agile, scalable, and ready for any market or industry demands. The onus is on business leaders to give their teams the skills they need to keep up and stay ahead. Future-proofing is a team-sport, meaning everyone can, and should, play an active role in learning, growing, and innovating. From taking online courses to attending virtual events like hackathons and conferences, there is an abundance of opportunities available to ensure companies always continue to stay ahead of the curve.
– Brian H. Hough, Founder of Airblock Technologies
Traits of a future-ready workforce
- A finely balanced workforce consisting of both people and technology.
- Tech teams that are characterized by continual learning integrated with their flow of work.
- Future-ready tech teams have a repertoire of skills that will come into use 5-10 years from now.
The ability of organizations to address the skills-gap challenge by assessing the current lack of skills, and predicting skills needed for the future will help them in future-proofing their tech teams. Although it’s hard to accurately predict future demands; due to the fast-paced advancements in technology, there is a set of skills that will never go out of style.
Soft skills. They are overwhelmingly hard to find and the pressing need for these soft skills is tied to employees’ abilities to learn and adapt to change. This agility is becoming increasingly important – perhaps even more than functional or technical skills.
“Communication is the key in every company. It is even more important in the remote company of the future. Remote companies need 10x the process early on, and it pays out later though. A very underrated skill is communicating your progress and status with the rest of your teammates and keeping your project management system tight.”
– Radoslav Stankov, Head of Engineering at Product Hunt
How can you identify and address the challenges of building future-ready tech teams?
Future-proofing activities have led companies to ideate newer strategies and morph their team structures to meet real-time disruptions and demands. Three important areas that need attention are:
The organizational skills gap
The skills gap refers to the mismatch between the skills that employers are looking for in employees, and the skills those employees possess. Persistent skills shortage affects the business objectives of a company, and a stop-gap solution is not the answer. It is difficult to pinpoint any one reason for this. However, a few well-informed guesses would include a lack of qualified applicants and a lack of learning investment in existing employees. Acknowledging that tech teams are falling behind, and identifying the wide skills gap across the organization is the first step.
Learning and development programs
Nearly 39% of decision-makers attributed skills gaps to a lack of training investment two years ago. In 2021, 74% of organizations say reskilling their workforce is crucial to their success over the next 12–18 months. Organizations need to step up and provide suitable learning and development opportunities for their employees, which have the potential to transform market volatility into growth. Forward-thinking companies also encourage and enable employees to apply their skills and interests in different ways.
L&D programs are the need of the hour when it comes to closing the skills chasm. Internal upskilling of teams is an effective way to future-proof your workforce and provide an improved employee experience.
Check out HackerEarth’s Learning and Development platform here.
This one is a no-brainer. Technology, being one of the major reasons for the skills gap challenge, is also key to bridging it, and enabling rapid up- and re-skilling. Equipping employees with the right digital tools to work with today, and encouraging the use of the newest technologies and tools to keep up with the trends of tomorrow must be a part of any plan to build future-ready tech teams.
“No crystal ball can predict what the future of work is going to look like. What should we do?
1. Join the community – Facebook Groups, conferences, webinars, etc. – Don’t just watch/read, contribute! It’ll force you to branch out and learn new things to create the content.
2. Demo 2 products every month – this will keep you on the front end of the technology evolution. Even if you have no budget and don’t need anything, always be exploring what’s out there.
3. A/B test and iterate – if things are going “well” – give yourself a pat on the back, and then iterate to find an even better way to do it – and continue doing this, forever. You will NEVER find “the right” way to do things, only better ways. And there are ALWAYS better ways.”
– Mike Cohen, Founder of Wayne Technologies
Into the future
As organizations head into an uncertain, post-crisis landscape, it is imperative to create more integrated and resilient systems that can fuel their teams to do better. Empowering employees to learn new skills and following a culture of continuous improvement will pave the way for building future-ready tech teams.
“If you chase all the trends not only will you not keep up but you’ll likely lose sight of your core priorities. Technology should equip and enable you to serve your customers more effectively and expand the value you create for them. Technology isn’t self-justifying and you shouldn’t follow just any new trend. “Future-proofing” requires a deep understanding of your potential futures! What is your market, where do you have product/market fit, and what are your core competencies as a company? Focusing on the core drivers for your business will enable you to select a set of innovative technologies to keep an eye on and through that focus do a much better job avoiding change fatigue and avoid getting distracted with the latest shiny “innovation.”
– Steve O’Brien, President of Staffing at Job.com
Organizations that invest in their current and future workforces invest in themselves. The key to truly succeed is to constantly experiment, fail, learn, grow—and not be afraid to start the process anew when the world invariably changes again.
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