As digital awareness and maturity continue to evolve, investments into technology solutions have increased to keep pace.
A recent report from recruitment and outsourcing company Harvey Nash said that 59 percent of organizations expect to increase tech budgets in 2022. In addition, 62 percent expect to increase headcount by the end of next year and 50 percent expect to transform their operations within three years. Provided that its crystal ball is operating as expected, the global enterprise workforce will change significantly in the not-so-distant future.
As employers and employees, we will be feeling the impact of such changes for a long time to come. The ongoing pandemic aside, there is a consensus among recruiters that the skills required for these new roles are in short supply. In fact, it should come as no real surprise that building core skills and competencies has been named the number one HR priority for 2022 by the analyst firm, Gartner.
Developing the Right Skills for the Future
According to Gartner’s HR survey into the priorities for the next financial year, the majority of HR leaders cited building of these critical skills and competencies in the workplace as being at the top of their list.
The caveat to this revelation is that today’s enterprises are much less certain of the skills they need right now, let alone those they’ll require in the future. In some ways, this focus could be compared to trying to build a castle on sand … many of the skills we need to train for now don’t yet exist, while other skills will no longer be needed.
For example, Gartner’s survey said that one in three skills needed for a job in 2018 will no longer be relevant by the end of 2022. On the flip side, the average number of new skills required has increased, creating an unwanted skills gap that puts more pressure on employers to integrate skill development solutions for both their existing and potential workforce.
Learning from the Digital Disruptors
The changing skills landscape is something we get to see first-hand at Apexon.
In the Labs part of the business, for instance, we work with innovative technologies still in pre-production. That means we are in the privileged position of working with some of the brightest minds on exciting projects that, when they do come to market, go on to disrupt those markets.
In fact, you could say that we know exactly how digital disruption works, because we’ve helped our clients engineer the solutions that drive that disruption. From this learned experience, we’ve developed a blueprint for ensuring we match the right skills to the right roles and to map out the skills we’ll need in the future.
Taking this into account, we are obviously looking to get our own people priorities in place for 2022. And while this is not an exhaustive list, it gives a good overview of what we want to focus on and the talent acquisition strategies that will be needed.
#1 Become More Agile by Zoning in on Adaptable Skills
Having seen how technology has changed the way not only businesses operate but how we all work, the super-skill employers should be looking for is adaptability in the workplace.
By adaptability, we mean being ready and eager for new challenges. When focusing on this kind of agility, we encourage employees to guide their career trajectory. Speaking up with their ideas is important, as is fostering the passion that brought them into digital engineering in the first place. Once we’ve plotted out a path, we help employees upskill strategically, collaborate and learn.
#2 Acquire Core Skills Rapidly
On-the-job-training is unparalleled: never do we learn faster than when actively engaging in client projects and solving real-world digital challenges in real time. However, it’s also our responsibility as employers to ensure core skills are being maintained and developed.
At Apexon, for example, we achieve this level of continuous improvement through a program called Apexon University, a highly targeted series of courses available to all employees. In our opinion, these courses provide practical learning experiences (led by our own Apexon experts, naturally) and provide focused support where employees need them.
If you want to compare this program to a recognized digital experience, think of them as a video game power-up that rapidly boosts an employee’s progress towards their defined end-goal.
#3 Make Empathy a Top-Down Management Strategy
While building core skills is understandably a focus for employees and employers alike, developing the next generation of digital leaders cannot be overlooked.
As digital first becomes digital only, investment in management and leadership competencies is more important than ever. Where teams have become remote and globally distributed, managers can no longer rely on outmoded measures of progress. Instead, management practices are adapting and becoming more collaborative. We believe the focus should be to build trust, shared values and a sense of empathy between managers and their teams at all levels of the organization.
Building empathy within teams is partly a response to hybrid working, but as a company which has managed this type of workplace for many years now, we can vouch for the other benefits it brings. By getting to know team members and building trust, managers and their reports understand the context behind the actions, can collaborate more effectively and resolve issues faster.
Furthermore, in a connected world in which routine tasks are increasingly automated, empathy is the soft skill we need more than ever to ensure real, human connection in the workplace.
#4 Diversity as a Business Driver
Today’s workforce is uniquely diverse in its attitudes. For many companies, there are often four generations participating in the workforce at the same time. Apexon is no different.
When baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z come together in the workplace, we’re not just diverse in terms of age. These defined generations hold a widely differing set of approaches to work, core values, technology, wellbeing, work-life balance and power.
Ensuring equitable representation from different genders, different backgrounds as well as different ages results in increased innovation and a better understanding of customer needs in technology. In simple terms, diversity is good for business. That is why it is such a positive step to see diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) finally become a top-five HR priority for 2022, according to Gartner’s survey.
Putting Employee Experience at the Heart of the Enterprise
Faced with a widening skills gap, increased competition for talent and a diversifying workforce, digital leaders are shifting the spotlight onto how employees experience the workplace. Just as in CX terms, the customer journey requires leaders to imagine and redesign the user experience from the point of view of the customer, so leaders are turning their attention to crafting the best possible user experience for employees through all the touchpoints they interact with at work.
By putting employee experiences at the heart of how organizations operate, employers can begin to move away from clunky system-centric processes to a business that’s oriented around people and goals. How well understood and supported employees feel through this change not only impacts individual performance and trust within teams. In many ways, the successful implementation of these HR strategies has knock-on consequences for talent retention, innovation and business agility.
As we approach the end of 2021, employees and prospective candidates are in a powerful position to build, develop and shape their careers in technology. And the latter are keeping a close watch on how potential employers act when it comes to the issues that matter to them.
As digitization continues to eat the world, it’s realistic to expect employers to compete even harder to retain and recruit the best candidates in 2022. Those who will succeed are the companies that prioritize employee experience – by nurturing trust through empathy, by training valued skills and by supporting career goals.
Are you looking for your next career move? Do you want to join a team that thrives on collaboration and problem-solving? Do you want to solve the biggest digital challenges of our times? To find out if Apexon is right for you, take a look at our careers page and apply today.