In today's business world, technology can make the ultimate difference between success and failure. That's one of the reasons that you'd be hard-pressed to find a business of any kind that isn't running or starting some kind of technology initiative, ranging from AI to big data and everything in between. That has had a profound effect on the labor markets in almost every developed economy – creating a well-known talent shortage across the technology spectrum.
That shortage is putting an increasing amount of pressure on businesses, and SMEs in particular, as they look for candidates with the skills they need to support their technology goals. Fortunately, there are several ways that SMEs can meet their talent needs, even within such a difficult environment. To elaborate, here are three vital tactics for SMEs to overcome the tech talent shortage and fill their ranks with the skilled employees they need.
Training From Within
The first thing that SMEs must realize when addressing their tech talent needs is that every company's in the same boat. That's because some of today's technology is so new, that there simply aren't very many qualified candidates to choose from. That's why it's a great idea for SMEs to train existing employees in the skills they require. First, this allows an SME to acquire the exact skill set they need, without having to hire a potentially overqualified candidate. Second, existing staff already have an intimate understanding of the business's inner workings, needs, and strategic goals, so they'll have a far easier time applying their new knowledge to the greatest effect. Some of today's biggest tech firms have already adopted a hire first, train later approach to filling their talent pools – and if it works for them, it will also work for the average SME.
Find Candidates Where They Are
Unlike the broader workforce, technology professionals tend to travel in tighter and more overlapping circles, which often makes them harder to find for SMEs hunting for the right candidate. To overcome this reality, SMEs must learn to look in places where top tech talent tends to congregate, like on a icrunchdata which is a tech job board, or sites like Github and Linkedin. By getting established within those kinds of online communities, an SME can build a reputation that will draw talented candidates in, especially if they're recruiting for interesting and challenging projects. It's important to remember that the best way for an SME to make this tactic effective is to get involved in tech communities before a specific need for talent arises. That way, they'll be regarded as a trusted community member, rather than a mere headhunter.
Be Open To Remote Workers
Even though it's still not common practice in the SME world, one of the best ways to find and acquire necessary tech talent is to expand the search to include remote workers. That simple shift in tactics can allow an SME to draw from a global talent pool, rather than just a local one. Many companies avoid doing this because they fear the management complications that come with offsite employees, or believe that the technology infrastructure necessary to support remote staff is going to cost too much or be too difficult to maintain. In truth, those are outdated notions. Today, an SME can conduct the majority of their technology initiatives completely in the cloud, which means even local employees will be using remote access to do their work. Even in cases where there's on-site infrastructure, the investment required to use an open-source solution like OpenVPN is minimal. In short, there's no real reason that SMEs shouldn't avail themselves of the widest talent pool possible – and those that don't are selling themselves short.
Staff Up For Success
By putting these three tactics into effect, any SME, and indeed any business, can keep their tech needs satisfied without resorting to a desperate bidding war for scarce talent. They'll also end up with a workforce that is better suited to their specific requirements, which is a pleasant and welcome side effect of these strategies. The bottom line is, it's more than possible for an SME to thrive even in today's difficult tech hiring environment – as long as they are willing to eschew the tried-and-true recruiting strategies of yesteryear and embrace a new, more modern skill acquisition paradigm.