Virtual Teams

Flexible working and the global talent war in IT

I have written in the past about how virtual and flexible working widens the talent pool. Once your recruitment criteria are not based on location the good news is that you have a much broader pool of talent to call on, the bad news is that so does everybody else and so you are now competing for the top talent in a global marketplace.

I’m hearing a lot from my clients about how quickly this is playing out in recruiting IT people in particular. Here are some examples from conversations in just the last two weeks

  • a client in Austria who used to attract people who really wanted to live in Vienna. It’s a beautiful city and a real attractor. With more flexibility in location they are suddenly finding that IT people have the option to stay in Vienna but work for a much wider range of organisations. Location flexibility is now a given
  • a client in Croatia told me about the local culture of people loving to be able to work from their holiday homes. If you are not willing to provide that option as part of hybrid working then IT people will move to organisations that do give them that choice
  • a client in New York who used to find a New York location a positive benefit is struggling to get IT people to want to commute.

 This is happening more widely and more quickly than I had anticipated but the trend is very clear.

However, I believe will fairly quickly move to a situation where a large proportion of leading organisations offer this hybrid flexibility, so location independence will become a given for the top people.

Once this happens, we won’t be having the conversation about location, we will be having the conversation about the quality of the employee experience when working remotely or in a hybrid environment. It won’t be about whether you have a ping pong table or a stress room or a slide in your office, it will be more about your way of working and the skills of your people to engage virtually.

Today I was talking with one of our clients who is a technology driven not-for-profit organisation, operating mainly in Africa, but their IT people are often based in Europe or USA. They have never been able to compete on salaries with established technology companies, instead they connect to people who are motivated by the purpose and values of their work.

IT people are often a bellwether for change in these ways of working because of their transferable skills and relative scarcity. What is happening in IT today will happen in other functions shortly.

How are you preparing for the global talent war? How will you provide the best virtual employee experience to attract and retain the world’s best people?

We believe a key part of getting the employee experience right will be having the leadership and collaboration skills adapted to hybrid world.

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