Every year for the past three years, I have made a list of the things that I found most difficult and the lessons learnt over the previous twelve months. One of the items that has always made the difficult list and will probably continue to do so over the next few years is finding the right talent for the different stages of growth for various companies that I have been involved with that are using technology to deliver a product or service.
For both startups and established companies alike finding solid talent is still a challenge with the best of the best often hopping from one company to the other or opting to be free agents to maximize opportunities, unshackled from the confines of a standard work contract, some to much success. Most companies find themselves having to set up in-house programs to recruit, train and finally assimilate talent. The training often stemming from the fact that no one comes in as ready as they look on their resume, more so for startup and growth stage companies that are constantly tinkering with new technology or different business models. A major damper for a majority of these programs is that retention is difficult stemming from fickle loyalty and the allure of a bump in the monthly paycheck.
The world is moving to the distributed and outsourced workforce model with consulting outfits and talent accelerators setting up shop. The most visible consulting outfit locally is probably that run by the Ihub consortia that “aims to meet the technology needs of organizations by tapping into the immense talent pool that iHub’s diverse community of freelancers; namely project managers, developers, designers and quality assurers provides” with Andela as the more visible accelerator fresh from a $ 24 million capital infusion from a round led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s fund. Both great initiatives that are meeting a need albeit for top tier customers at the moment.
Any problem can be solved and every opportunity realized with the right mix of technology, funding and people. People, I dare say are central to it all and we need to figure out a sustainable talent pipeline and also mature into service and business models that can support the costs of maintenance.
My parting shot is a question that speaks to the issue that may prevent our move to the distributed and outsourced talent model in larger numbers and have us stick to our broken and arguably unsustainable modus operandi.
Should engagement rates for human resource be determined by the market in which the talent operates or by global benchmarks?