How can CTOs and CIOs recruit and build the best teams?

How can CTOs recruit and build the best teams?

That really is the million dollar question. Recruiting in IT is massively challenging – for both internal operations and external projects. It’s all about people, and finding the right people is hard.

On top of that, we have new generations entering the workforce, and the way people want to work is changing.

When I started off, people in IT had to know a computer inside and out, cogs and all. Technology is different now; with the advent of serverless computing, virtual machines and cloud computing, it’s about abstract processes. Almost everything is available as-a-service; infrastructure, software, backend, networks, platforms, and that means we’re getting hugely different skill-sets coming into the industry.

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That’s so important; we’re already dealing with skills gaps in many areas, because tech is developing faster than people can upskill, so, we need this new blood, these digital native professionals who have an understanding of cutting-edge tech. However it does mean that often CIOs and CTOs are trying to mesh together oil and water within their teams.

There’s a dichotomy of professionals at work in the IT channel at the moment. You’ve got younger professionals, who are full of passion, and a huge keenness to innovate, but little experience. On the other hand, you’ve got the “grey hairs”; those with years of experience, but a vastly different way of working, a different way of approaching things.

Both of these sets of people are invaluable, but there needs to be a balance; businesses need to find a way of getting the best from both worlds without upsetting the apple cart.

The future of business

Millennial workers are the future for every business. They want different things from their careers, and in order to benefit from their hunger, and their disruptive spirit, companies need to change what they’re offering.

Many young people coming into the workforce want more freedom to revolutionise, they want to feel empowered in their roles. There are no jobs for life now, and that makes it even more important that businesses to consider how they can not only attract, but keep hold of this new breed of employee.

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According to Gartner, the key to building great teams and ushering in the future of IT leadership is agility. CTOs and CIOs should be embracing the practice of “leading from behind” to help foster autonomy, creativity and self-management across their workforce, and encouraging their teams to experiment in the way they work and collaborate.

Of course, it’s easy to say that more freedom attracts new talent, but the biggest challenge is balancing standards and innovation. Companies need structure, rules, a status quo to operate, but conversely those very things can kill creativity. There’s a cultural clash there that’s difficult to reconcile.

CTOs and CIOs can start making moves toward attracting new talent by trying to allow people to work more autonomously. This kind of working environment is the first step toward developing and recruiting this new breed of IT professionals; those who are deeply technical, but also flexible and inquisitive, with oodles of business acumen.

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Written by Mark Hill, Group CIO, Frank Recruitment Group
Written by Mark Hill, Group CIO, Frank Recruitment Group – partner of the Women in IT Awards London and New York

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.