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Session Topic: Challenges of IT Talent Recruitment and Retention during COVID

Many of us have or are experiencing what is being called the “Great Resignation,” an all-time high in employee turnover creating talent gaps and shortages. What can you share and learn from and with your peers to turn the “Great Resignation” into the “Great Retention”?

Discussion Summary:
There was some great discussion and sharing on this topic which covered the following key topic areas:

  • IT Talent – Sourcing / Recruiting
  • IT New Hire – On-Boarding / Enabling
  • IT Employee Training / Supporting / Developing
  • IT Employee Satisfaction and Retention

The following were the key discussion points and tips that were shared for each of these topics.

IT Talent – Sourcing / Recruiting:
Sourcing and recruiting talent have always been challenging, but even more so during the pandemic. The labour market has been broadened with remote work, which has meant more movement of talent. On the bright side, this has opened recruitment options across broader geographies.

Some tips for recruitment:

  • 95% of recruitment sources were from LinkedIn or other pre-existing relationships.
  • What worked well for LinkedIn posts on company pages was to have individuals leverage their networks and pre-existing relationships by sharing or commenting on the posts.
  • Many IT roles require specialized skills, and LinkedIn and company HR recruitment are often not enough to fill these roles. Suggestions were to use recruitment firms that specialize in the specific and senior role(s), and/or to extend the search to include global resources (usually on contract).

IT New Hire – Onboarding / Enabling:
The most challenging aspect of onboarding new hires during the pandemic has been around corporate and team culture. This was the point most raised during the discussion as culture has suffered during the pandemic due to the move to virtual collaboration and interactions.

  • All discussion participants found this to be a challenge as there were a number of new hires that were onboarded without ever meeting their colleagues in person or having been in their corporate offices.
  • All agreed that they had to be intentional about setting and spreading culture and making it a point to inject some element of this in their virtual meetings. Some examples offered were to add social check-ins, and to share corporate messages and directions.

IT Employee Training / Supporting / Developing:
With most or all IT work being performed remotely during the pandemic, discussion participants shared that it has been difficult for team members to ask for help when remote.

Some tips that were offered:

  • Offer tools and support to foster this type of collaboration within the team:
    • One of the things that suffered with remote work was the informal training that happened organically between peers and desk-mates by asking questions and having discussions in real time.
  • Make use of the increased variety of online resources that became available during the pandemic:
    • Virtual conferences that became open at no cost and required no offsite or out of town travel.
    • Online training that can be taken individually or as a group. These can often be recorded for future reference.
    • Offer LinkedIn Learning as an option.
  • Change the cadence and vehicle for performance management:
    • More frequent check-ins to support any development gaps can increase engagement.

IT Employee Satisfaction and Retention:
Again, with most or all IT work being performed remotely during the pandemic, employee retention was another area of challenge.

Some tips that were offered:

  • Be flexible with options for remote work:
    • One participant offered that they updated their vacation policy that allowed team members to tag on work from a remote location if they wished to stay at their vacation spot for a longer period.
  • Be intentional about culture:
    • Since opportunities for organizational messaging and networking became more difficult and infrequent, leaders need to be more intentional about this with their teams and immediate colleagues.

Host:                Kyoko Kobayashi
Moderators:   Karina Delcourt and Mark Richardson