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IT hiring: 5 ways to evolve your strategy

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we work – and how we think about work – today and well into the future. As a result, it has prompted a reboot of how organizations recruit and onboard new employees.

The struggles of the past year have also prompted many workers to rethink their career priorities, quitting their jobs in extraordinary numbers – with a record 4 million people doing so in April alone, according to the U.S. Labor Department. This has ushered in an era some pundits are calling “The Great Resignation,” creating a higher-than-usual demand for workers. And this has many employers – especially those in high-demand technology settings – scrambling to find adequate talent to fill the many job openings.

CIOs in particular are struggling to accelerate digital transformation and ensure the latest technologies are available, a requirement for attracting tech-savvy workers – and of course, the customers they are striving to please.

[ Want more advice on IT hiring? Read IT hiring: 5 tips to move past the “ideal candidate” trap. ]

Also now normal is the continued acceptance of the pandemic-prompted virtual workplace. While some organizations are eager to bring workers back into the office full-time, many others are exploring the flexibility that a hybrid work model can bring to recruiting and hiring by enabling access to a broader and more diverse labor pool.

5 ways to update IT talent strategy

As we move into a post-COVID-19 world, consider these five ways to advance your recruiting and onboarding strategies and processes and help your talent acquisition team stay competitive in this dynamic environment.

1. Hit the reset button

A tried-and-true “this-is-how-we-do-things” approach to recruiting may have worked well in the past, but today’s reality is different. Rather than simply homing in on candidates who possess the ideal training and experience for a particular position, consider those who may possess skills and accomplishments from other roles or industries that could be built upon.

At Fidelity, for example, we provide training for those applying to financial planner positions who may have excellent transferrable skills but lack the proper licensing. There is no “perfect” candidate, so consider those with attributes that can signal success rather than focusing exclusively on those who match the job description exactly.

2. Understand who’s in charge

Recruiters and hiring managers must understand that in an era where skilled labor is in short supply, suitable job candidates are in the driver’s seat. You must cater to them as much as they need to “wow” you; that means being open to some non-traditional approaches you may never have considered in the past.

For instance, use virtual technologies for job fairs and candidate interviews. This will make it easier for candidates in more remote locales to forge a connection with you.

Also, consider offering benefits that may be non-traditional but are particularly desirable in the wake of the past year’s disruptions. For instance, Fidelity now provides employees and family members covered by health insurance a dedicated Health Assistant, a single point of contact for all health and benefits questions. Another attractive benefit, especially for workers just embarking on their careers, is student loan assistance (50 percent of Fidelity’s new hires say this was a major factor in their decision to join the firm).

[ How can leaders shape an equitable hybrid work experience for all? Read also: Hybrid work: 4 best practices for fairness. ]

3. Get creative

As we at Fidelity continue to expand our footprint in new markets in the U.S., we have relearned the urgency of sourcing candidates from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences. Diverse perspectives keep businesses relevant and innovating, helping to drive results. Broadening recruitment is easier than ever, thanks to the digital tools we’ve all become familiar with during the pandemic.

4. Be transparent

Ambiguity will get you nowhere. Be clear about who you are and what you believe in as a company, including the expectations for your post-COVID-19 working model. Further, ensure job descriptions and requirements are regularly screened and updated to ensure they are inclusive and non-biased; at Fidelity, we apply machine learning to make this process speedier and more accurate.

5. Personalize onboarding

While a generic approach to onboarding may be more efficient, its lack of personalization can deter new hires from getting off on the right foot. What does work? Information sessions featuring employees who have the same or a similar job as the new hire: Divide new hires into smaller onboarding groups, giving each more freedom and the opportunity to ask questions and bond with colleagues. Adjust your methods so that everyone can begin their new adventure feeling positive and confident.

At Fidelity, we launched a comprehensive new onboarding experience shortly before the pandemic: “Get Started” blends digital tools with human touchpoints at the moments that matter, via in-person and virtual experiences. It’s a guided, curated experience that introduces new hires to the tools needed for a Fidelity career, such as our culture, history, benefits, resources, and more. When you have a great story to tell, there’s no better time to tell it than in the first days of a new hire’s journey.

Throughout the last year, while facing extraordinary challenges from an unprecedented global crisis, workers have had to step up to serve both customers and colleagues and adapt to new ways of working, communicating, and living. Those of us involved in the recruitment and onboarding processes must do the same. We’re living in a brand-new world, and it’s imperative that organizations adjust their recruitment and onboarding processes to address the needs and expectations of those who will steer them going forward.

[ Get exercises and approaches that make disparate teams stronger. Read the digital transformation ebook: Transformation Takes Practice. ]

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