How to Develop Your Tech Talent with Learning & Development

Tech talent must be developed to help organizations run efficiently. Learn how to optimally develop tech talent through training and L&D.

Published on 25 August, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022
How to Develop Your Tech Talent 1

Think of your organization as an operating system. If you don’t update your OS, your workflows and productivity painstakingly slow in a world that thrives on speed to the point of instancy. When it comes to your organization it is of paramount importance to keep your employees up to date, especially your tech talent.

Your tech teams run the company from the frontend and the backend. However, many organizational leaders find it difficult to find and keep talented tech employees. With a pool of highly skilled individuals to choose from, it is essential to begin understanding what talent to look for and how to develop your tech talent to their full potential.

Tell Your Company’s Story

When adding to your tech team, telling your company’s story is a necessity. Every onboarded employee should reflect the attributes and vision of the organization. More so in varying degrees than in the form of full-blown company mascots. In particular, IT teams are most frequently called upon to fix or mitigate an issue. The employees that they meet are usually asking them to resolve an issue. Comparatively, moments are few and far between where they receive tickets to create something, unlike other members of tech talent like web designers. This can resort to the manifestation of feelings such as underappreciation or resentment towards other employees – especially nontechnical ones.

To avoid abrasive attitudes, it is important that your company’s vision is communicated to job candidates. Those that don’t align with your corporate values will very likely be unmotivated–or even work against core value–and can significantly impact team morale. Keep in mind that this isn’t an issue isolated to IT support teams. Software engineers, developers, designers and programmers should all be motivated by your company’s drivers. Tech talent is usually pressed for long hours spent side by side, especially when tight project deadlines loom closer. A way of overcoming such difficulties is through training your tech support team to stay up to date with the latest technology rollouts. If members of your tech teams are not driven, it will antagonistically affect the quality of the project’s outcome and other team members.

Simply put, if tech talent can’t all agree on your vision then they won’t be motivated to do their jobs fully. And if they are unable to complete day to day tasks, then who’s to say they’ll meet the learning and development you structure with an open attitude?

Elect Strong Leadership for Management

Similar to Rome not being  built in a day, an organization run by tech talent doesn’t happen overnight. Taking the metaphor a step further, Rome wasn’t built in a day,but you can, however, lay bricks every hour. Strong leadership management is the foundation of any team. The question becomes how to identify capable leaders from the rest of your tech talent.

Harvard Business Review suggests that technology may change, but good management doesn’t. Furthering this notion, the HBR article identifies that social problems are converted into organizational opportunities:  “Because every organization exists to meet a social purpose, the dawn of a new social challenge can also signal the arrival of a valuable new chance to create a customer, change a life or express a community’s vision.” In other words, technology evolves to answer a new social problem. Yet, the way in which an organization runs is not an evolution, but rather a revolution that readily embraces societal issues.

Using the late consultant, educator and author Peter Drucker’s 3 tasks for management, organizational leaders should:

  1. Focus the organization on its specific purpose and mission
  2. Make work both productive and suitable for human beings
  3. Take responsibility for the organization’s social impacts

Stepping back, how much of these tasks are motivated by technology? Rather, to employ Drucker’s fundamentals, management must be capable of being strong leaders that think of technology as a construct that works for people, not the reverse. Technology, software, products and services should be chosen as something that best serves your company’s purpose. The same caution should be applied for ways in which management decides to develop tech talent.

Nurture Hard Skills

Tech talent is very different than other types of skill sets. Technology is very specific and tangible. Those who are well adept with tech hard skills are able to apply them to job roles that are directly carved out for those skill sets and knowledge. However, technical competencies must be nurtured, developed and expanded upon, otherwise, it runs the risk of being pigeonholed. Modalities and tactics quickly become obsolete with the rapidity of technology. To keep your tech talent talented, it becomes critical to nurture their hard skills – even the ones not listed in their job description.

If you have a team of programmers and developers, regularly hold sessions where they can advance into multiple programming languages. Coding Dojo ranked the top programming languages that are currently in demand. If you have programmers writing in Python or even JavaScript, for example, now is an ample opportunity for them to add SQL to their list of languages to learn – especially if you’re en route to adding a mobile app to your offering. Having a team of programmers and developers that are capable of writing in multiple programming languages will better position your tech talent to work on diverse apps and web services.

Another way of nurturing hard skills is to create projects for your tech talent to add to their portfolios. Employees who have added passion projects into their responsibilities may also want to add this to their portfolio. You may be hesitant in creating formal milestones for individuals to converge into a portfolio. Some employers are wary of this because these portfolios can be sent as examples of past work in job applications outside your company. While this is a possibility, creating a portfolio doesn’t translate as fostering a world of cloaks and daggers. Instead, use these portfolios to show the time, effort and skill to upper management and HR. Lots of tech talent goes unnoticed because of backend work. These portfolios will deliver tech talent of ownership and autonomy while showing progress to those in charge of awarding promotions, bonuses, and raises.

Nurture Your Tech Talent Hard Skills

Coach Soft Skills

Aside from hard skills, workplace competencies are necessary for developed tech teams. Tech talent must work with varying departments outside of technology and sometimes work directly with customers, partners, and the public. Time must be taken to coach soft skills. Research and identify what resources and processes your tech talent uses. Is there a way to streamline a team’s workflow to lighten their workload?

Work habits should also be considered. If your tech team follows the same schedule or are frequently bound to their computers, you run the risk of them becoming inundated and uninterested. A lack of motivation is the catalyst to fractured processes and even turnover. Support your tech teams with training devoted to coaching their soft skills. During this training, you can even reference their portfolios to shape confidence and boost satisfaction.

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