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  • Blog
  • ITIL

Author  Erika Flora – President/CEO, Beyond20

June 2, 2023 |

 8 min read

  • Blog
  • ITIL

What do leaders need to think about when it comes to attracting and retaining the best talent in today’s hybrid workplaces?

With the increased number of remote and hybrid working environments, there’s a risk of not being able to draw the best talent, individuals feeling detached and less cohesive as a team and management of teams and their performance becoming more difficult.

This is why developing personal initiative and excitement among staff is even more crucial and leaders need to be able to trust that work is getting done and customers are receiving a positive experience and gaining value from the services we’re delivering.

While technical skills are comparatively easy to train, our people need more of the so-called soft skills: being able to work well in and contribute to a team, effectively interact with and create a great experience for customers and complete work quickly in support of the larger mission, with attention to detail and high-quality results.

Indeed, one of the biggest skills our own organization looks for in new recruits is versatility: especially in times of digital and organizational transformation, when emerging technology can change the workplace rapidly, we need people who are unafraid to learn unfamiliar technologies and ways of working, expand their skills to solve radically new challenges as they arise and continue to learn and grow at pace.

But it’s not only the expectations of employers that has changed.

Operating in a levelled hierarchy

People working virtually and meeting via online platforms – where people may be dressed more casually, are finding that the balance of power has changed somewhat as well. With everyone on a conference platform literally the same size on screen – it is working to change the dynamic and flatten corporate hierarchies.

For more junior people in an organization, this new normal has raised their expectation of being listened to, given equal voice and afforded the same respect as anyone else in a meeting.

But senior people also need to rethink their approach in this scenario: they need to be attuned to who is engaged and willing to interact and who isn’t. The onus is very much on leaders to encourage the human connection between people working virtually, give a voice to those on the team that are quieter and encourage their contribution, some of whom may never have met in person. And they need to recognize that collaboration between remote and hybrid colleagues may take longer and find ways to encourage teamwork and bonding.

Hiring, training and developing people: ITIL 4’s workforce and talent management practice

Hybrid working means that the onboarding process for new employees has had to change.

The first experience employees have with any new organization is even more important and that feeling needs to be actively and intentionally managed as part of onboarding rather than expecting it to happen organically. This practice can include presentations from key leaders in the organization, expanded learning about the values and mission of the organization and a series of meetings with different teams to understand what they do and help build camaraderie.

Meanwhile, training and development helps new and existing teams learn together and have meaningful group discussions to solve problems, improve how individuals and teams work together to support customers and can really help develop team cohesion and organizational improvements.

In the context of hiring, training, developing and retaining IT staff, ITIL 4’s workforce and talent management practice is key. It helps leaders recognize that attracting and keeping the right people is not just a human resources function, but something IT leaders need to be intentional about and personally involved in.

Certainly, teams need people that can perform the technical requirements of their role, but they also need people that can collaborate, interact with and serve customers and can learn new skills for today and the future.

That means helping teams to understand the bigger picture, share and work towards a common vision and see where and how they fit into everything.

Growing talent for future challenges

We’ve realized that in the competition for strong talent it’s difficult to find people with all of the needed skills when recruiting in the market. With this in mind, another effective approach is to grow talent internally; taking people with the right attitudes and potential and teaching them the necessary skills.

The ITIL 4 workforce and talent management practice provides several ideas and guidance for leaders in planning for and thinking about the employee journey and how to develop staff. As service providers, we’re accustomed to considering the customer journey, and this ITIL 4 practice helps us apply this same thinking to the learning and development journey of our own people.

In this new remote and hybrid working world with long hours and the potential for burnout, it’s even more important that we as leaders help our people feel valued and connected to the organization and the solutions we provide to customers – and therefore want to stay, learn and grow together over the long term.