CSG Spring 2015: The Future IT Organization / Talent Management

What kind of people do we need?

  • Hire for speed (the best people you can find, then figure out where to fit them in).
  • More business and entrepreneurial skills – services moving more towards products.
  • Technical curiosity.
  • More willing to engage with the business partners.
  • Wisconsin had a hard time finding Peoplesoft developers so they set up a Peoplesoft Academy and selected a dozen people to train and then hired six of them.
  • Google used to talk about people who are like “stem cells” – can adapt to different environments.
  • Look for resiliency.

The next generation: willing to work hard, but less patient for delayed gratification – want life balance from the start. Very social, not tied to their employer. Watched their parents go through the great recession, so don’t trust employers. Learn fast and think they should be highly empowered from the start. Fueling a crowd-sourcing model, with lots of shifting around.

What do we have to change in how we recruit and employ?

  • Want to work from home, later in the day.
  • Want opportunities to explore – spend some time that might not be relevant yet.
  • Create environment for those type of employees to be successful.
  • University HR paradigms might not work for new IT employees.
  • Gartner’s work on bimodal IT is worth following – we have business applications that have to be solid and reliable, and new activities that can be innovative and constantly changing. There are employees of all ages that prefer to work in both modes and we need to find ways to accommodate them.
  • Millennials like to get groups together and fix things – they have low tolerance for things that are broken and take a long time to fix.

How do we recruit the best IT staff for the future?

  • Compete with mission and brand.
  • Can build and tear down stuff in the cloud without all the brittle process around it.
  • Looking for systems thinkers.
  • Instituting a formal internship program for undergrads and grads – good pipeline. If you hire a student when they graduate, even if they stay for just a couple of years you get great work.
  • Higher Ed IT is failure-averse. Best practice now is to fail early and fail cheap – put together an internship program and if it doesn’t work, shut it down. Penn State has a course on intelligent fast failure.
  • Cultural fit is important.

Do we have a talent management process?

  • Small things like recognition from the CIO with small spot gift cards can help.
  • Acknowledgement of colleagues from peers.
  • Be visible in the technical communities showing the quality of work we do, making it attractive.
  • In some kinds of jobs people are frustrated by the lack of career advancement opportunities.

How do we transition current employees to newer modes of work?

  • Employees are looking for more agile leadership.
  • Look at identifying individuals to give temporary opportunities to move elsewhere on a temporary assignment to get a specific job done. Needs to be a project with urgency to make it concrete. Then they have a different perspective when they go back to their line organizations.
  • It’s like a college basketball team – the good ones come in and out quickly so we just need to keep the pipeline flowing.

How do we encourage diversity?

  • Georgetown has around 400 regular participants in a Women Who Code effort, mostly not from computer science.
  • Plug students in at more strategic levels – not just answering the help desk phone.
  • Campuses can connect with community coding groups.
  • Google got its idea for flex time and research from academia – we are the source of innovation and we need to reclaim that.
  • Very little of the new cool stuff from our research and education programs filter into our organizations. How do we short-circuit that?

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