How Does Your Association Attract and Retain Top IT/Software Talent?
That was the topic of discussion when CIOs and CTOs from 35 leading Associations met on May 6, 2020 for the Presidential Forum Roundtable via Zoom Web-conference. The peer-to-peer discussion was moderated by Prabhash Shrestha, EVP & Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA).
It’s tough to compete against the glamour companies for talent – Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and the like. But Associations have a mission driven focus which can also be an attractive draw for talent, even if it is for a short term.
Shrestha asked the group two questions: 1. What is your main pain point when it comes to resources and talent? Networking, Cloud, Development, Mobile, Strategy Skills? Are you outsourcing at all? 2. What has worked in retaining talent and what has not?
Several CIOs mentioned that the biggest issue is finding talented IT people who can also translate business objectives with technology. Being able to ask the right business questions is critical for a successful IT person. With the advent of COVID-19 a couple of CIOs noted that they put development work on pause, and it is forcing them to reassess their top priorities based on the business needs of the Association. The immediate challenge for many CIOs is helping the Association to virtualize their Conferences – using in house and outside resources.
When it comes to talent search, one CIO noted that it was important to keep in mind that you may need different people to cover different talents, e.g., an innovator vs. a maintainer will be two different people. Another CIO mentioned how critical it is to “hunt” for talent. Find a good person and hire him/her away from their existing employer is better than culling resumes. Regarding early career IT talent, make friends with professors and get them excited about what you are doing as an Association. If the professor is excited, he/she can be your “recruiter”. Everyone seemed to agree that “resume” shopping is a thing of the past and is not the best path to success.
Regarding retention of talent, one CIO mentioned how important it is to consider yourself as a “coach” and also to partner with the HR leadership in your Association so that they learn about your projects and goals. Showing your staff how their work ties directly back to member engagement and member experience keeps them excited about the work they are doing.
In addition to the CIOs in attendance, the sole sponsor @Exelaration shared with the group their unique and highly successful model of mentoring upperclass and graduate students in IT fields and placing them with companies at a more competitive rate than more experienced hires or outsource IT firms. One of the COOs in attendance who currently uses Exelaration for staffing on important IT projects mentioned how the experience has compared to using outsource IT firms. After 6 years, the results have been better customer service and less breakage. This COO pointed to the quality of IT talent, and the quality of the technical supervision over the IT interns which were critical success factors. For more info: https://exelaration.com// POCs: Allen Tuggle firstname.lastname@example.org or Steve Cooper email@example.com.
The Presidential Forum Association CIO Roundtable series was co-founded by Prabhash Shrestha, Group EVP & Chief Digital Strategy Officer, Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and Wade Tetsuka, President, U.S. Transactions Corp. firstname.lastname@example.org
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