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5 creative ways to address gaps in IT resources and talent

In a recent Indeed survey of more than 1,000 hiring managers and recruiters, more than half (53 percent) of respondents have hired tech talent despite candidates not meeting the job description requirements. That may be a good thing for businesses in need of IT resources to fill gaps in their talent pool. While that alludes to the fact that businesses are working hard to meet their needs for IT talent in what must be creative ways, here are five of those ways that businesses can employ to fill the gaps in IT resources and talent.

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#1: Training People with Transferable Skills/Hiring Recent Grads

Businesses can meet their IT needs by training people within the organization who have transferable skills: for instance, an IT-savvy employee who can learn a new computer language to meet the job requirement. Bringing interns into the organization is a perfect chance to feel out a cultural fit—their ability to learn and adapt and measure how they’d work with the existing team.

Another way that businesses can fill tech roles by turning to internal training to fill talent gaps is by hiring college graduates with two- or four-year degrees in computer science or even technical trade school graduates. This requires growing them into the level of mid-level techs who bring value, which can take a year or more.

#2: Support and Mentor Programs

Companies having a hard time finding tech talent should create a mentor program and work with more junior IT team members to put them on a skills track. The first six months of the mentor program is an investment, with team members learning new skills quickly. At the six-month or one-year point, they begin creating value for the company but still need the advice of senior leadership to grow and to avoid pitfalls.

#3: Internal Training, Certification

If you have competent IT generalists but need them to have specific training, it can pay to invest in the certification training that they need as long as they have the aptitude and ambition and are a good fit for the company long-term. The potential downside is that investing in IT personnel training doesn’t always continue to pay off, as they may leave at a certain point and take the training that you provided with them to another, higher-paying job.

#4: Sharing IT Talent with Other Businesses

Another approach that may be possible is that other, non-competitive businesses that you work with, such as vendors or businesses operating in the same building, may have part-time tech staff that you can work with and whose consulting-time costs can be shared with their employer. This may be feasible if your business is relatively small and its IT needs are basic.

It does present some drawbacks, as they may not be available when there is a problem, even though they may be on call. Other challenges are, they may be IT generalists rather than specialists, so they may not have the skills to handle more complex IT needs.

#5: Strategic IT Staffing Through Augmentation.

All of these solutions can be quite costly, and depending on your IT needs, it may be a long time before you see the return on investment at some type of break-even point. In today’s digital era, IT needs are a combination of current network and IT system maintenance, monitoring, and management. Additionally, it is about IT strategy development and implementation for technology solutions that will meet future business needs. This is true regardless of the size of your business, so with part-time IT staff or even in-house IT personnel, their skill sets and numbers may not be sufficient to effectively bridge the IT resources gap.

Gaps in IT can lead to major problems in terms of network downtime, slow business technology processes, and cyber attacks due to poor security patches and software update scheduling. With today’s deadline-driven IT demands and time-compressed project cycles, the ability to augment a core IT staff with on-demand advanced-skills professionals can dramatically increase a company’s competitive advantage.

By having an external managed IT services partner (MSP) to deal with day-to-day IT support, as well as long-term evolution, the organization can tap into highly skilled IT consultative support. The best of these MSPs provide a broad and interconnected suite of services that are bolstered by an understanding of how to develop and fulfill a defined IT strategy that is aligned with business goals and culture.

The support of an MSP can effectively bridge the gaps in IT personnel, as well as tool needs for monitoring, maintenance, security, and vendor relationships for the inevitable investments in new IT solutions. The right MSP can provide all of the specialized personnel you need, when you need them, under a set price contract that can be adjusted for expanding or temporary needs. You also get a consultant that can help you develop a sound IT, cybersecurity, and virtualization strategy to prepare your business for future needs in ways that foster agility, growth, and flexibility.