The great and the good of the technology industry got together earlier this year at our inaugural Channel Chat Live event on the 26th May 2022 at The Phoenix in Cavendish Square, London.
The panellists answered questions from our host Marc Sumner and our audience of 200 industry leaders.
It certainly sparked a lively debate on several issues that are pertinent for all businesses in the IT channel. From Sustainability, diversity all the way through to the cross transferable skills of plumbers….
Here we look at some of the key take-aways from the lively debate:-
- There seemed to be a consensus that the way we work has changed forever and that hybrid working is here to stay. There is little value in forcing people to come back to the office full time. It is also important to make create reasons, moments, and an environment where people want to come back to the office.
- We are in a competitive landscape and for certain roles nature is likely to take its course. Some people will start to return to the office when they see their colleagues who do, earning more and getting promoted.
- In the past, trust, has been our biggest barrier to managing people remotely. It is going to be an added responsibility of the management team to make sure remote working is monitored effectively to make sure it is successful.
- In the US – they are seeing a gradual return to working in offices, typically this has started with a Tuesday to Thursday office based working week.
STRUGGLE TO FIND AND RETAIN TALENT
- In the UK we currently have the lowest unemployment rates for 40 years and have a unique situation where the number of vacancies is higher that the number of candidates available.
- Hiring simply because somebody has done a similar role previously isn’t necessarily the best way to sustain your workforce. Important to look at being more open minded, creating a talent development program and taking more risks on people to progress them through the organisation. Hiring on capability and raw skills, motivation second and experience third.
- There was a consensus that there has been a real shift in focus on retaining talent. With more effort placed onto creating an environment where people want to stay. Some of the more innovate schemes in places included:-
- Offering secondments program where employees can take a 6-month career break with a guarantee that their job is still there for them.
- Offering ‘Me-days’ on the first Friday of each month for employees to focus solely on their own wellbeing.
- Consistency is key to creating a great culture where people want to stay. A positive culture where people feel safe, listened to and valued is built up over years.
- It is usually impossible to protect yourself from businesses coming in and paying higher salaries and turning your employees’ heads. So, it is important to mitigate this threat by helping your people understand where their career could progress to within the organisation or even outside. Allowing you to plan for the next 3 / 4 years more accurately.
- Is sustainability merely a passing fad, a great commercial opportunity or something that should be taken seriously?
- The overwhelming consensus of the panel was that it is imperative to the profitability of businesses and more importantly the health of the planet that it is on the agenda of every board level discussion and is undoubtedly the biggest challenge facing businesses over the next 5 years given there is more legislation coming that all businesses need to be mindful of.
- Simply putting things in the cloud is not necessarily fulfilling any green agenda – as this is still simply a server in a datacentre and burning lots of carbon.
- Unless you have a sustainability program you can’t get on a tender list.
- Smaller businesses must take sustainability seriously too. Easier to bake it into your business plan at any early stage than to retro fit a sustainability policy.
- Diversity remains an area where there is still so much more work to do. It is so much more that simply looking at the inequality in the number of ‘women in tech’.
- Been a lot of talking about the challenges of dealing with the issues of attracting and retaining minority groups within organisations but this hasn’t been necessarily backed by any action.
- Diversity tends to create richer dialogue; it is important to create an environment that all people want to be part of.
- It is important to change behaviours and traditional management practices that can sometimes put-up invisible barriers for people. People are still making choices based on lots of unintended biases.
- Nobody wants positive discrimination but is it a necessity to drive impactful change?
- The three absolute truths are death, taxes and IT spend. We are lucky to be in an industry that has been resistant to economic downturn. Seen growth through several serious economic shocks over the past 30 years and I.T. is often the solution to economic problem not part of the problem. This is likely to continue in the medium term with I.T. spend taking a larger percentage of global GDP.
- Important to be ahead of the game – giving staff pay rises are crucial to help employees navigate higher interest rates and price rises.
- It is imperative to constantly be looking to update the skills of the people in your teams. Having an organisation that is fleet of foot and agile enough to adapt to the new market demands is a constant requirement if you are to stay ahead in business.
The panel was made up of Hayley Roberts, CEO at Distology, Mike Norris, Group CEO at Computacenter, Marc Waters, MD UK&I and ME at HPE and David Creed, VP from Armis.
THE FULL EPISODE CAN BE FOUND ON SPOTIFY, APPLE, ITUNES, YOUTUBE OR WHEREVER YOU USUALLY DOWNLOAD YOUR PODCASTS.