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Veeva Systems 2023 Predictions: Tackling Tech Talent in 2023


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2023.  Read them in this 15th annual series exclusive.

Tackling Tech Talent in 2023

By Niraj Shekhar, VP of IT Commercial Systems, Veeva Systems

The new year is presenting companies with an entirely unique scenario - a talent-constrained recession. While high unemployment typically marks such downturns, analysts from Forrester recommend IT leaders stay the course when it comes to employee numbers. This is especially true of organizations that have invested in developing an optimum employee experience. Losing what they've built means their reputation topples, and for many companies, that was the most effective means for retaining and attracting top talent.

That said, the following predictions address what companies can expect in the year ahead when it comes to their most valuable resource, skilled and dedicated employees.

People and a path

In the year ahead, we'll see hiring slow down and contract employees playing more of a role. For CIOs, the primary challenges will be managing talent and finding and hiring the right people. For many companies, slowdowns and contraction results in employees being overloaded and burning out. This, in turn, can create a toxic mental health dynamic that can spread across a team, lowering morale and impeding productivity.

With budgets getting squeezed, CIOs will be looking to improve productivity within their IT organization so they can effectively support other functions. Key to that will be getting ahead of headcount discussions by understand the role each person plays on your team and why they are esssential. Further, CIOs are wondering if they'll even have budget and capabilities to spin out new projects. If not, hunkering down and optimizing existing platforms is the right call.

A balancing act

Another major factor in 2023 is that companies may not have as much time and resources dedicated to ramping up new employees. Preparing to onboard efficiently in the year ahead is going to be critical for those they hire, as well as the teams that they will be joining.

In terms of work balance, there's still a debate around home vs. office and what hybrid life should look like. Work-life balance will continue to be a topic for people managers. They'll need to understand how to provide flexibility, which could further prevent a burnout/overloaded work scenario. At the same time, companies must manage their assets more wisely - such as ensuring laptops are returned if an employee leaves the company. There are major logistics for managing assets during a time of belt tightening and we'll hear more on this as the year progresses.

Doing more with less

From a financial standpoint, CIOs will need to think about how they will manage the incoming demands of their businesses with the same or potentially less staff. This is where staff augmentation and contract workers will become more of a focus in 2023. Many companies have budgets where you can't hire full-time headcount, but you can bring in contractors for a 6-12 month period because it is more flexible. However, be careful with vendors who overpromise and underdeliver.

Managing vendors with discipline and attention to detail are critical to be successful. Further, their offerings can help you differentiate one provider from another. A healthy vendor management function will go a long way in keeping projects moving from a people and resource standpoint.

Prodding productivity

On the productivity side, a lot of what happened in recent years has sped up the internal decision-making process for many companies. We may be leaving a health pandemic but we'll be entering a financial pandemic. So how do we go from one uncertainty to the next? This will require a level of transformation from CIOs in terms of managing decision making.

Productivity relies on employees having the right tools, information and skillsets for making quick decisions: a slow reaction enables errors to persist and opportunities to be missed. Decisions made at higher levels tend to be weightier and move even slower. Companies are going to have to figure out in 2023 how they can make decisions on the ground to avoid bottlenecks and take advantage of development. Alleviating organizational bureaucracy to keep things moving will be something we'll be seeing a lot more of in the coming months. 

Tech and tools

The pandemic introduced a slew of new tools that people have come to rely upon. We went from employees using whatever they needed to get the job done to companies now looking to control the sprawl and consolidate tools. This has the potential to create tension as some employees want to be productive but feel the company is trying to save money by taking away their enabling tools.

What's more, there is a persistent myth that younger, digital natives will take to new technology like ducks to water. For instance, Gen Zers are thought of as tethered to their cell phones and engaged in social media, so it's assumed they'll be able to use business applications. But has anyone ever successfully used Oracle or SAP on day one? These systems need some training before a user can be proficient. This reinforces the need for effective onboarding and training in the year ahead, an approach that can also help manage many generational differences.

The road and risk

Five year road mapping is becoming extinct - trying to build a level of fidelity that makes sense is really difficult in our times of uncertainty. Today, it makes more sense for companies to break their projects out more incrementally because of unpredictability and the possible need to pivot. Those that are strained or facing budget cuts who take this approach find they can still effectively deliver the right solution over 18, 24 or 36 months. That's because they are already preparing for the possibility of cuts that may interfere with completing a project.

Those bringing projects over the finish line will naturally wonder if they're entering a sustainment period for the next few years because the company is avoiding big expenses. What does that mean for highly skilled talent who thrive on a challenge and exciting work? CIOs don't want to risk having all their all-stars leave, taking their considerable tribal knowledge with them. That said, in addition to managing your star performers, documentation and codifying any sort of knowledge will be imperative in 2023.

It's all about the fit

As someone who is hiring, I hear a lot of talk about perks and benefits that the whole workforce is now demanding. Still, companies must be careful with screening resumes and conducting interviews, being especially mindful of the type of employee they want to bring into their business.

Don't fall into trap of hiring to fill a seat or judge only by technical skills. I've seen loyalty go down in recent years, so hiring managers are building environments that encourage a level of employee commitment. If companies hire people they feel will mesh well with their business - and those candidates buy into the team and culture - they will gain a competitive advantage in hiring over their competitors.

It's always about finding the right fit, particularly when you're tackling talent in 2023.




Niraj Shekhar is VP of IT commercial systems for Veeva Systems, the industry cloud for life sciences. With over 20 years of experience, Niraj is focused on customer outcomes, building great teams, fostering environments that build trust and creativity, and delivering business results. He earned his Executive MBA in Business Administration and Management from Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from York University.

Published Friday, January 27, 2023 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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