Article: Top 6 strategies to hire tech talent amid a recession

Recruitment

Top 6 strategies to hire tech talent amid a recession

Recessions may impact business growth, but cannot stifle the development of technological expertise - provided companies follow some innovative steps.
Top 6 strategies to hire tech talent amid a recession

The prospects of a recession still hang heavy over the world but there is one thing that seems to be progressing unhindered - technological process. Ascendion, a digital engineering company in India, is gearing up for the software revolution by hiring 1,000 engineers by the end of 2023.

“With the pent-up demand for technology, we believe that the chief constraint is talent. At Ascendion, we see India as a major hub for providing digital engineering and are rapidly scaling up our presence. We are making major investments in talent acquisition and recruitment marketing initiatives to drive higher velocity around talent,” says Prakash Balasubramanian, EVP and Global Head – Engineering Practices and Delivery, Ascendion.

Balasubramanian shares the top six strategies to hire during a recession (and otherwise) with People Matters.

Embracing gig model

In addition to traditional full-time hiring, Ascendion is embracing the gig worker model.

“Gig worker model enables us to tap into a pool of specialised talent, offering us flexibility in terms of talent acquisition and resource allocation. This approach allows us to access a broader pool of expertise and hire top-notch professionals for specific projects or time-bound assignments,” says Balasubramanian.

“The gig economy has changed how we work. For clients open to innovation, Ascendion has execution models that bring together full-time and gig workers as an integrated digital engineering project team,” he adds.

Moreover, to lure highly talented workforce, Ascendion has a flexible work policy, giving employees the ability to choose their work location. "The flexibility gives access to untapped talent pools, such as mothers returning to work post a break. We take work-life balance seriously and create an environment where employees have the time and space to pursue personal interests."

Emphasis on tier 2 and tier 3 cities

According to Balasubramanian, hiring tech talent from tier 2 and tier 3 cities provides access to a diverse set of skills and perspectives. 

"“These cities are emerging as future tech talent hubs in India. In addition to the usual technology hubs, we have committed to recruiting talent from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, where half of our India employees are, and training them on in-demand technologies such as Blockchain, Unity, Data Science, AI/ML, DevOps etc."

Craftsmanship

The world is relying heavily on digital technologies to manage our money, improve our health, educate our children, move through the world – all with a tap on the screen. Balasubramanian says to keep up with the rapidly growing engineering needs and models, upskilling alone is not sufficient.

“We believe craftsmanship is the key to engineering world-class software that impacts human lives and drives business growth. To nurture craftmanship, firms need to adopt the communities of practice (CoPs) model that provides mentoring, learning from peers, nurturing hands-on projects, and creating intellectual property – in addition to standard training,” he adds.

Balasubramanian believes that expertise and experience are crucial in mastering the craft of engineering high-quality software, as he emphasises that while expertise comes from formal education, training, and self-directed learning, experience is gained through the practical application of that knowledge.

Ascendion Circles, their community of practice model, is a key differentiator in attracting and retaining top talent. 

“Every company should adopt the Communities of Practice model which enables employees to connect with peers, receive mentoring from experts, work on projects of interest, share solutions to technical problems, and fuel continuous self-improvement,” he adds.

Balasubramanian also adds that building craftsmanship is a continuous process. Setting up communities of practice is a great first step. But nurturing craftsmanship needs a culture of engineering. Engineering excellence needs to be promoted across the enterprise. The communities of practices should have a constant stream of pet projects or side gigs the engineers could pick up and spend time engineering new age solutions.

Mentorship plays a critical role in promoting craftsmanship, he says. Most engineers today are lost in the wide range of technologies in play and are not sure what they need to focus on to build a strong career. Young techies are impacted by the fear of missing out and thus run after certifications that are widely available online today. A good mentor can make a huge difference in grooming engineers and making them the craftsmen of tomorrow.

Lastly, he adds, celebrating craftsmanship is key. Technologists need to discover the joy of engineering and continuously innovate to solve modern-day problems. These achievements need to be celebrated across the organisation consistently.

Campus recruitment drives

According to Balasubramanian, campus recruitment drives offer an excellent opportunity to hire and develop young talent.

“This should be leveraged to its full potential as per the organisation’s need. Additionally, this enables students to grow from the grass root level,” he adds.

As Ascendion plans to expand its workforce, it aims to fully leverage this avenue to create a pipeline of future talent.  The company plans to partner with leading educational institutions to attract top talent from diverse backgrounds. By doing so, it can tap into a pool of fresh talent and cultivate it according to the company's culture and requirements.

Utilise employee referrals

Balasubramanian says strong internal referral programmes help companies to quickly fill open positions with talented individuals who are likely to fit well within the company culture. “This also promotes employee retention.”

Focusing on building a strong employer brand and company culture

A strong employer brand and company culture helps to differentiate a company from its competitors and attract and retain top talent.  “It also helps to attract passive candidates and improve the quality of job applications,” says Balasubramanian.

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Topics: Recruitment, Talent Acquisition, #Hiring

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