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The world of work was already changing before the pandemic hit, and now those changes have accelerated. The steady trend toward more remote work exploded, and work from home has become commonplace in a wide variety of industries, especially in technology.
Along with embracing new work arrangements, organizations are also warming more quickly to artificial intelligence and more automated processes. As the world of work changes, the engineering team must also evolve.
“As businesses rebuild in the aftermath of the global pandemic, those that take the opportunity to remake and future-proof their workforce will pull far ahead of rivals,” reports The Harvard Business Review.
To succeed in the future, organizations must rethink how work gets done, how many people are required to do it, and what work matters most in the new environment. Building an engineering team prepared to meet and conquer future challenges takes planning and, in many cases, a willingness to break out of the status quo. Consider these four steps to scaling engineering teams to be prepared for whatever comes next.
1. Prioritize inclusion, community, and empathy
A diverse, inclusive engineering team will have the broader range of perspectives, skills, and influence needed to be prepared to meet future challenges. You can start building that team now by working to remove bias from your hiring process.
For instance, masking personal identifiable information during the hiring process ensures that hiring managers avoid making decisions influenced by unconscious bias. Also, using digital skills tests helps managers select candidates based on skills rather than potential biases.
A focus on DEI hiring will gradually build a more diverse, inclusive work community, which will be better prepared to face future challenges.
2. Redefine needs based on future roles and demands
As the business world continues to change rapidly, it’s challenging to know what skills your team will need to have next year, much less five years from now. That’s why, when building an engineering team, it’s so important to seek professionals who can perform well without a clear view of what’s coming next.
According to Forbes, the most important skills for the future of work will include an ability to deal with, even embrace, ambiguity. Other vital skills for future-proof teams include curiosity, openness, resilience, and optimism. It’s always been important for hiring managers to look beyond technical skills and assess soft skills when evaluating engineers, which will become increasingly crucial for future success.
3. Harness technology when scaling engineering teams
Managing people is a human affair, but technology can help humans recruit, retain, and distribute their workforces better. Most organizations have a wealth of data about their employees’ skills and experiences, and by harnessing the right tech tools, organizations can leverage that data to build better engineering teams.
“As businesses acquire more and more data on employees and contractors – regarding each person’s skills, performance, potential, and ability to learn new skills and take on new roles – people analytics will be applied across the spectrum of HR activities,” reports The Harvard Business Review. “Technology will enable companies to do a far better job of recruiting, deploying, developing, and retaining talent, at a lower cost.”
To prepare for the demands of the future, organizations must leverage data to ensure they have the right people on the right teams, working on the right projects to move successfully into the future.
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4. Continually provide training and development
The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that successful organizations must be prepared for the unexpected. Engineering teams need ongoing training and development to move forward confidently into the future.
The data you’ve gathered about each engineer and their current skills, potential, and specific talents can help steer the most critical training and development types for each person.
The future and its specific needs and demands may be ambiguous. Still, by taking deliberate steps to build a future-proof engineering team, your organization can be prepared for whatever comes next.
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