Blog Post

How Crowdsourcing Can Solve Your Toughest Talent Gaps

Harry West

Vice President of Services Product Management, Appirio

Talent management has traditionally focused on three main categories—short-term, mid-term and long-term needs—with the goal of ensuring a ready and solid supply of talent to meet any organizational need. Thanks to new technologies like applicant tracking systems and predictive analytics, today's companies are able to build and evaluate this supply more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

However, while technology has improved how organizations both assess current needs and plan for the future, there are new challenges emerging that threaten to disrupt the careful balance of planning and execution in traditional organizational development: 1) Technology is now core to every business; 2) Corporate training and development is lacking; and 3) Traditional hiring and outsourcing is increasingly difficult.

In order to meet these new challenges, organizations need to adapt their talent approach to meet immediate needs, not just short-term, mid-term or long-term. How? By integrating new acquisition methods like crowdsourcing—asking a community of people for ideas and resources—into their talent management strategy, companies can tap into a "human cloud" for on-demand capabilities.

Here's a closer look at the emerging business challenges of tomorrow, and how crowdsourcing can help companies meet their talent needs.

Crowdsource Your Core Tech Strategy

More than ever, today's businesses—not just consumer product companies—need to create digital customer experiences that allow customers to engage with them in easy, rewarding ways. B2B businesses are creating innovative methods for collaborating, learning and working with external stakeholders using technologies like social media, mobile apps, and the Internet of Things (IoT). This trend is causing traditional businesses to fundamentally reinvent how they interact with the outside world—the very definition of disruption.

With crowdsourcing, any company can put tech at the center of their business strategy. By tapping into a "human cloud" of talent, organizations have the power to integrate tech-driven thinking with their traditional project process, and meet unique business needs faster. Companies that may not have the expertise in place to evaluate and map out new technologies —like mobile apps and collaboration tools—can now get high quality digital concepts, designs and prototypes quickly (not to mention at a lower cost).

Crowdsource the Talent Search

In addition to a core focus on tech, there are skills essential to meeting the needs of today's economy that simply can't be filled through traditional university or corporate education at scale, such as mobile app development and data science.

These skill sets are some of the most constrained in the economy today; Gartner predicts that by 2017, demand for enterprise mobile applications will outstrip supply by a ratio of 5:1. Building consumer-grade experiences designed for mass appeal and usability on a 5-inch screen is an incredibly complex mix of art and science—and most companies don't have the resources for rewarding elite talent like Apple does.

So, how can you effectively add this capability to your organization to compete like a tech company? For tough-to-find design, development and data science skills, companies can look to the crowd and source a variety of on-demand talent. Through challenge-based crowdsourcing competitions, like those at topcoder, companies can receive multiple outcomes for a project—and choose the best of the best—instead of relying on a single idea.

Crowdsource Corporate Training

The human cloud is not only useful for tapping external skills; companies can also use crowdsourcing to bolster their existing internal workforce.

The old model of university education > employment > on-the-job training > corporate training and development was (and still is) an excellent way of developing classic job skills for evergreen areas, such as accounting, leadership, HR, customer service and quality control. Since the 1990s, however, companies have cut back on how much they spend on traditional skills development outside of leadership development and compliance training. This can often lead to retention issues, as workers may feel that they don't have enough opportunity for career development. It can also cause organizations to consistently miss opportunities to develop their own people and overspend on bringing in new talent.

By embracing crowdsourcing, companies receive a dual benefit: In offering their employees new learning opportunities, companies expand their current members' skill sets and value. On communities like topcoder, people can learn the latest, most cutting-edge skills by actually doing the work and participating in challenges on their own time.

In short, there are significant benefits to solving your toughest talent gaps with crowdsourcing—where you pay for results, not just for effort. By offering a new way of thinking about capability and execution, the "human cloud" (or crowd) represents a huge step forward for companies that live in the Cloud Economy.

Interested in more crowdsourcing content? Look out for upcoming posts from our partners at Appirio, or check out their crowdsourcing page to learn more!

Photo: Shutterstock

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