You can solve the devops talent shortage – with compassion


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This article was contributed by Chris Boyd, VP Engineering for Moogsoft

According to Upskilling 2021: Enterprise DevOps Skills Report, a majority (64%) of leaders in various IT functions are struggling to find skilled devops practitioners. That’s not surprising, as the pandemic accelerated digital transformation and pushed demand for tech talent to an all-time high. Last year, hiring managers tried to fill more than 300,000 DevOps jobs in the US

And the problem won’t go away. The battle for a limited pool of devops talent will continue as more companies migrate their assets to the cloud and the tech world increasingly shifts to ephemeral machines. Enterprises need devops practitioners to keep up with the rapid app and platform improvements, but this tech talent generally has his pick of job options.

Many hiring managers and IT leaders are baffled at how exactly they can attract and retain devops talent. After all, they can no longer rely on traditional methods such as high salaries and attractive fringe benefits. In today’s world, true job satisfaction just about trumps anything else.

Here’s the secret to building your tech team: Employers need to worry.

But what does it actually mean to care? And what does that look like practically?

Let’s dive into the details.

What do I actually know about devops talent?

There was once an overarching message that employees should be lucky when they have a job. Perhaps a discussion about job satisfaction and achieving goals will emerge in an annual overview. But that’s not the story anymore.

I left a 12 year stint with one of the world’s largest domain registrars and web hosting companies. I had a great job, an excellent salary and the unique opportunity to rest and reinvest. But I’m not good at complacency. I’ve been a lifelong tinkerer and my easy job no longer suited my desire to play with tricky problems and come up with secret creative solutions.

To retain people, managers must nurture and value employees’ desires in a way that cannot be fabricated. But outside of kindergarten, no one is taught how to care. So, how can managers create a supportive, stimulating environment where employees know they are valued?

do you know people

Managers need to understand their workforce. This simple guideline is often overlooked because it is time consuming. But investing the time to get to know each employee personally and professionally will provide meaningful rewards for employers and employees alike.

Frequent touchpoints go beyond sending a signal to employees that managers are interested in them. They also help leaders identify their high-potential employees and determine what drives them. Giving your devops talent opportunities because you care about them and understand their professional passions makes them more likely to be engaged in their work and less likely to move on to the next best.

I meet every employee below me, regardless of seniority level. Then I hear that one person wants X and the other is interested in Y. And I keep those interests in mind, follow projects in the pipeline and tailor the work to the interests of the employees.

A promising technical leader from one of my scrum teams wanted to work on an upcoming project to produce an algorithm that we were implementing in the Moogsoft platform. I had an ideal project four months in the roadmap. And I moved it up, slowing down something on the technical side. Did the switch give me a headache? Absolutely, but in the end it was worth representing this employee’s interests and showing that I supported his development. And you can’t achieve that without investing time in getting to know your people.

Be transparent at all costs

In my view, there are simple reasons why people show up at work every day. And I measure the happiness of every employee based on these three elements:

Roles and responsibilitiesReward With whom and for whom do you work?

While most workers can handle one strike (for example, you love the company and the job, but feel undercompensated), most cannot work with two. I discuss job satisfaction, based on every part of the job, and try to be as transparent as possible. Of course I’m working on improving any lagging elements. But even when I’m stuck, employees know I care about them and their work.

Being transparent is also realizing that a company is a company and that people are leaving. That is a risk that you as an employer take. While leaders always have an advantage when it comes to transparent communication, managers should encourage their people to talk openly about when they feel it’s time to take other opportunities. Maybe you can solve the problem. Or maybe it’s really time for the person to move on, and you can create a transition plan or even help your employee find the right opportunity. Regardless of the specific situation, the more information that is shared, the better.

Provide comic relief

Devops teams don’t need to be reminded that their role can be stressful. During an outage, they know that a huge amount of the company’s money is at stake, and everyone – from the board to the bottom – is watching and waiting. It doesn’t help me to emphasize how high the stakes are.

What does help is provide comic relief. That’s often the best way I can help a technical team perform at its best when resolving a failure. When the boss is having a good time, the team can relax too. And it’s essential to performance and morale that teams let their guard down and know that their skills are trusted.

Even without a blood pressure-raising, service-disrupting incident, I want my team to get up in the morning excited to spew nonsense about Slack or toast each other with memes while they’re at work. After all, no one — devops talent included — wants to stick to an authoritarian leadership style where work has to be a slog.

There is a lot of talk about increasing employee engagement and strengthening workplace cultures. While I agree that these are essential to the modern workplace, can’t managers just really care about them and the rest will follow?

Chris Boyd is VP Engineering for Moogsoft

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This post You can solve the devops talent shortage – with compassion

was original published at “https://venturebeat.com/2022/03/09/you-can-solve-the-devops-talent-shortage-with-compassion/”

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