On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Jason Pyle from Harvey Nash about the findings from their 2021 digital leadership study.
Some Conversation Highlights:
So it is a great resource for anybody interested in technology, but also certainly folks that are in our space, in the recruitment space. There was a number of things that hit on what you just mentioned. Technology investment is up rather considerably little bit of a surprise because, as we went to remote environments in 2020, and businesses just rapidly digitized at a rate in which they never had before. You would think, I guess maybe that all we had invested a lot, and maybe we would see that ease a little bit. That’s not, that’s not happened. So maybe little bit of a surprise that’s continued to go up as it has. The thing though that really prevailed in this,
And at least for me, in our space, in a recruitment space, is just this topic of talent shortage. And some surprising ways and practical ways. I think that leaders, digital leaders are working to address that. So, more than two thirds of digital leaders in the report are really sharing that, they’re unable to keep pace with change because of the lack of expertise on their teams. And it’s the highest number of respondents that shared this concern in the 23 years. Again, going back to starting this report. And so, it showcased cybersecurity, big data, DevOps, technical architects, developers. All things that again, we would probably say that does make sense, but one of the really interesting things that jumped out is 4 of 10 digital leaders surveys, that’s 40% believe they’re keeping their key personnel.
Tune in for the full conversation.
Listening time: 27 minutes
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Established in 1988, Harvey Nash has supported many of the world's leading organisations to recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive and technology driven world.Follow
Music: This is recruiting Daily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense?, Are you ready to take your game to the next level?.You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: Ladies, gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the recruiting daily podcast. Today, we have Jason, on from a company called Harvey Nash, and we’ll be talking about the findings from the 2021 digital leadership survey. And it’s a study that they do, and I can’t wait to kind of get it into the findings and results and all that kind of stuff with Jason. So, Jason, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and also Harvey Nash.
Jason Pyle: Absolutely. Thank you so much, William. I really appreciate the opportunity. Thanks for allowing me some time with you today. So, yes, as you shared Jason Pyle. I’m managing director and president of Harvey Nash USA, which is the US operation of Harvey Nash group. And for those that haven’t heard of the brand Harvey Nash group, is a global brand, one of the 40 largest recruitment and staffing industry firms in the world. With over 30 years in the industry. 2,800 plus employees, internal employees globally, 40 offices. Our US business in particular has been in operation for over two decades, and experiencing tremendous growth. We serve some of the largest brands in the world, Fortune 500, State governments, as well as some small to midsize businesses across the US, and of course around the globe. Our Core purpose is helping move our clients and candidates forward through talent, technology. And it’s a great place to be right now, certainly experiencing a great deal of growth. Me personally. Oh, go ahead, I’m sorry.
William Tincup: Does Harvey Nash focus on any particular vertical markets or like hourly, or tech or any of that other stuff? And the second question is do you all as a staffing firm, do you all also do some type of RPO model as well?, or do you stick to just the staffing side of things?
Jason Pyle: Absolutely. thanks, great question. So we’re actually a very diverse business with both a contract recruitment’s, permanent placements, full-time recruitment, also solutions businesses that focused on technology and solution outsourcing as well as projects and statement of work business.
William Tincup: Cool.
Jason Pyle: Our core focus is in information technology, as you can imagine, though, that’s evolved a little bit. We certainly work in other verticals, other domains, business professional, staffing, and recruitment as well, but the core is foundationally fundamentally and for the last 30 years has been focused in and around technology. That is our core area, and certainly on the back, you mentioned the digital leadership survey, something we’re extremely proud of that we’ve published recently, and it centers around technology leaders. Incidentally too, I’ve been in the space for over two decades, myself and pretty much all my post-college working life. Love the industry, putting people in great opportunities, helping customers solve some tough challenges, of course, talent shortages being one of those today, right? That’s a that’s a prevailing topic, you cover quite well and as do many, across the space. So, been in that space for a long time, let’s digging in on that.
William Tincup: Alrighty, well, let’s do that. So, my experience with market research, has always been you start off with hypothesis or, some type of idea of what you’re going to get. You build a base of questions and then you go out. The audience then gives you respondence and give you feedback, and there’s always three things. On one side there’s things that you knew, when you were going into it, like, yeah, it kind of feels right. And it validates it. On the other extreme, it’s totally out of the left field, had no idea where this was going, we asked the question thinking they would answer one way, 96% of the people answered a completely different way. And so there’s a shock in all on that side.
William Tincup: And then the stuff in the middle that happens. It’s not necessarily validating, it’s the worst thing you can ever see in market research, is something that happens it’s 50/50. So you ask people a question and 50% of them say yes, 50% of them say no.
Jason Pyle: Absolutely.
William Tincup: I got no smarter understanding this, but anyhow so let’s count out the middle category. That’s not interesting.
Jason Pyle: Sure.
William Tincup: But the two extremes, the things that validated things that you knew or felt like yeah a sniff test, this makes sense, and then there’s stuff that just shocked you.
Jason Pyle: Definitely, definitely. I’m happy to dive in on those. So I guess for a little bit of backstory, the survey Harvey Nash has been publishing the survey for 23 years. So it’s a longstanding
William Tincup: Oh, that’s cool.
Jason Pyle: bit of data that we can compare and contrast. It used to be called the CIO survey.
William Tincup: Right.
Jason Pyle: And we expanded that to digital leaders, realizing that business managed IT, is such where your CIO’s maintaining that vision for the direction technology direction of the business. But you have a lot of different operators walking parallel with them across the enterprise. And so this was a way for us to the digital leadership survey was representative to what we’re seeing this businesses are seeing in their information technology departments. And so fortunately we’ve been able to. It is the most comprehensive report of its kind when it comes to surveying senior technology decision makers. 2100 plus respondents from all across the world, 80 plus countries represented, 3 million plus data points.
Jason Pyle: So it is a great resource for anybody interested in technology, but also certainly folks that are in our space, in the recruitment space. There was a number of things that hit on what you just mentioned. Technology investment is up rather considerably little bit of a surprise because, as we went to remote environments in 2020, and businesses just rapidly digitized at a rate in which they never had before. You would think, I guess maybe that all we had invested a lot, and maybe we would see that ease a little bit. That’s not, that’s not happened. So maybe little bit of a surprise that’s continued to go up as it has. The thing though that really prevailed in this,
Jason Pyle: And at least for me, in our space, in a recruitment space, is just this topic of talent shortage. And some surprising ways and practical ways. I think that leaders, digital leaders are working to address that. So, more than two thirds of digital leaders in the report are really sharing that, they’re unable to keep pace with change because of the lack of expertise on their teams. And it’s the highest number of respondents that shared this concern in the 23 years. Again, going back to starting this report. And so, it showcased cybersecurity, big data, DevOps, technical architects, developers. All things that again, we would probably say that does make sense, but one of the really interesting things that jumped out is 4 of 10 digital leaders surveys, that’s 40% believe they’re keeping their key personnel.
Jason Pyle: They’re not keeping their key personnel for as long as they would like. And a big portion of that is due to employees leaving to other opportunities. Money, [inaudible 00: 08: 38] influx of opportunities that they’re receiving makes it a very complicated thing for them, for digital leaders to address. And I don’t know that only 29% in comparison to that, so you’ve got a big number of people losing their talent, their key talent to other opportunities, and dollars and overall perhaps benefits, but only 29% of organizations responded as saying that they’ve redesigned employee offers. And that includes everything. So that’s all of your benefits and your compensation, and ways of working, and the perks associated with that. Certainly this business and folks aren’t doing it all just for the money, right?
William Tincup: Right.
Jason Pyle: So that’s for sure, but that is a component. And the fact that organizations have a chance to maybe look at that is a challenge they face. But I think it’s also an opportunity to bridge this talent gap.
William Tincup: Do you think just as you look at the data, Jason, or the findings, do you think remote or hybrid for candidates and employees and some of the attrition, what people call the great resignation, do you think some of that is just due to the two years hunkered down, in the same place terrified about the world ending and all that other stuff, and people just want a change?, or is it some of it that they don’t want to go back to an office? Or the anxiety of going back? Or commute? Have you pegged any of that from just either the study, or just your own experience with Harvey Nash USA, in terms of candidates wanting to be remote? Or wanting to go back in the office? or having some type of anxiety around where work gets done?
Jason Pyle: Definitely, no. That’s a great question. So obviously hybrids is not going away and nearly 60% of the organizations and the leaders that responded are saying, they’re okay with that. They’re expecting perhaps maybe some sort of middle ground, a two to three day work day,
William Tincup: Right.
Jason Pyle: But hybrids here, it’s going to stay here. I do think that everything that we faced over the last 20 or so odd months, I think we’ve all, just assess where we are, assess life and all of that. And so, yes, some of that has to do with fear of virus maybe, is causing people to assess things. Fear of the, kind of the social separation, not feeling maybe as a part of the organization as because of that remoteness, because of working outside of the organization, we’ve all learned to collaborate well.
Jason Pyle: Talking to you with you today on zoom, it’s easy to hop on video calls and so forth, but really we’ve lost a little bit of that in person connection. And so that does have people questioning their opportunities. Maybe it’s, and sometimes the grass isn’t always greener, but if someone’s assessing that and they take that leap, what’s too late, if they’ve left your organization. So I think what organizations can do, what digital leaders can do, and CIO’s and anyone leading people,
William Tincup: Right.
Jason Pyle: Can start with connection, and communicating. Evaluating the ways that we are engaging with our team members, pulling them in making sure we know what’s going on, what they’re facing, what support they need, what gaps exist today, in that the fears they have, I think we have to get really on the level with our teams. Wherever we may be to make them feel a part of what’s going on.
Jason Pyle: And to fill that connection, we all want to going back to that money and perks, one perk is that. That engagement, feeling like you’re a part of something bigger and that’s a big impact on retention. So, yes I know everyone is questioning, looking, thinking, and there is an opportunity to reach out. And we’re finding 80% of the organizations and the digital leaders surveyed in this report are evaluating and have evaluated or taking, taken massive steps forward in that communication piece. How are we connecting with one another in the day to day, in the way that we work. And it certainly helps you feel a part of something.
William Tincup: So, okay. So other things that shocked you in the survey, and I love that it’s a longitudinal study that you all have, because just year after year, you’re going to be able to compare it with things that you’ve seen historically, which is just fantastic. Other things that shocked you in the findings?.
Jason Pyle: So, I’m going to waiver off the shock part in and more, I would say something that jumped out at me as a very practical, because I think that you’re thinking about all these big ways that companies are addressing things and that digital leaders are addressing things. And one of the things that did come across as a bit interesting, it was a little bit of surprise, but also extremely practical and approach is over 50% of the people that responded are purely just addressing some of these talent challenges with team cross training in massively increasing cross training initiatives, really as a way to broaden their overall teams. We know that talent shortages are not eradicated with a step of a finger. And I think this sort of shares that digital leaders realize this. They realize that this is a long game and that in order to address it properly, you’ve got to start at home.
Jason Pyle: You’ve got to look at the team members that you have, assess those gaps across your IT organization, and then invest in your team to improve and to help, strengthen certain skill gaps that they might have. Teams may be, team member that has extremely strong experience in one area and another, that can compliment that. And how do you get that improved across the entirety of your organization? So not rocket science stuff, right. But a very important step forward for a business and an IT organization to be able to meet the needs of its business now, but also to improve and strengthen its team. And I also think that’s good for your employees. That’s an investment in your employees, that shows them that you value, you want to see their growth in development.
Jason Pyle: And again, the fact that the technology has become so much more user-centric, and business manage IT has mentioned, there’s more opportunities to learn those technologies and skills. And we hear every day of folks, you mentioned like the great resignation of reassessing life plans. You have folks that were in completely different careers, stopping for a moment and saying, you know what, I really want to get into information technology. I want to be in the tech space, and, I’m midlife and I want to change. And so that’s a great thing. And so companies realizing that and helping build and, and improve their existing teams, I think is a great way to address that. Probably not something I would’ve thought we would just see as one solution to the problem. And actually the number one focus of existing digital leaders.
William Tincup: I love that. I love it. What I love on several levels is the investment. We used to look at training, or at least the CFO and CEO would look at training and, a popular, what if we train them and they leave. And so people wouldn’t invest for years, it would invest in training and learning and development because the fear, and now it’s like, well, what if we don’t train them, and they stay. And so I think that’s finally sunk in, and I think candidates and employees have driven some of this change with, if you don’t train me, someone else will.
Jason Pyle: Absolutely.
William Tincup: So I love the investment. I love the articulation of, okay, we have to do this differently, harvest talent. We have to look at our talent differently, but I also like the other part of creating more opportunities internally.
Jason Pyle: Absolutely. and that’s what it does.
William Tincup: Yeah. if you invest in those folks, you put them into some type of training, it opens up more doors internally to the firm. Did you find out any other, were there any other tidbits around internal mobility?
Jason Pyle: Definitely, it does increase those opportunities. You’re going to give someone a chance to learn a new skill, and one that you might find they are extremely well suited to. And that’s going to create that opportunity for growth and development. Doesn’t mean that the employer doesn’t still need to go out and fill some gaps, and fill some areas, but giving a team a chance to cross train and to move into other areas of your IT operation is just practical, and certainly way to go. So, I think the respondents have shared that there’s an intention to do that. Again, because they know that this isn’t just going to change overnight. You have a lot of folks involved in helping to solve it. We’re an agency. And obviously external to the organizations that we serve, but a partner. And so there’s ways that we can help extend reach, but keeping your team, keeping them happy, keeping them comfortable, and feeling like they’re growing, and within your organization is extremely important.
William Tincup: Does the study, does it cover in any way, shape or form kind of the relationship to agencies?
Jason Pyle: It does, yeah.
William Tincup: What leaders think about agencies or how they’re morphing, how they’re changing, how they’re interacting with agencies. did you get anything out of the data there?
Jason Pyle: Certainly does, well so 45% of respondents expect an increase in leveraging consultancies. 44% levering permanent hiring externally bringing in agencies too. So I think that indirectly, that sort of lends to the thought that that companies know that in leaders know that they’ve got to work this on multiple channels, a retention program. Expanding their external reach, casting a wider geographical net for talent. Not just looking at hybrid helps us. What we’ve dealt with over the last 20 months certainly helps us. But I think that there’s a positive nature that now we have our part to do too. So, as an external agency, we can help amplify external reach, but you can’t react. This isn’t a reactionary business, you’ve got to really get ahead of it.
Jason Pyle: And I think that one way that leaders can help ensure that is to really have a conversation with the company, as you utilize to the agencies that you utilize to help supplement your internal search and, and recruitment, to make sure that they have a plan for your business. That they’re walking parallel, they understand your needs. They know where the direction of the organization is heading. That requires a more informed conversation. So digital leaders, and CIO’s, and hiring managers have to let agencies in a little bit. And give them a bit of a forward look into where they’re going, where their pain points are. But then I think the onus comes back to the agency, to help provide a roadmap. This is how we’re going to do it. We’re going to get ahead of your needs by pipeline and appropriately.
Jason Pyle: And it being realistic with that. It’s going to take a number of months to really fill those pipelines with candidates line up for what good looks like for your organization, and meets those technology demands and making sure that, that you’re holding those agencies accountable to that they’re doing that right. That they’re walking, that they’re setting those, SLAs and, those milestones and meeting that month to month, quarter to quarter, because it’s a problem that we all have to take stock in. And I would also say too, piggybacking off of that, we’ve seen some flexibility in this with again. 50 plus percent saying that, they’re leaders saying they’re okay with the remote and hybrid model. And I think that gives us a chance as an agency to cast a wider geographical net. Something that, we highly recommend because as you know, the best fit for a role might not be right in your own backyard.
Jason Pyle: It regionally extending that reach, even nationally extending that search, to ensure you’re attracting the best. And we advise that and we’d believe that’s the best approach. There are some scenarios maybe that, that might prevent that, but wherever we can be flexible in that, and continue with this hybrid model, I think is better for organizations to solve this challenge.
William Tincup: I love it. So two things before we wrap, one is leaders always look at what they know, the CEO’s dilemma used to be. I don’t know what, I don’t know, those blind spots. Right?
Jason Pyle: Sure.
William Tincup: It’s really all of our,.. It’s not just their dilemma, it’s all of our dilemma, but it’s a perception of where you think they might be blind sided. what do you think that is? Separate from that is, what do you think is keeping him up at night? Today, as opposed to, maybe in last year’s report. what would’ve kept him up last year’s R[Inaudible 00: 23: 04]? Was really total chaos. Right? Cause we were right in the thick of things and it was just a lot of unknown, okay we’re a year later, still a lot of uknowns.
Jason Pyle: No, definitely.
William Tincup: However, you know, maybe after you doing it for a year, maybe the anxiety is left. I, and I don’t know that to be true. But just on one level, I’d like to just get your take on where you think the blind spots might be for leaders? And what do you think is keeping him up at night?
Jason Pyle: Well, I think that the age of disruption that has been created as a result of the last 20 months, is still keeping organizations up at night. So rapid digitization now, what is coming into the primary focal point for digital leaders and technology leaders ,is helping the business create new products and services to support their growth and half the organizations that we’re seeing respond. And respondents, I should say, have massive plans to transform their business. I’m not talking just evolutionary, but to transform their business next two to three years, just to keep up. So that obviously keeps their team up at night and you can apply that to the, with the talent shortages that we’re seeing in facing day. And I, I hate to be redundant, but it, but it’s, it’s a massive, how do you do that?
Jason Pyle: How do you transform your business at the level that we’re hearing and seeing from respondents, and what is expected over the next two to three years when you can’t find the talent. That’s obviously going to keep, and then I also think too, there’s a wellbeing piece to this that, that digital leaders are facing. So you’ve got teams, you’ve got some gaps in and needs. You have an age of disruption, two to three years, rapid transformation. And you’re also dealing with an employee base that’s really stressed right now. The pandemic has really caused folks to really admit that mental illness and wellbeing is. So how do you help fix that? and organizations are doing a good job, and investing in ways to or starting to do a good job, I should say, in ways to help their employees deal with stress.
Jason Pyle: You know we started a wellbeing hub it’s publicly facing too. You can wellbeing.HarveyNashgroup.com. It’s publicly facing. So, but we wanted, when we created this we thought, well, let’s we want to put this out there, but we, it is for our internal team of course, but it’s really for anybody that want needs to help in, nutrition, managing stress, managing their finances, ways to kind of mitigate some of the pressures that we deal in today. So it’s really a combination of that disruption, that talent shortage and dealing, and working and helping your team cope in a rapidly changing environment. All that’s keeping our leaders and companies and folks up at night.
William Tincup: So where’s the study available? Cause I know people listening to the podcast, they’re going to, obviously want to seek it out and look at it themselves, and consume it on their own terms. So where’s it located?
Jason Pyle: Absolutely. So if you go to and we can, I don’t know if we can show note this as well, we can,
William Tincup: Oh yeah, we will
Jason Pyle: provide a link too, but www.harveynashusa.com. If you just look in news and insights, you can download a copy of the digital leadership report survey. I think that all your listeners will gain something from it. Every time I look at it, I see something else that I hadn’t seen before. And we’ve been just released about two weeks back, and we’re getting a very positive response and I recommend everybody take a look.
William Tincup: I love it. Brother, thank you so much for your time today. And thanks for coming on and explaining what you found with the study, but let’s do it next year after you do the next study.
Jason Pyle: Absolutely.
William Tincup: Because you’ll learn new things and the audience is going to want to learn what you’re learning as well. So it’s just thank you for your time.
Jason Pyle: William, thank you for the time. I greatly appreciate it’s a pleasure.
William Tincup: Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening to the recruiting daily podcast, until next time.
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.