By Tal Hayek, Co-Founder, CEO
For businesses in the technology space to survive through any period of uncertainty, they need to be nimble and adapt quickly to their environment—but surviving and thriving are not the same. Thriving requires not just the ability to adapt, but to do so with poise, effectiveness and clarity of purpose. In order for tech companies to thrive in 2022 and beyond, they need to look inward in addition to looking outward, reaffirming the core beliefs of their business while navigating a constantly shifting landscape. Here are my priorities for how to do so.
The war on talent and how to win it
The Great Resignation that started in 2021 will likely continue into 2022. Even companies outside of the tech industry recognize that a lack of proper tech talent presents a huge existential threat, and are moving accordingly. In 2019, more than 40% of software engineer and developer hires were made by non-tech companies (source: Bain), and that was before the pandemic increased the demand for digitalization almost everywhere. Hyperscaler tech companies like Google and Facebook have also been snapping up top-tier graduates at unprecedented rates, only increasing the competition for smaller and mid-sized companies to attract and retain talent.
On top of that, a majority of baby boomers are set to retire in the 2020s, some of them voluntarily due to COVID-19 concerns, further reducing the pool of skilled labor in the economy. 50% of the remaining employees will still need to be re-skilled by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.
In the face of such incredible demand for tech talent, many tech companies feel that they need to make fundamental changes to the structure of their businesses in order to secure and retain skilled workers. They aren’t wrong, but tech firms should not forget employees are people first, and although the tech landscape is always changing, the fundamental needs of their people should be prioritized. Companies must invest in their people in more ways than just compensation —it’s about emotional well-being and personal development too.
The pandemic has taken an emotional toll on just about everyone. As a result, leaders should focus on ways to invest in the emotional strength of their people and see that their needs are met through work-life balance, good benefits and a solid parental leave policy. These investments in people should also extend to learning and development opportunities. Organizations that look to upskilling initiatives and foster a culture of life-long learning can create value for both employer and employee—closing the skills gap from the inside out.
Supporting your company’s culture
Adjacent to the issue of winning the war on talent is supporting company culture in the transition to hybrid work. Companies must ensure the physical distance created by hybrid work doesn’t translate into employees becoming extensions of the business first, and people second. Maintaining company culture and increasing employee engagement are especially important in a hybrid work environment, so tech firms must make a conscious effort to promote human connection and ensure leadership remains transparent and open. They also need to focus on the company’s vision and see that it isn’t forgotten during this shift.
At Acuity, this issue is so important to us that I have appointed a Chief Empowerment Officer, @KristenOliver, who supports us all in being our best selves. Together with her help, we’re determined to thrive in 2022 by offering employee events, training sessions, and personal support initiatives. We are fostering a hybrid work environment where employees have the flexibility to work remotely, but can still depend on the stability of the office to collaborate, have a change of scenery or just chat by the coffee machine like they used to—government regulations permitting.
Connecting the consumer experience
Finally, in order for tech companies to thrive in 2022, they need to connect the consumer experience and meet customers where they are in their journey. The lines between the real world and digital world are fading, and consumers are looking for a connected experience across all platforms and devices. Over half of Americans said that internet usage has been essential during the pandemic (source: Pew Research), meaning that tech firms that deliver an omnichannel consumer experience will come out ahead.
At Acuity, we’re helping companies do just that. Our flagship programmatic advertising technology illumin™, offers marketers a way to take back control of their digital advertising by offering omnichannel execution along a connected journey—improving the user experience while allowing brands to maximize marketing impact.
Although tech companies may face challenges in 2022, they are uniquely capable of finding solutions. The tech industry has always been centered around innovation: solving emerging problems through novel solutions in rapidly-evolving environments. I urge leaders in tech to remind themselves of what has brought them success; to trust in the innovative process that got them there and the people who are committed to their growth. By keeping this in mind along with the priorities I mentioned, tech companies can find ways to thrive in 2022.