Companies can ensure technical professionals are prepared to manage others but only if they’re willing to reconsider their approach. To secure and keep a deep bench of tech talent, successful organizations invest in the professional development of their engineers and technical professionals.

The realities facing companies today can be daunting—the great attrition, remote work, and the explosive demand for talent are but a few factors that companies should consider when updating their talent management strategies. Developing updated, robust talent strategies should be a priority for any company wanting to attract and retain highly sought-after technical talent.

Here are four aspects to consider prior to preparing technical talent for management positions.

Develop learning experiences

Unique challenges can arise when we place highly skilled, technical individuals in management roles, they can struggle to confidently manage performance, particularly that of their former peers. This is where understanding skill gaps and tailored training come into play. Exposure to senior managers, mentoring, in-person and virtual training, and other targeted learning contribute to growth and preparedness. Ensure developmental opportunities emphasize gaining experience rather than simply earning certificates or completing mandated learning hours.

Support the development of foundational skills

It’s understandable why technical skills are highlighted in job descriptions. But when we promote or hire into management positions, we know that foundation skills can be equally as important. That’s what makes learning and development particularly valuable to creating stronger candidates and managers. Technical professionals who aspire to management need to appreciate that self-awareness, communication skills, and the ability to develop and maintain meaningful relationships are critical for effective managers.

 Eliminate barriers to success

Invest in quality and best-in-class practices that make employee lives easier. Top talent is attracted to environments where they can do their best work, unencumbered by excessive bureaucracy or inadequate leadership. Outdated processes and practices that are inefficient or waste time need eliminated. Make the quality of employee experience a metric that informs decision-making.  

Don’t assume your technical talent has managerial aspirations

Not all technical professionals want to become managers. Many may prefer complex digital or other challenges instead of joining management. Because of this, more companies may need both non-managerial and managerial career pathways for technical talent. Both types of career tracks should include clear guidelines and expectations for growth and development.

Attracting and retaining talent has become more challenging. We know that learning and development can play a vital role in helping employees feel valued and appreciated. To effectively compete, companies need to invest in professional development and ensure the company culture adequately supports the type of talent they seek. Reviewing and updating talent management strategies should be a priority for any company wanting to support the transition of technical professionals into managerial positions.

Tuesday Strong is a coach and consultant at Strong Performance Management, LLC. Learn more here.

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