To address some of today’s biggest tech hiring and talent management challenges, HR and business leaders require a different approach and expertise, Nabila Salem, President at Revolent Group shares more in this catch up with TecHRseries:
Tell us a little about yourself, Nabila. We would like to hear more about Revolent and how it’s solving key talent challenges today.
Revolent is all about paving the way for the next generation of cloud talent. By offering people passionate about tech the chance to upskill into Salesforce or AWS while getting paid, we’re making this career path more accessible to professionals from a more diverse range of educational, social, and cultural backgrounds. As an industry, if we truly want to navigate the growing skills crisis, we need to first address the barriers to diversity and inclusion. That’s the only way we can hope to effect long-term change.
In 2020, I joined Revolent as president because I’m passionate about bringing more diverse talent into this vibrant, ever-evolving ecosystem. I’ve been on the Advisory Board for the Women in IT Summit & Awards Series since 2019 and was also on the board for the techUK Skills & Diversity Council, so being an active part of the talent creation side is really satisfying for me because I’ve seen first-hand how D&I drives innovation. A rewarding tech career should be accessible and inclusive, not least because it affects so much of our day-to-day lives; companies creating that technology need to be as diverse as the people using it, or we’ll find ourselves entrenched even deeper in the systemic inequality we see today.
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What are some of the biggest business and tech hiring and leadership trends that you feel businesses need to strengthen in 2021?
We’ve seen a marked increase in demand for professionals with experience in Salesforce Industries which, following Salesforce’s acquisition of Vlocity last year, comes as no surprise. And that demand will only surge as more companies opt for cloud solutions tailored to suit their industry. Beyond that, I expect more companies to offer remote work as standard following the worldwide shift to online work in 2020. Over the last year, companies have seen the value in more flexible work arrangements; from lower running costs to a wider talent pool to hire from, the benefits are clearer than ever.
Revolent was recently awarded ‘Diversity Employer – SME’ – we’d love your thoughts on how Revolent focuses on creating a D&I culture?
Vigilance is key. In everything we do as a business, there’s a keen awareness that while we’ve come a long way in terms of diversity and inclusion in tech over the last few years, there’s a lot yet to be done, and we just can’t afford to become complacent and let that hard-won progress slip away. We know there’s a skills crisis, and that we’re not quite where we need to be in terms of equality. The difference at Revolent is that we’re here to actively do something about it.
One way we ensure diversity within our Revol cohorts is by fostering diversity from the top down. Our senior management team is made up of 50% women, and we’re proud to have more than 20 nationalities working with us across our hubs in the UK, US, and Australia; 63% of our employees identify as Black, Asian, or minority ethnic, and almost 40% of our Revols are the first in their family to attend university. That kind of representation is vital if we’re to create a culture where everyone feels respected and seen. We look to our colleagues for feedback on what we’re doing well, and what can be improved. We ask them about the challenges they face, and what we can do not only as their employers, but as a vital part of the cloud ecosystem, to help them overcome those challenges and help level the playing field once and for all. This, in turn, allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse of all the latest developments and contribute our own thought leadership to the discussion.
As HR trends shift in light of today’s evolving workplace culture – what are some ways in which companies in tech can strengthen their diversity cultures?
As an industry, we need to see more compassionate leadership if we want to take meaningful steps towards improving D&I. It takes an empathetic leader to not only recognise that every employee is a complex tapestry of experiences, views, beliefs, and challenges, but to ensure that everyone feels empowered to do their job, share ideas, ask for help, and ultimately, drive the kind of innovation that this industry thrives on.
I’d also definitely recommend reviewing D&I practices regularly, including the kind of education and support you offer. As you say, workplace culture is evolving all the time, and to properly support your workforce, you need to stay up to date with what’s happening across the industry and update your Learning and Development offering to stay in step with that.
A few of your biggest takeaways and tips on working effectively from anywhere, and working through the new normal in 2021.
The global shift to remote work certainly highlighted the value of two things in particular for me: trust and communication. I’ve seen many employers concerned about remote work potentially hindering productivity, and my question to those employers is this: do you trust your employees? If not, why did you hire them? If yes, then you can also trust them to be productive and get the job done no matter where they are in the world. And good, open communication feeds into that mutual trust. Make time for your employees, creating space for informal one-on-one chats where they can feel heard, and where you can offer advice, positive feedback, and support accordingly. You’d be surprised to see just how much that personal touch in management can build loyalty, improve morale, and increase your team’s productivity.