CEO Chris Obdam of software platform Betty Blocks: ‘The battle for scarce talent can be solved if you look at it differently’

The War for Talent is currently in full swing, with a fierce battle for software programmers and other tech talent, especially in the IT sector. It’s rarely been more difficult to find people who can take a company to new heights. In fact, it is currently very difficult to recruit good staff at all, given the low unemployment rate and specific shortages in certain sectors.

The battle for talent seems to remain an important theme in the coming years. The demand for highly qualified employees is increasing, but the supply is not necessarily growing proportionally. Companies are doing more and more to attract people. From free massages at the office to an exorbitant salary with all kinds of bonuses.

And according to Chris Obdam, CEO of software company Betty Blocks, that is not necessary. “Luckily I’m not a doomsayer,” he told Business Insider. “We don’t see the war for talent as an insurmountable problem; we think it can be solved if you look at it differently.”

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Betty Blocks is a “low-code platform for business users”, as the CEO puts it. This actually means that the company offers a software platform in which almost everyone – not just specially trained IT professionals and software programmers – can build their own application with the aim of simplifying or automating business processes.

At the Alkmaar company, they see the War for Talent as an important step in the right direction. Why? Because it encourages companies to take a look at the innovations that can optimize business operations. In theory, this would allow you to do more with fewer people. “Although that is not exactly our goal,” Obdam jokes.

Make operations more efficient with apps, so you free up staff

“We are good at mobilizing and shifting existing staff. By that I mean that we make it possible to deploy existing employees, for example, to develop apps,” explains Obdam. “Just think of someone who has been in accounting for years and wants to do something different. Such a person could perhaps start developing apps that largely automate his old job.”

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Creating your own apps not only solves internal problems in business operations, but you can also streamline multiple processes. This saves time, costs and possibly the deployment of personnel that can be used elsewhere.

Obdam cites an example of a major energy drink brand that is a customer of Betty Blocks. At that international company they work with many license rights all over the world.“At the moment, the people in the legal department don’t have to worry about it anymore, because they have created an app internally that automatically monitors the use of trademark rights. It not only saves them a lot of hassle, but also time.”

Lack of time to implement innovations

But that time may not be there at first. If you as a company cannot expand the number of employees due to a lack of talent, that would mean that the current employees are up to their necks in work. So they don’t have time to learn how to work with a new system.

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“You know that comic about the guy who tries to push a wheelbarrow with a square wheel, right? He does so while someone who has a round wheel – the innovation – claims that it can be done easier. The man responds that he has no time, because he is too busy pushing the wheelbarrow. That’s still the case with many companies,” says Obdam.

“There’s a lot of talk about innovation and how important it is, but all those good ideas then gather dust on the shelf because there’s no time to implement them.”

So companies have to look at their problems differently. Time must be made available for innovation. Obdam: “Just look at a company like BAE Systems, a company with thousands of employees. Its motto is ‘everyone a little better every day’. We are actively working on innovation and time is set aside for it. As a result, it can continue to develop and people remain challenged in their functions.”

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Making better use of talent you already have

Ensuring challenging work is an important aspect of the War for Talent that is often missed. Gallup research shows that only 20 percent of the working population is satisfied with their work. That figure has only been falling since the outbreak of the corona pandemic. On the other hand, stress is becoming an increasing factor among employees.

So you might think that companies don’t necessarily have to look outside the door for new talent, if they may also have untapped talent in-house. They just need to get this out of the employees.

This can be done in many ways, but it also shows that optimizing the workflow and thus removing boring and monotonous administrative tasks is a step in the right direction. This, combined with a vision of innovation, can rekindle the spark within the employee.

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By moving employees, they can develop. “Take users of our platform as an example. They are given a new challenge in the beginning that can achieve a lot with them,” says Obdam.Also for his company. Especially when it comes to good software programmers. “It is a global problem. It seems good that you can get employees from all over the world, but it also means more competition from companies in Silicon Valley, for example, where wages are extremely high.”

The War for Talent will continue for a while, but Obdam’s vision indicates that certain companies may not have to get involved in that war, because the solution lies within their own walls.

ALSO READ: Alkmaar software company Betty Blocks raises €28 million in growth money – and sees strong growth in applications that companies can make themselves without programming knowledge.

Author: Jobly