Three Ways You Can Protect Your Most Valuable Asset
Over the years, great technology companies have made their presence known though their many appearances on our 100 Best Companies to Work For list. And in this week's announcement of the thirty Best Workplaces in Technology, we have a chance to examine the cream of the crop in this industry even more closely. We can see that technology companies have come a long way toward figuring out the "secret sauce" of creating organizations that are both high performance and high trust—thereby enabling sustainably awesome results. And, they are winning the war for talent. All of that sounds great, right?
Well, on the surface that is absolutely true. Technology companies are seeing record profits, and in many ways are controlling the narrative of how business gets done globally. And for the most part, they are aware that the key to success is their people, and many are creating organizations and environments that align to that belief. Given their seemingly unimpeded climb to global dominance as an industry and their growing reputation as world-class employers, what could tech companies possibly have to worry about?
Tech Managers, Take Note: The Need for Top Tech Talent Spans Industries
The truth is, technology is vital to the success of almost every company in every industry. Whether it is healthcare, retail, or any other industry, the constant is they need technology employees...really badly. To this end, talent acquisition folks and technology/IT hiring managers from non-tech companies are coming for the employees that technology companies have worked hard to recruit and develop.
"All the websites you'll visit today, all the cash registers you'll interact with, all the apps you'll open require someone to write the code, test it, and continually make it better." – Scott Kirsner
According to a recent study, there were 667,200 tech occupational job openings in Q4 2014...and those were in tech and non-tech companies. If the gap between the vast number of technical job openings and the lack of college graduates with technical degrees to fill them persists, the only conclusion for companies who need tech talent is to go where the technology employees are: tech companies.
Based on our recent Best Workplaces in Technology list findings, we have identified some of the keys that the very best tech organizations utilize to develop a high -performance, high-trust organization. But what about the thousands of other tech companies who cannot boast such incredible workplace cultures? Truth be told, they should be worried. Regardless of if they are in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco or Austin, non-tech companies are aiming to snatch their most important resource, their people. So what can company do to limit the potential brain drain?
Protecting Your Most Valuable Asset: Your Talent
1. Have a clear path for advancement and growth in the organization.
"Tech employees don't want to sit around idly and certainly don't want to be working on the same stuff for eons," said the Director of Software Development at one of our on-line education clients.
It sounds simple and fairly obvious, and yet the number of companies that don't have career paths and opportunities for ongoing development is astonishing. Almost more than any other field, it is imperative that tech professionals can see where their careers might take them and how they are going to learn whatever the next great skill/language/etc. might be. Don't think you have the time to spend on career development conversations? Imagine how much time you won't have if your critical tech staff leaves.
2. Have a defined point of view on compensation.
Technology employees, generally, are higher-paid. But the answer to keeping them isn't just to raise salaries across the board. That is a zero sum game. There is always going to be someone that pays more.
The real magic is to have a clear definition of your compensation position:
- Where do you intend to fall in terms of pay for the industry? Top 10%, Top 50%, etc.? There is no right answer...the key is to have an answer that best fits your organization's culture and practices.
- What does compensation include?
- What opportunities might be afforded to employees in terms of advancement and working on new initiatives? For example, do you give the best projects to employees or contractors?
- What is the career cache that an employee can get by working for your brand? The days of a lifelong employee are pretty much gone. But, employees will work for companies that are known as innovators simply for the experience. Think about what someone would say about seeing your company on an employee's resume. Would they say "Wow you worked at _______" or "Who is that?"?
3. Have a purpose that is clear and desirable. Then do things to forward it.
Tech employees, like most employees, want to know that they are working towards something that makes a difference. Purpose is one of the areas that we find all companies on the Best Workplaces lists have. But it is not enough to have just a stated purpose. It must be something that is woven into deciding what projects are being funded, who is being hired and how people are promoted.
Operating this way will help to identify the kinds of people that are a great fit for the organization and can be a huge reason they will stay, even when offered more money to go somewhere else. According to a software development leader at one of our tech clients, "I could find a job anywhere. I stay because I believe in what we do."
Is your company a great place to work®? Apply to have your company certified today, and become eligible for our many Best Workplaces lists!