Winning the Tech Talent War in 2020

When it comes to talent, the tech industry is notoriously competitive. Here’s how you can attract and retain the best of the best.

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With all the options available to today’s highly-skilled talent, why should they choose your technology company? What makes you special? And how long will they stay? 

These are the questions that keep company leaders up at night. And they center around a strangely aggressive term—the “talent war.” Though you’re not lining up on a field with shields and swords, poised to yell Braveheart-style and charge toward your rival, it may feel like it sometimes. 

Tech companies are on the frontlines when it comes to competing for talent. Like many industries, there are a plethora of options for job seekers and many businesses are vying for the same talent. So how can tech companies—and more specifically, your company—stand out? 

Flexible Work Arrangements

According to research from LinkedIn, the technology industry has the highest rate of turnover among all industries. Demand is high and companies must pay competitively to lure the best employees into the fold—and technology jobs rank among the highest paid

The gig economy and distributed workforce are central to the talent war as well. Why go full-time if you can take on multiple part-time gigs and retain flexibility? Distributed workforces are common, so tech companies that offer that option may win out over ones with more traditional working arrangements. A change in mindset and the advance of video conference technologies are opening the door to a more flexible view of work. 

Employee Experience and Engagement

Turnover happens. But what if you could do more to attract the best employees and retain them once they’re on board? Office perks like free food and fancy workspaces aren’t enough anymore. Job seekers can just go to 10 other companies that have the same perks. What makes the difference when you dig a little deeper? The difference is in employee experience and engagement. Employees want to be listened to, participate, have influence, and find real transparency and authenticity in a company culture. 

Employee experience and engagement are two sides of the same invaluable coin, and can encompass a number of areas: the onboarding process, user-friendly training programs, a diverse and inclusive culture, and learning and mobility are some examples. And in the tech talent war, a top-notch employee experience is essential, and engagement is the magnet that keeps great employees around.

But it’s alarming how poorly many companies are prepared for this. In our recent global survey, “Organizational Agility at Scale: The Key to Driving Digital Growth,” only 25% of companies strongly agreed that they have specific initiatives to drive employee engagement. 

Does your onboarding experience live up to the cliché of “drinking from a fire hose,” or does it make sure your new hire’s first few weeks are valuable and engaging? Are your training programs soul-killing hours of generic videos, or are they tailored to each person’s role to help inspire them for their new place in your company? And the training experience can’t be forgotten, so training should be user-friendly and accessible on whatever device your employees prefer. 

The number one reason people leave their jobs is the inability to learn and grow.

Growth and Opportunity

And once employees are onboard and up to speed, how do you keep them engaged? What’s your plan for continuous learning and career mobility? The era of spending 20 years in the same position is as good as over. It can be far too easy to forget how important it is to stay engaged with your employees after they’ve hit the ground running, and the danger of neglecting this is real. Research cited in a recent Workday blog found that the number one reason people leave their jobs is the “inability to learn and grow.” 

That’s where personalized learning experiences and an internal talent marketplace come into play. Building an understanding of each employee’s skills and career interests may open doors they might not have imagined, and keep them on board when they might have otherwise jumped ship. A talent marketplace matches skills and interests to new opportunities using machine learning and helps employees find new career paths. 

Sometimes companies focus so much on a user-friendly experience for their customers that they forget their employees want the same thing—especially in technology, where many spend their days making tech products that improve their customers’ lives. A poor employee experience at a tech company is the ultimate “cobbler’s children have no shoes” situation. 

How easy is it for your employees to find the information they’re looking for, and do they even know where to start looking? And how much time will they spend on that search, growing more and more frustrated, spending time that could have been productive otherwise? These are the questions CHROs ask themselves, and many turn to technology solutions to answer them. And when they can, they reap the benefits in happier and more engaged employees.   

Focus on employee experience and engagement, and witness first-hand the strides you’ll make toward attracting and retaining the best of the best.

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