3 Must-Have Essentials in the War for Top Talent

Are you struggling in the war for tech talent?

According to the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO survey 2019, technology skills shortages are at an all-time high with 67% of companies struggling to attract and find the right talent. Great talent is scarce, even more so when competing with companies such as Apple of Apple, Facebook and Google or any other top-tier tech company in your neighbourhood.

A McKinsey Global Institute study suggests that employers in Europe and North America will require 16 million to 18 million more college-educated workers in 2020 than are going to be available. Companies may not be able to fill one in ten roles they need, much less fill them with top talent.

It is much more cost-effective to retain employees due to the high cost of knowledge lost, money and time (HR, Management and Sourcing team time) spent to replace them. Thankfully, my experience with OpsTalent allowed me to gain insight into the key areas you should focus on to attract and retain talent, these being Culture, People and Wellbeing.

1. Culture

Company culture is the “soul” of your organisation, the glue which binds the people together. It encompasses and intertwines the very fabric of your organisation; the values on which it was founded upon and to which you adhere to.

Culture affects the way you communicate with co-workers and clients alike, how tasks get done, and how you conduct your business endeavours. It’s what defines your entire company and is its most precious asset. It’s almost intangible at first but once it sets in the effects it has on your enterprise will be vivid. Visitors to your office should feel the culture and energy as they interact with the people in your organisation.

Culture should be your company’s competitive advantage. Hence why culture should be unique to your company. Do not try to be Google or Salesforce, you must create your own unique culture. Without a positive company culture, many employees will struggle to find the real value in their work, and this leads to a variety of negative consequences for your bottom line.

Therefore, it’s essential to align your recruitment as well as retention processes with this mindset and cultivate them; engage current employees and hire those who will enhance the new culture.

There’s a lot of misunderstanding floating around about what cultural fit means. Most importantly, hiring for cultural fit is not about hiring an army of clone-like drones, all of whom will march to the same drumbeat as it only leads to stagnation. Rather, hiring for cultural fit is about bringing in people, whose ideas and outlook not only align with your culture but also possesses qualities, which supplement it, thus enhancing it further.

Ask yourself, do you have a strong culture? Are you living your company values every day from top management down? Do your employee’s feel there is a positive culture? Do you continue to build and enhance your culture?

You need to act if you are answering no to any of those questions. There are lots of great sources on the internet to help address this but here are some examples we use at OpsTalent to create a positive culture:

  • Community – supporting local charities such as “Make a Wish” and host events and meet-ups to support the tech community.
  • Employee wellness – healthy employee means happy positive employees. Examples include gym membership, healthcare, healthy free food every day & yoga classes.
  • Engagement – encourage honest feedback and address it. Take people’s ideas and try them out.
  • Quality time – encourage social interaction via fun events such as excursions and parties. This gives people at all level’s quality time together.
  • Recognition – could be via email or public award ceremonies, which set the example for others to strive for.

2. People

“I’ve always believed that by taking care of people in my companies, the rest will take care of itself,” explains Richard Branson. The Virgin group is a great example of how to look after your people. You need to become a people-focused employer. When you look after your employees, they’ll care for one another, your customers and the community. Go beyond great perks. Create a workplace that thrives on trust and respect for all individuals and protect that culture every day.

Your people will talk, and word will get out. They’ll refer like-minded, talented people who believe in your culture and your mission. When hiring, focus on people, not qualifications; Even the most qualified person for the job, if they’re not a cultural fit, can lead to a bad hire and destroy your company culture.

Finding great developers, project managers and other technical roles is a big challenge and keeping these top performers is even more difficult.

People want to work in an environment where they have a voice, not a company which treats motivated, result-driven people the same as the people who do the bare minimum. You must value people’s hard work and opinions and make them feel they are driving their direction and not just following orders. Great people are in hot demand and can easily leave if they are not happy.

Some examples in my experience to value people:

  • Calibrate & Involve – great people want to contribute and be part of something special. When we built our new office, we crowdsourced the design with the employees in the company. The excitement was amazing when people saw their idea’s come to life 😊. They felt so appreciated and valued.
  • Communication – keep people up to date on company news, mission, results, strategy and vision. Great people value been kept informed and up to date on company news.
  • Opportunity – give people opportunities to develop. This could be additional training or promotion to a new role. We have had outstanding people develop from customer service and tech support into HR and IT roles.
  • Positive mindset – turn failure into a positive by fostering a culture of ‘Don’t be afraid to fail’. When people are confident to try new ideas and know they won’t be punished, you will be amazed by how your company can transform in terms of customer offering & innovation.
  • Respect – treat people well, listen to their feedback and take action.
  • Trust – Lead and do not micromanage. Give people direction but give them the autonomy to make their own decisions.

3. Wellbeing

Focusing on wellbeing of your employees is a wonderful way to make people feel valued. It builds goodwill inside and outside your organisation. Employers play a huge part in their employees’ overall health and wellbeing; and ultimately, they’ll feel the impact if something is wrong or goes wrong.

If you want to focus their energy on contributing to the companies’ culture, reputation and bottom line, then physical, financial and emotional health must be addressed:

  • Financial – employees must feel good about their financial situation and have the control to make it better. Hence there must be a clear career path to develop into bigger and better roles.
  • Flexibility – You could allow your people to run minor, personal errands during work hours, work from home or have an easy and casual dress code. Move away from the traditional office environment; let people move and work around the office.
  • Education – Linkedin says 23% of people leave their jobs due to lack of development and training opportunities. Tailoring learning initiatives to career exploration and growth can make employees feel personally valued, increasing their loyalty if other firms come calling.
  • Location – central location of the office, needs to be easy to access, close to facilities and parks etc.
  • Health and wellness amenities – open space and comfy places to unwind, healthy food & health insurance perks.
  • Time management – there are moments when you must work overtime but do not make it a standard. Your people can suffer from burnout. Trust your people to manage this themselves and they will go above and beyond.

According to McKenzie’s book “Leading Organizations”, superior talent is up to 8 times more productive than average workers. Act today on culture, people and wellness so you can attract and retain incredible talent

To further boost company morale why not apply for awards, which recognise excellence in culture, people and wellbeing. Finally, get the word out there, get your people moving on social media. Let them be themselves and build content around this. Host events, publish articles and let everyone know what an exceptional place your company is to work in.