Competitive Tech Companies Lead with Culture to Land Top Talent

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As the technology industry continues to drive the economic recovery, in part due to the pandemic-fueled digital expansion, small and medium-sized data companies are challenged to compete with Big Tech for top talent. Some business leaders may have the back-end figured out when it comes to operations, but hiring in a competitive job market remains challenging. When companies concentrate on setting a foundation for organizational culture and focus on what motivates employees, even the smallest businesses can compete against powerhouses to land high-caliber talent.

Culture drives performance and it is not something that happens by accident or instantaneously. Company leadership can create culture by design through a combination of intentional everyday actions and more forward-looking strategies, such as partnering new hires with culture ambassadors. The everyday actions, like beginning or ending meetings by acknowledging the company mission can be beneficial in reinforcing company culture among employees and instill the processes and values that can bring clarity during transitional moments. Employers should take a proactive approach to cultivating company culture as a means of boosting recruiting and retention efforts and staying competitive in the data industry. 

Cultivate culture before day one

The on-boarding experience starts in the pre-employment period. Hiring managers can shape a company’s unique culture by over-communicating and being quick to respond to candidates. Once an offer has been made and a new employee joins the team, personalized video welcome messages can demonstrate the level of care that grows company culture. Details like branded video call backgrounds also can contribute to first impressions.

In 2018, Gallup found that people born between 1980 and 2001 prioritize a company’s care for employee well-being when job hunting. As companies look to lead with culture and values, the HR team has the opportunity to set the right tone during the interview process. To recruit more effectively and communicate culture from the outset, hiring managers should incorporate company values into job descriptions to better identify like-minded candidates whose values are in alignment with those of the organization.

When employees connect with company values on a personal level, they can be highly influential in fostering a positive workplace. A company’s culture ambassadors, whether new employees or more tenured team members, are essential to developing an engaged, happy and productive workplace dynamic. Furthermore, top talent may be more likely to accept an offer and stay on board longer when provided opportunities for advancement and surrounded by a supportive workplace atmosphere.

Consider unconventional benefits

Small and midsized companies may have a significant advantage over larger counterparts when it comes to competing for top talent because their size permits them to be more agile. Leadership may be able to quickly identify and roll out new benefits. Competitive benefits packages may include offerings such as employee assistance programs, telemedicine and tuition reimbursement. Employers may want to explore expanding benefits to include unconventional offerings such as pet insurance and subscriptions to well-being apps. Well-being benefits also may help amplify the underlying message of employee care that tends to be a core element in cultivating company culture.

Small businesses can also provide more access to senior leadership and clearer paths to career advancement – both unconventional benefits that recruiters may highlight during conversations with job candidates. Accessibility to senior leadership is emerging as a common challenge faced by employees at larger corporations. The small group dynamics of some companies are ideal for leadership to establish a rapport with all team members. The existence of these unique benefits should not go unspoken when competing for talent who may be looking to accept the right role.

Add transferable skills

Like most aspects of doing business, talent acquisition has evolved throughout the pandemic – and the data industry is no exception. As business leaders look for their next rock-star programmer or salesperson, they should consider candidates who may have the transferable skills needed to cross over from other industries. Even hiring managers at large corporations have had to get creative when it comes to re-skilling new hires with little experience specific to the tech industry. Adding diverse industry experience to data-centric teams can increase organizational resiliency, spur innovation and bring outside-the-box perspectives to roles in this highly competitive industry.

Competing for high-caliber talent is one of the biggest challenges faced by tech companies of all sizes. With a strategy to prioritize company culture and cultivate a meaningful and positive employee experience, small and midsized data companies can get a head start when it comes to competing with their Big Tech counterparts.

About the Author

Danielle Jones is a director of service operations with Insperity, a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions.

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