As outsourced HR for hundreds of businesses, myHR Partner has a birds-eye view across a sizeable cross-section of enterprises. Our observations impact the guidance we offer clients every day.
Take hiring. Our team started noticing widespread hiring challenges about 10+ years ago, long before “the Great Resignation” had entered America’s vernacular. Hiring hurdles plagued pursuits of technical talent in particular – a subset of the workforce where talent shortages (and subsequent hiring competition) abound.1
With no end in sight, we encouraged our clients to drill down on practices shown to successfully attract and keep tech talent. These practices included the obvious: Creating enticing job ads and offering competitive salaries, for example. But chief among our recommendations was one that businesses tend to shrug off, despite its saliency:
Do what it takes to make your company a top place to work.
What constitutes a “top place to work”?
To be clear: When we talk about top places to work, we’re not talking about contests (though those never hurt. myHR Partner was recently named the 5th best of places to work in all of Pennsylvania). We’re referring, rather, to larger ongoing, critical efforts to cultivate the characteristics that serious tech candidates say they want in a workplace:
Learning and growth opportunities.
Rewards and recognition.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (collectively, DEI).
Modern tools and methodologies.
Acknowledgement of their lives outside of work.2
Here are a few ways to infuse your workplace with these qualities that appeal to tech talent:
Carefully consider each bell and whistle
In the late aughts, Silicon Valley normalized fun office frills (think kegerators, ping-pong tables, and free dinners after 7pm). Corporate America hopped on the bandwagon just as employees began smelling a rat: These incentives, they realized, weren’t so much sincere efforts at joviality as cheap attempts to offset chronic, more serious matters like burnout.3
Our point: While workplaces should absolutely roll out some perks, budgets earmarked for “fun” are sometimes better invested in initiatives of importance to tech talent. Might the budget for weekly bagels, for example, be better spent on DE&I efforts and outreach? Employees would likely opt for a flexible remote workday over a workplace activity each Friday. Start thinking along these lines.
Reconsider top-down thinking
Today’s talent-hungry companies are wise to introduce some degree of democratization – which doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds! Instead of mandates from leadership, gather input from employees for improving everything from processes to services to benefits. Conduct anonymous employee surveys to gauge satisfaction across topics, then address issues that come up frequently in responses. myHR Partner has seen this operational and cultural shift pay off in spades for corporations eager to become more attractive to recruits.
Model authentic care
We recently heard about a workplace that refused to let employees leave early after news of a coworkers’ unexpected death. This misstep is worthy of an entire article, but the detail we’re highlighting is the message the decision sent to employees: That is, that one day’s profit was more valuable than the wellbeing of the team (perhaps unsurprisingly, said company went under only a few years later).
Though admittedly a dramatic example, we hope the intended message is clear: Even in professional settings, be human wherever you can. Acknowledge loss or strife. Show gratitude. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but always pays off in the long run.
Manage company reputation where you can
Notice we didn’t say manipulate your reputation. Rather, encourage (but don’t demand) honest opinions on Glassdoor and other forums that let former and existing employees rate their workplaces. Take their comments seriously and make adjustments accordingly. This habit of listening and responding – often more than the resulting actions, even – shows candidates that they want to work with you.
Give employees the tools they need to be successful
Your employees want to remain competitive. For this and countless more reasons, put away the duct tape and invest in the forward-facing tools, technologies, and training that allow them to be productive, efficient, and top in their field. Believe us when we say: Skimping on hardware and education is never a good business move! Stay attuned to larger industry trends, then work to stay abreast of them – yes, even if it requires sizeable upfront costs.
Have questions about practices related to hiring? Join the hundreds of businesses and organizations that lean on myHR Partner. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.