How to attract and keep top tech talent

Competition and demand for tech talent remains high despite recent turbulence in the sector, writes Niamh Cray from Auxilion.

The past few months in the technology sector have been some of the most turbulent in recent memory.

As the dust continues to settle following the pandemic, we can view the global tech landscape much more clearly. It has become apparent that some tech companies overestimated how sustainable the growth caused by Covid-19 was, and subsequently over-hired to meet that forecast.

“What is clear to everyone now is that having an attractive company culture is crucial for any company looking to add to its team or to retain the talent it already has”

As a result, we have seen restructuring across the industry as companies look to right size their operations.

One outcome of this is that, as more people enter the talent pool, there is an opportunity to hire some extremely capable IT professionals. As companies look to draw in this talent, a strong pitch and Employee Value Proposition to attract and retain people will be a key component in companies capitalising on this moment.

Establish a defined talent strategy

Success will come down to being a responsible, fair employer. After all, competition and demand are high. Establishing a defined talent strategy, having a positive reputation in the market, and offering tangible strategies when it comes to people can contribute significantly to an organisation’s success in attracting talent.

The most significant element that is often overlooked when people are discussing hiring and retention is the articulation and presentation of company culture.

According to data gathered by BairesDev, work-life balance, flexibility, the type of projects employees are working on, and their team members were all far greater drivers of employee satisfaction than money. Some 80 percent of respondents said they would gladly change jobs if a more challenging and interesting role came along, regardless of pay.

How to stand out

To stand out in a crowded field, here are some areas that companies, in tech and otherwise, can focus on which will help to develop an exciting and appealing culture for both prospective and current staff:

  • Encourage innovation – A positive company culture actively encourages employees to drive innovation within the company and celebrates the success of these innovations when they come to fruition. These innovations could lead to new, more sustainable processes, increased growth and productivity, and even new areas of business. Discuss each employee’s ability to make an impact and foster different ways of thinking. Adopting new initiatives or approaches not only benefits customers, it shows a desire to be at the forefront of the industry.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence – From collaboration tools and cloud infrastructure to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, leveraging effective technologies and optimising processes enables people to continually achieve their potential. It’s a case of using the best solutions to empower the best people. Furthermore, hiring top talent demonstrates a commitment to existing employees and shows that the company is eager to grow.
  • Prove you’re about more than just the bottom line – While salary remains a factor, what you do for your employees and the community around you has become even more significant. That could mean supporting causes which are endorsed by your employees, being proactive when it comes to inclusion and diversity, or operating your business as sustainably as possible. Being able to credibly demonstrate that your business is an active citizen in its community could be a crucial point of differentiation when it comes to talent.
  • Be transparent – During the interview process, consider letting candidates meet the current team members that they are going to be working with. Showing that level of openness and allowing people to spend time with their prospective teammates and counterparts can be very powerful. As well as granting people an honest view of what it’s like to work for your company and giving them an insight that they wouldn’t otherwise have, it shows that you have a close-knit team and a transparent culture.

Once you have completed these hires, and your company is going from strength to strength, the aim then shifts to maintaining a high standard so that employees remain motivated and want to stay.

While all the steps around creating a positive culture remain relevant, there a number of factors which only apply once the person has been onboarded. For example, giving regular, constructive and concise feedback on an individual’s work will make them feel valued within the company. It will make it clear to them that their personal success is important and is directly linked to the overall success of the company.

Tie this in with a well-structured career map, with tangible targets and progression, and your employees will remain engaged and motivated. Don’t be afraid to make the feedback process a two-way street and listen to their opinions as well. If they feel that their ideas are considered in how the business operates, they will become invested. This also feeds into the all-important work-life balance, where staff are provided with the flexibility to achieve both professional and personal goals.

Not many foresaw the upheaval in the industry that we are currently witnessing. What is clear to everyone now is that having an attractive company culture is crucial for any company looking to add to its team or to retain the talent it already has. In turn, this also benefits the organisation as it grows and develops, helping to drive innovation and success both for itself and for its customers.

Niamh Cray
Niamh Cray is Head of People & Talent with the leading Irish IT services company Auxilion. Niamh leads the company’s people strategy which includes responsibilities for talent acquisition and retention, learning and development, internal communications, and employer brand.