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IT talent is running at a premium. Without it, systems fall, business continuity is threatened, and those plans to go digital–to become data-driven– will inevitably get shelved or derailed. The IT skills shortage is causing businesses to put more energy into attracting and retaining top talent in the discipline. But what can your recruitment do that it’s not already doing? Read our latest article to get some tips!  

Why should businesses put extra effort into hiring ‘top’ talent?

A recent McKinsey study found that higher performers are 400% more productive than average ones, which heightens the importance of attracting and keeping high-quality talent. This percentage is even higher in highly complex occupations with the workers being 800% more productive than the average worker.  So, it’s not enough to hire IT people; your business needs to access the top quartile of superstars if it wants to scale above its competitive rivals.  That means you’re going to be competing for these special people against the biggest brands in the world of business.  To do that, you’ll have to draw on every advantage your organization can offer.

Be the kind of business people want to work for and boost your ‘culture draw’

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones published an article titled ‘What Holds the Modern Company Together?’ back in 1996, which remains relevant to today’s discussion on culture in the workplace. In this document, Goffee and Jones say that “Culture, in a word, is community”. They go on to explain that, to achieve this sense of community, there needs to be a shared interest; an understanding of what the business stands for and wants to see in its employees.

As a sociologist, there is a distinction that fascinates me around the varying cultures in businesses. That is the divide of the community into two distinct human relation dimensions as described by Goffee and Jones – sociability and solidarity.

Sociability is a measure of sincere friendliness among workers in a business or organization, whereas solidarity is a measure of a worker’s ability to pursue shared objectives quickly and effectively, despite personal ties. These are measured as high and low, for example, you can have high sociability but low solidarity and vice versa.

For example, the university culture could be identified as high sociability and high solidarity. If those who have enrolled at university are now used to the culture of high sociability and solidarity.  For individuals accustomed to the university lifestyle, a continuation of this cultural experience is likely to appeal.

It makes sense in a new hybrid workforce era—where workers expect to spend a portion of their working week away from the office—that the cultural fit of the organization mirrors the campus culture of universities to appeal to the ‘grad cohort’ of potential workers. That’s because university students won’t be alien to working away from the university—because every student knows that contact hours make up a remarkably low portion of life at university.

Of course, not everyone has been to university, and campus culture isn’t for everyone.  Therefore, in the interview process, it’s wise to get a better understanding of where an individual falls on the ‘sociability and solidarity’ scale, to qualify if they are the best talent to fit your business culture.

Establishing a clear company culture formed around campus culture, will not only help you to attract the right hires but also improve your retention stats.


               NOTE: one way to improve your culture draw is to expose your company values and what the business is doing to achieve triple bottom line outcomes that balance wealth creation with a commitment to serve the community and help towards saving the planet with corporate social responsibility commitments (expand)


Sell your trust quotient

The world is ever-changing and surprises us daily. This is apparent in the US job market.  When Covid-19 was sprung upon us, the world of work instantly had to adapt to remote working. As the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, trust has become incredibly important in attracting and retaining IT top talent.

Since working from home has become more popular, IT workers are less inclined to suffer a work commute to an office every day. More to the point, they don’t have to. Firms battling for top IT talent are more than happy to allow workers greater flexibility in where and how they work, provided that they fill vacancies.  In consequence, your business is likely to have to deal with managing a workforce that’s often remote.  There are only two ways to manage this dynamic; by improving enforcement and remote measurement, or trusting your team to do a good job for you.

A mutual trust relationship between the employer and employee is something that more workers are looking for from their employers.  They don’t want their screens monitored, or the frequency of every mouse click to be audited.  The key ingredient here is trust made possible by installing the right balance of incentives, motivations, values, and management ethos.  Boosting your trust quotient will make the employee less inclined to leave, because they feel valued.

Do you feel more inclined to share your opinions if you trust and feel comfortable with your colleagues and supervisors? This is often the case. If a worker trusts their supervisors, then they will be more open to expressing their opinions on the working environment. Additionally, the business can ask the worker questions to provide insight on their business. These can include: What areas of the business could we improve on? Are there any projects you would like to take part in? Are you happy in the business? How can we make our talent happier? The inside knowledge will be extremely beneficial to the business as if there is a reason for employees leaving then that problem can be identified and solved.

Therefore, establishing trust with workers organizations will see more employee loyalty and higher retention rates. It’s highly beneficial for both the worker and the organization.

Leverage social media to leverage positive workforce stories and hire talent directly

Companies often use social media to promote their business to potential customers, but very few use it well to promote to future talent. Direct Sourcing is when organizations invite candidates to apply directly for open vacancies, which cut’s their spending by up to 8% per annum. Simplify Workforce is one organization that’s working to supply the technology to help organizations leverage their social media presence for recruitment, by supplying a ready-to-use direct sourcing platform.

In addition to investing in a Direct Sourcing platform, there are other things you can do to make your business more compelling to work for on social media.

Firstly, you will need to have more enthusiastic job descriptions. It shouldn’t be just about explaining a job role.  Instead, look to highlight how hired applicants will learn, grow, and make a difference in the company.

Secondly, you can add case stories on some of your employees to show their career transformation, and how the company has allowed them to grow. You can share how the training provided has allowed hires to learn and develop new skills, and also progress into leadership roles. Workers can be your biggest resource; they can present the company culture and make the workplace seem more relatable for applicants.

Finally, it’s important to project that you are a company that gives a damn about the individuals you hire, their wellbeing and that you are prepared to invest in their learning and development. You need to explain what you are doing—what you’re providing–to help them grow.

Used well, your social media channel can be your most effective recruiting vehicle, and it allows your organization to promote itself as a company that people want to work for, evidenced through the experiences of your existing employees and hires.

Be clear on career progression benefits

The importance of this is supported by a statistic that states that 45% of employees left companies as a result of concerns over a lack of advancement opportunities. Trust often equals loyalty, so businesses need to instill this trust early on.

Being clear on the career progression opportunities in the organization could encourage the talent to apply, it could also motivate the employees if they understand that there is a clear opportunity for advancement. A worker who knows that their work could help them to progress in their career is more likely to give it their all, in comparison to someone who believes they are not being noticed or won’t gain any progression from their hard work. This is why it is important to be clear on what the worker will gain from their employment in the organization.

Final thoughts 

No longer is attracting and retaining top IT talent about projecting a happy image of being a good organization to work for, or talking the talk. Your workforce today, expects more—demands more.

To attract top IT talent, organizations have to invest in those differentiators that bring value beyond the norm.  Success comes from thinking about the quality of your ‘total package’—which nowadays extends beyond role activities and associated rewards. This article has highlighted the importance of not only understanding your business but your workers and the working environment.

Make the important interpersonal choices for your business such as what culture you want in your workplace, and then project it through social media. Making your existing employees and workers happy should be the first step.