The Impossible Challenge: Finding, Growing and Retaining Tech Talent

Last week we celebrated Bristol Tech Fest. An amazing display of the tech community coming together to share knowledge and showcase Bristol’s buzzing tech scene.

Our Director, Alan Furley, spoke on a panel alongside Glyn Blaize from Amdaris and Clare Elford from Clue Computing at the Amdaris event. It was a valuable afternoon with great discussions surrounding attracting and hiring talent.

If you are a founder looking to scale in a post-covid market, then you will know the struggle hiring can present. We recognise that we can give valuable advice and share best practice from our community, which is why we love supporting events like this.

These are the key takeaways from the panel; a look at what is most valuable to potential employees and how to grow and retain your talent.

Flexibility, Impact and Employer Branding.

In a post-pandemic job hunt, candidates are looking for a new kind of role. The days of the rigid 9-5 in the same job for 50 years, are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The most important factor in today’s job search is the working arrangement.

When it comes down to it, offering flexible working is you acknowledging that a one-size-fits-all approach to working arrangement isn’t the way to get the most out of your team.

What works for your Head of Design might not work for your Java Developer. Understanding your candidates and knowing what to offer is key when it comes to finding and attracting talent.

Nothing needs to be set in stone but trialing flexible working and finding the right balance for your business will be beneficial as you scaleup.

Be consistent with your principles to work but be realistic that policies may change as we all find our feet to a new way of working.

Impact

Now, more than ever, the purpose of a business matters to people. Businesses developing tech geared for good i.e., sustainability, are attracting, and retaining more talent. People want to feel that their work has a positive impact on the world.

Being able to clearly articulate to potential employees why your business is needed and what you hope to achieve is crucial in finding the right talent.

You need to grow a diverse team of people who share the same values and whose goals align with your company. This will enable you to tackle problems from a variety of viewpoints, increasing your efficiency when it comes to problem solving.

Understanding the importance of a diverse team is one thing, actively ensuring that you tailor your job ads, continually check for bias, and conduct your interviews to attract and enable diversity is another.

It doesn’t matter how much you preach positive change if your values aren’t reflected within your own team. Keeping your company mission at the heart of your hiring process is crucial to ensure that your potential employees share this passion for direction

Employer Branding

Before you meet your potential employees, reputation is all you have, this is largely judged digitally. Scaling up your team is not just a recruitment job but needs to be a marketing job.

Whether you hire the candidate or not, you are selling your company. The impression they get will dictate your success. You can have the best company mission in the world, but if no one wants to work with you then your business will fail.

Today, two-thirds of our marketing happens without us. Your best advertisement is how others talk about you when you’re not there, a recommendation from a friend or colleague or a positive review in the comments section of another employers LinkedIn.

Building this brand takes time but having a good reputation as an employer will attract more talent and lead to the successful growth of your business.

If you want any further advice on how to build and maintain good employer branding, then check out our blog here.

Growing and Retaining Talent

As an increasing number of companies look to scaleup, the available talent in the marketplace has sharply declined.

Branded the ‘war for talent’ by some, this competitive market has led to more and more startups prioritising learning and development.

There has been a shift in entry level talent, with a reluctance from founders to hire junior staff perhaps because it’s challenging to get this right in a virtual world. But hiring only mid-senior level roles will lead to a lack of diversity and a significantly narrowed talent pool.

By prioritising learning and development, startups are investing in their talent and creating more skills in the marketplace. Providing a clear career map with personal development opportunities is not only a great way to attract potential talent, but to grow and retain your current talent.

Finally, think about collaboration and communication. Separately, both are integral to the growth of your business, but perhaps they are often mistaken to be the same thing.

With the widespread introduction of remote working, and the increasing levels of flexible roles, clear communication is key to keeping your team connected. Likewise, the way we collaborate with our colleagues has changed, with asynchronous communication becoming key. But it’s not all about shared docs and Slack. We still value conversations, whether that’s virtual or in-person. Finding the right balance for your team will help you grow.

Finding, growing, and retaining the right talent really can feel like an impossible challenge; but it doesn’t have to. If you keep your company mission at the heart of your hiring process and invest in your team, then you are one step closer to emerging victorious in the war for talent.

For those who are interested, the full recording of the event will be made available soon.

If you want any further advice on growing your team then check out our Talent Guide for Founders. Alternatively get in touch with our Director, Alan Furley, who has valuable expertise helping founders grow and retain their startup talent.

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