Berwick Partners were delighted last week to gather an eclectic group of the region’s technology leadership community at the North’s original home of disruptive thinking, Manchester’s Free Trade Hall.
From what was a light hearted, yet spirited, dinner and debate to address the theme “How to Build a Compelling Technology Employer Brand in the North” five key themes emerged:
1. Do forge links with local Universities, but think differently about where your talent may reside. Digital skills are not solely found within Computer Science faculties. The Natural Sciences, Business and Languages had supplied some of the most exceptional individuals within the organisations polled. Also look for local talent pre-university. In light of the potential debt burden, many of the brightest intend not to go, make sure you have a mode of engagement to tap this market.
2. Talent entering the employment market now have very different expectations to the pre-tuition fee cohort. Your employment proposition needs to be absolutely presented as a whole, with clear progression steps set , including the commitment your firm is willing to make. Fail to do this and today’s savvy graduates will find a home elsewhere.
3. Gimmicks work up to a point. Back massages, ping-pong tables, plasma screens, beer fridges, unlimited holidays, free lunches, many and more had been used, and with some degree of success. These are useful tools to get people through the door, however they do not keep people. That needs to be done by consistent exposure to interesting, valued work with an open and transparent career path.
4. Traditional comms don’t work. Your advert in the local paper and careers roadshow are not the tools with which you engage a tech audience. Become social media, instant messaging, Google hangout proficient and seek your future talent there.
5. Build a culture of engineering excellence which absolutely focuses on, and recognises the value technology delivers for your business. Talent want to see the outputs of their efforts and its outcomes for the wider organisation recognised. If you are unable to deliver this environment at scale, could you think about an internal start up where you can rapidly foster this approach? Tech talent may not seek out the spotlight but they certainly want to have their names in the credits and attend the premier! No matter if large, small, mature or evolving, employer brand has a critical part to play in attracting talent. But bringing it in is one challenge, retaining it is another. Burgeoning technology talent has options. The age old ‘ War for Talent’ remains live and kicking for talented leaders as well as technology delivery specialists.
This event was run and managed by; Alex Richardson a Consultant in the IT Leadership Practice at Berwick Partners. He recruits technology leaders in the region, and Matt Cockbill who is the Partner responsible for the IT Leadership & Technology Practice nationally.