Having bounced back so convincingly across Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 especially, the tech sector is back to being as competitive as ever where top tier talent is concerned. In such an evolved landscape with countless changes and new considerations at play in answer to the unprecedented year that we’ve all just experienced, businesses have to be smarter than ever to attract the type of talent that can really propel their work forward.
Speaking to both clients and candidates as regularly as I do, it’s clear that within the past 12 months flexibility has become a key consideration for new hires – joining the likes of salary and seniority as a factor from which their decisions are based on.
But how do businesses introduce further flexibility without compromising on results or culture? And why has working for a more progressive business become such a selling point for tech talent?
Through discussions, it’s become clear that the companies who have listened to their employees the most and worked with them to find the best working arrangements are not only retaining their most talented employees, but attracting the highest quality of new arrivals. By surveying their workforce and asking what their thoughts are about returning to the office or working from home, businesses can gauge what the consensus is and can act accordingly. Whilst it may be impossible to accommodate every wish, this does give some focus to policy and decision making, which is the underlying positive and the step employees want to see taken the most.
It’s not hard to understand – and perhaps agree with – where the majority of the industry are now coming from. While this period of remote working has been entirely enforced, it hasn’t been without its positives; the growth in appreciation for having a greater work/life balance is a perk that is fast becoming non-negotiable, and with results and productivity clearly maintained (if not improved) any archaic reasons for being against a WFH model have been entirely disproven.
Before considering the lifestyle benefits of remote working, it’s also worth remembering that for public health reasons, many staff will have anxiety about returning to crowded buildings and offices, especially if they’ve spent the majority of the past year shielding at home. It’s important that we don’t underestimate just how much of a concern that has become, and only those staff members confident enough to return when allowed are asked to straight away.
Many other factors are also at play. With the freedom to work around exercise, varied eating habits and childcare, with time available both before and after work for further activity with the burden of commuting removed, there is ownership and enjoyment of time that hasn’t been available previously – and that will be hard to give up, especially if there has been no tangible impact on performance or results. There is a real possibility of thinking that, with a much happier workforce, this is a balance and practice that should be encouraged, rather than taken away.
Additionally, being more accommodating as a business greatly widens the talent pool from which you can hire. Diverse candidates, working parents, people with health conditions and skilled individuals from further afield are now more than capable of coming on board and contributing, which might not have been part of a business’s considerations or thinking a year ago.
There are big calls for hiring managers to make in the months to come. We are already noticing that companies who remain undecided about their post-pandemic working practices and policies are missing out on desirable candidates who would like assurances that their quality of life and the newfound balance of remote working won’t suddenly be taken off the table. Inflexibility is perhaps the worst label a business can be lumbered with right now, as it will not only deter potential hires, but encourage existing employees to look elsewhere.
I’m working with clients to ensure they’re operating in the most inclusive, progressive manner possible, so that they’re not only able to hire the top tier talent they desire, but retain the people and skills that make up the backbone of their business. If this is something you want to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
UK Practice Lead, Amsource
0113 468 6705