7 Innovative Ways to Find (and Keep) the Best Tech Employees

by Tori Johnson on May 17, 2011

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After many lattes over the foosball table of letting the best of the best staff roll in to the nation’s IT firms, something very scary started to happen for these businesses in the latter half of the last decade:

The best employees stopped naturally gravitating to Internet-based start-ups and started to return to traditional brick-and-mortar tech companies – some of which were also tech-based, though web and IT-based businesses both began to suffer from a newfound dip in ability to attract the very best employees.

How to Attract the Best Employees

How to Attract the Best Employees

Wrestling back your most valuable asset
What’s more, even though many of the top employees wanted to return to the security of traditional companies, traditional employee attraction and retention techniques often did (and still do) little to actually attract and retain top folk at now-struggling web and IT-based firms.

With that in mind, we present the following no-nonsense-yet-innovative techniques for snagging a truly dynamic roster of top tech staff:

Build and offer a solid and exciting mentoring program
Often thought of as a frill companies never seem to have time to implement, done properly, a solid mentoring program is one of the best investments you can make in attracting the most dynamic, innovative staff available. Scroll down to the list in this article for some step-by-step tips for developing a sustainable mentoring program:
http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/mentorattract.htm

Outsource recruitment
This tip is given with the caveat that whoever you tap to do this must be AMAZING (and have measurable results and testimonials from past and current clients to back up their claims.) Imaginative, unique recruiting is one of the easiest ways to uncover the best talent. It’s also one of the toughest things to get right. While hiring a company that specializes in such techniques may be a godsend, be sure you have a clear vision of your needs that you can clearly articulate to your recruiting team. (In case this is of especial interest to you now, you can check out more on the recruiting services Modis offers at: http://www.modis.com/employers/)

Make work a game
Fastcompany.com recently ran an absolutely fascinating post on how to use the positives of gaming culture to work with (not against) IT staffs that often include a disproportionately high number of gamers (as opposed to – say – a legal or business staff team). The post argues that IT management teams that make time for gaming and turn work into a game will reap more rewards than they can possibly imagine. Check out the original post here:
http://www.fastcompany.com/1674749/want-to-attract-the-best-employees-make-work-addictive

Win your existing employees’ trust
“The most powerful strategy for long-term success is to create a corporate brand that tells your top talent that their best career choice continues to be an ongoing investment of their innovation, dedication, creativity, and enthusiastic contributions to your enterprise,” says David Russo, author of 17 Rules Successful Companies Use to Attract and Keep Top Talent: Why Engaged Employees are Your Greatest Sustainable Advantage. By creating a corporate culture where your top people resources feel they are safe to stay, you will also start to gain (or gain back) a reputation as such a place that prospective top talent will have heard about. (Even if they haven’t heard, you can brag about it in interviews and recruiting with metrics and testimonials to back it all up.)

Become worthy to receive feedback
Many IT companies solicit feedback from employees on everything from job satisfaction to work environment to career goals. What some of those companies don’t take into account is whether they have created a corporate climate where people feel comfortable providing honest feedback in the first place. If you have to ask yourself whether this is the case, it’s probably time to implement some of the ideas above. Then you can get a better sense of whether you have earned the credibility to receive useful feedback from existing staff and attract quality new blood.

Realize the changing priorities of job-seekers
While money is important, salary consistently ranks at #3 or 4 on many surveys of most important factors for IT staff in finding the right employer. Employers that realize that work-life balance, opportunity for advancement, and the chance to do interesting and challenging work are just as much or more of a carrot as salary will be well-set-up to land higher quality and quantity of potential staff.

More resources to help find and keep the best employees:

Proactive and reactive ideas
http://www.sideroad.com/Human_Resources/employee-retention-strategy.html

A neat study on employee retention
http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Attract-and-Retain-the-Best-Employees&id=2904239

More on finding and retaining the best employees
http://www.execsearches.com/non-profit-jobs/recruiter_Articles/attractingtoptalent.asp

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