How To Hire And Retain Tech Talent
Tech companies are more than revenue creating apps, and they are becoming social figures that mean more than a steady paycheck to employees. Employees are leaving jobs for unethical products, algorithms, or leadership. The adage "Don't bite the hand that feeds you" is outdated as vice presidents and other high ranking employees leave or speak out against their employers.
This seems to be relevant in the tech workspace; tech companies are expanding beyond software and hardware. Is there anything Amazon doesn't do? It can't do your laundry, but you can use them to buy extra socks to put off the need for laundry.
How can companies let their employees be the voice of change and encourage an open workspace that is welcoming, encouraging, and supportive of people from all backgrounds, races, sexualities, and cultures?
Give Employees A Voice
Employees talk about the injustices of their companies with peers at work, probably outside of work too. They are on the front lines of understanding your product's ins and outs and know its shortcomings. Depending on how old a company, it might have outdated or unequal policies. Listening to employees who have suggestions on changes will satisfy their need to be heard and stop a problem that could spell disaster in the future.
Recent grads from Chicago coding bootcamps should be able to join your company and find like-minded individuals passionate about the environment, social justice, or equality in education. Tech companies have recently adopted social activism as consumers and employees speak up about the unfair practices of major tech and retail companies.
By allowing employees to have a voice, and listening to that voice, you empower the employee and your company. Employees who feel stifled or like they can't be their authentic selves will look for a different opportunity. Online resume and employment apps like Intry offer personality assessments so employees and companies alike can determine if their voices and cultures will align.
Listen To Employees
Too often, complaints from employees don't receive the attention they deserve. It is not easy for employees, especially people of color and women, to voice their concern or file a complaint about a co-worker or manager. People get away with terrible things in the workplace when companies don't properly investigate allegations. When evil people are permitted to use their power to keep their jobs or only receive a small punishment, culture and morale drop.
Whether it's a brand new Mobile Developer or seasoned vice president, take any claims by
employees seriously. The best course of action is to have a plan in place before any incidences. This allows a fair process for the victim and the accused. It may even be prudent to employ third-party groups to conduct investigations to prevent internal bias or power from affecting the findings.
Have Non-Leadership DEI Groups
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) groups are essential in an era when we are still fighting for equal access to education, jobs, and health care. Having a DEI group of c-suite employees helps create a voice for those who are marginalized in a company. You only have to look at the data to see the unequal ratio of men to women as Web Developers at tech companies.
By providing the space, and encouraging employees to talk about DEI issues, you create a more welcoming space. Not only will this help improve morale for current employees, but it will also be a beacon of light for those who are looking to join socially responsible workplaces.
DEI conversations aren't always the easiest to have and can uncover some severe bias within a company. It's essential to use the opportunities for growth and healing rather than defend policies or claim actions unintentionally.
Tech companies oftentimes have employees from around the world and of many different cultures. Regardless of origin, education, or background, diversity should be celebrated. By employing diverse groups of people, your product becomes more accessible to larger populations. Homogeneous companies tend to leave out the perspectives of many potential users.
We find ourselves in a time when money isn't the only motivation for the stores we go to, companies we work for, or artists we support. The world is becoming a place where social responsibility is more important than financial gains. Companies will start fixing outdated and biased practices by listening to their employees and fixing internal issues. The fixes will eventually reflect in the product, resulting in increased purchases from socially conscious buyers.
Written by: Artur Meyster, CTO of Career Karma (YC W19). An online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.