You Can’t Buy Loyalty, But You Can Win the War for Talent

As the war for talent heats up, companies are scrambling to understand how they can attract the best and the brightest technical practitioners to their organisation. In a world where many still don’t understand how these technical practitioners develop software, iOT or Robotic applications it may seem like an impossible task where more than just common sense applies. But in my experience, it’s not as complicated as it might seem.

Digital strategists, software engineers and designers are being head-hunted by recruiters and HR teams at a record rate. In some cases, these candidates are tapped on the shoulder about a hot new role up to ten times a day.

Ten times a day? I hear you ask. Yes. Up to ten times a day. There’s a serious talent shortage out there and clients are clawing to get their hands on it. So with the war for talent rapidly heating up, how can you or your company compete? You may be surprised to learn that they are not necessarily looking for a fatter pay check.

When I approach top talent for my specialised roles, there are three ways candidates will respond:

  • No reply
  • I’m happy where I am, but keen to hear more
  • That sounds amazing, I’d love to hear more

Logically, I will correlate their level of interest in my messages with their personal engagement at work, but what I don’t know is what exactly peeked their interest or what they are missing in their current role. At some companies the culture is not conducive to creativity, out of the box thinking nor flexible work arrangements. These are the companies that will struggle in the 4th industrial revolution that is Digital Transformation. When you are working with intangible products and services, your competitive advantage is defined by the quality of talent you can attract, engage and retain.

Across the board I have found that you need to be fulfilling the following intrinsic needs:

  • Mastery: Digital talent needs to be fed with challenge, opportunity for creativity, and growth.
  • Purpose: The personality that is attracted to a digital career is progressive and curious. They want to know that the value they bring to a company is more than just functional. The stronger your purpose and social justice proposition, the better.
  • Autonomy: Allow them to manage their own workload as and when they need. They are proud and will become resentful if treated like a child.

Here are my tips for engaging and recruiting the very best talent:

  • Allow flex-time: Digital practitioners want to be appraised on their output, not their office time.
  • Instil the 70:20:10 rule: 70% time on BAU work, 20% on improving BAU work and projects and 10% time on innovation and creativity.
  • Recruit for diversity: Truly embrace diversity of thought and experience.
  • Provide opportunities for staff to learn and hone their skills.
  • Clarify internal progression opportunities: Nobody wants to be a hamster on a wheel.
  • Encourage freelance work: Don’t be threatened by their desire to expand their work portfolio. This can only mean a broader range of skills and experiences which you will benefit from.
  • Ensure the physical space is fresh, uncluttered and encourages communication between teams.
  • Integrate the digital team and projects: Opportunities for show-and-tell generally create a supportive and integrated environment.
  • Test and learn with the latest technology, tools and software: Digital practitioners and natives love shiny new things.
  • Clarify the vision: Instil a sense of purpose in the organisation.

Ultimately, lead and teach an organisation’s future leaders and help them understand the greater vision that they are building. Leverage the digital workplace to help them collaborate, connect and communicate with a focus on the future; to position an organisation for extraordinary results. If you’re interested in chatting further about how you can attract, retain and engage top digital talent – get in touch for a chat –

Recruitment Strategies