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November 4, 2019

So you want to be diverse and attract top tech talent?

Want to know a secret about your competitors? Come on, get in close… You have something in common. You both have diversity and tech on the top of your agendas.  I know, you probably already had an inkling, but grab a coffee anyways and let’s have a chat.

Generally every brief we get has these two points, and for good reason. They are extremely integral to the future of a business. But how do you actually stand out when you’re looking for the same thing?

It would be easy to suggest you roll out a campaign of photos of people from diverse backgrounds, coupled with safe quotes on how what they’re doing is on the forefront of technology. However, that wouldn’t break the mould, and if it’s not a true reflection of your organisation, it will cause more problems than solutions.

Often, some businesses make the assumption they can build their Employer Brand from inside the boardroom – but that won’t tell you anything about the hearts and motivations of your people. Just imagine you were about to go on a date, I don’t think many of us would want to sit down with our date’s parents before we got to know them first.

As an organisation we need to take a look at ourselves in a big Snow White style mirror  in order to achieve an outcome that can be both successful and authentic, because ultimately, one doesn’t come without the other. Get out there, on the ground. Ask questions, gather data and build in-depth insight. This will help you learn about your people so you can form your audience personas.

The exercise of persona building will allow you to design profiles of the types of people who are already superstars in your organisation, and the ones you’re trying to attract. You’ll be able to define their motivations, challenges, and needs, all from talking to your own people. And I get it,  just like dating, it might be nerve wracking opening yourself up to someone, or in this case, hearing what your workforce really think about you. But it’s a necessary step towards defining both who you need in your teams and the factors that will help you stand out.

When gathering our insight, we need to be open to the fact that not every business is going to be working with the most exciting tech stack, or have the best diversity statistics. And that’s OK. Don’t be afraid to be transparent about your flaws. A recent study by StackOverflow says benefits and development are among the top three important factors for developers when finding a new role – and diversity is actually the least important. The key is understanding that every organisation and person is different, and the focus should be on attracting people who understand your vision and want to get behind it , instead of trying to be what you think everyone wants.

But what could be your differentiating factors? Well, it could be a multitude of things. Maybe it’s your culture, industry, your benefits offering,  purpose, or it could even be your diversity stats. All you need to remember is the end goal needs to align with what you have to offer to your people and your ideal candidate, and not what you want it to be. Move away from this rhetoric of “we need everyone to apply” and approach it as a process of self de-selection, which will ultimately allow your recruiters to spend more time with the right talent – giving the best possible candidate experience. According to Jobvite,  60% of recruiters believe culture fit is the most important quality –  so let’s save them sifting through irrelevant CVs.

Once you’ve figured all that out, just take a moment to remember: as businesses, we’re always evolving, and if you draw the right candidates in, they’ll impact that journey. In turn you’ll have a wonderful people powered brand that is intrinsic to you, and best of all, has staying power.

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