When you’re competing against the likes of Facebook, Google and Apple for world-class talent, what can you do?
Don’t play their game. Play your own.
If you try to compete on salary or prestige, you’ll almost certainly lose. Consider, the average salary at Facebook is $117,000; at Google, $113,000; at Apple, $120,000. And that doesn’t include bonuses.
At Facebook, when everything is included, total median compensation is an astounding $240,430.
The war for top talent is absolutely fierce across the entire spectrum of the economy. Even if you’re a non-tech company in manufacturing or retailing, you’ll need highly skilled technologists to crush your competitors.
The next big wave in technology–artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things where virtually everything becomes a smart device and generates reams of data–will make today’s war for tech talent look mild by comparison.
About 4.5 million new tech jobs will be generated by the Internet of Things in the next five years. Unfortunately, shortages in talent–particularly data scientists–will impede many organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT’s business improvements.
With the job market getting even tighter, the tech giants are already raising their already stratospheric salaries. So too are companies in other sectors attempting to stay on the forefront of the new technology in order to prosper in the years ahead.
So how can you compete against the giants and win the war for talent? Simple. Offer employees what money can’t buy.
While the titans can hand out big paychecks and impressive benefit packages, they can’t offer what you can: challenging and important work, a lower “hassle-factor,” and better work/life integration.
Here’s how to do it:
Find the DNA match: It’s the Number One reason people take jobs. Rock stars have the luxury of choosing a home where they can do their best work. As a four-time entrepreneur, I’ve found every hour that I invested in building a great place to work made my recruiting job that much easier. BigCo can’t compete with the intimacy that your firm can offer.
Build your employer brand: Just as your products or services have a brand, so does your company as an employer. Define that employer brand. Create stories to help prospective candidates visualize what it’s like to work at your organization. Market the hell out of your employer brand on your website and social media. I find that low-cost unrefined videos of your rock stars describing the work they’re doing is the most compelling.
Promote your employee referral program: Employee referrals are the holy grail of recruiting. They deliver the highest quality candidates, in the shortest amount of time, and at the lowest cost-per-hire. The reason is simple: top-performers attract others like them.
Give people meaningful work and the flexibility to deliver results: A-players crave challenging work that will make a difference in the performance of your company. Give them big goals and then get out of the way. They may choose a different path than you, but as long as they deliver results, give them the space to maneuver.
Don’t cap bonuses: Top performers respond to performance-based compensation. If somebody blows out their targets, pay them accordingly. Don’t apply the “peanut butter” approach, where you spread the money around about the same to keep the peace. Pay top performers top variable compensation.
Provide development opportunities: Your up-and-comers expect career advancement. Talk to them about their ambitions and give them challenging assignments that promote career growth and new skills. Give them candid feedback (at least monthly) and help them to understand what they need to do to advance to the next level.
With 3.9% unemployment rate, recruiting top talent is getting harder all the time. If you embrace these ideas and articulate to candidates how you bring them to life in your workplace, you’ll have leg up on the tech giants.
And the more successful you are in creating a rock star-centric organization, the easier it becomes to recruit more rock stars. It’s the most powerful virtuous cycle in business.
Give your people something more important than money. Give them what they can’t get from the titans.
Be a giant slayer.