How is remote work dramatically shifting the talent landscape? And how are managers approaching wage leveling in technology across the U.S. regardless of the local region’s cost of living?
In February 2021, ProFocus hosted a discussion with technology leaders to address these questions and share strategies. The insights below are based on the notes and resources shared in the discussion.
In past discussions in our Leaders Lunch Series, we’ve talked at length about how to lead and manage in a remote environment. Now that we’ve seen companies, industries, and leaders adapt to this new future of work we wanted to explore what remote work allows you to do with regards to hiring:
- Increases your pool of potential talent.
- Expands opportunities for diversity.
- Removes barriers for interview scheduling with multiple team members in different locations.
- Increased opportunities for retention when employees need/want to relocate.
- Standardized some of the hiring process.
Remote work also exposes other challenges:
- Accessibility issues.
- Competition for top talent.
- Difficulty maintaining or building an inclusive environment.
- Expectations to relocate after COVID.
- Virtual interviewing can leave managers with blind spots.
Remote Workforce Insights
For some managers, the implications of the shifting talent landscape mean they went from a couple resumes per week on an open role in 2019 to now receiving 20-30 resumes per week. As the unemployment numbers soared and the number of opportunities dwindled, managers became overwhelmed. Sorting through that many applications meant they lost out on some top tech talent.
For other managers, the talent landscape increasing to a global scale helped solve coverage issues for different time zones. This improved customer satisfaction as well as helped to solve burnout among their team members.
In the case of one technical manager, they were cautious about pay cuts to employees that relocated to areas with a cheaper cost of living because once they give up the budget for that resource it is difficult to get back. With competitors willing to pay high wages no matter the local region’s cost of living, it is difficult to retain the employees that take pay decreases. Ultimately when the manager needs to hire talent to fill the role their budget has decreased and may not be competitive, for even local talent.
Companies have started to understand what some managers referred to as “tribal knowledge.” This valuable understanding of company functions, best practices, and culture have led managers to get creative with retention. In the case of one manager, when an employee was dissatisfied with their team or role, the manager would encourage them to stay with the company but explore other departments or teams. This manager warned not to take it personally and instead be an internal champion for the employee.
Keys to Attracting Top Tech Talent
We will spare you the obvious statements about work life balance, compensation and culture. Instead here are 3 areas of interest that are easy to forget:
- Career Growth Opportunities – This seems to be increasingly important to the millennial workforce (this means people born between 1981 – 1996). They want to see clear job ladders, examples of internal promotions, and mentorship programs.
- Skills & Educational Opportunities – Technical talent often is interested in skills development whether that’s an internal training program or flexible hours to work on side projects. One manager allows their team to innovate and develop new skills every Friday for 4 hours. Often this leads to team members thinking outside the box, or even their department, to solve business problems in new ways.
- Cross-Training Opportunities – An example one manager brought up was their company’s policy to allow cross-training for a few weeks in a new department. For example, if someone is on the leadership track but they need a solid understanding of cyber security. This also helps companies identify single points of failure and knowledge silos when the person temporarily leaves their role.
Virtual Interview Tools & Tips
Here are a few tools, resources and tips for virtual interviews and hiring:
- Standout – interview software with recorded questions
- Pramp – mock interview platform
- LinkedIn Learning – courses for unconscious and conscious bias, diversity & inclusion, other management skills to improve for interviews
- If possible, have a reviewer sit in on an interview to assess and give feedback to the interviewer on things like microaggressions and presentation.
- interviewing.io – Practice interviewing with engineers from Google, Facebook, and more… anonymously.
- Book: Ideal Team Player A Leadership Fable About the Three Essential Virtues
- In a time where hallway interactions can’t tell us more about a candidate, get creative. Look at their LinkedIn activity or their Facebook page. Don’t hesitate to message an old colleague that they didn’t put down as a reference.
- Don’t jump to conclusions about a candidate too quickly based on their ability to video interview. Create a process to dig deeper into the candidate’s abilities and limitations.
Download our free Interview Worksheet for assessing candidates and documenting interview notes.
If you are a leader in Technology and would like to be involved in future roundtable discussions like the one above, please send an email to [email protected] with a request to be invited to upcoming Leaders Lunches.