Attracting People When You’re Not Sexy

LinkedIn (and social media in general) is a strange world, a world where we tend to show the best of ourselves, our businesses and our working environment. I’m guilty of this myself, for example I’m lucky to have one of the best views of Manchester from my desk, I often post photos of the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, but (until now ) I’ve not pictured the not so glamorous reverse view….

Like many of you I love reading updates on LinkedIn with photos from the likes of UKFast’s onsite gym and crèche, Rental Cars and their Back to the Future meeting rooms and Missguided’s amazing office space. It’s great to see so many businesses genuinely valuing their staff and going above and beyond to provide such amazing places to go to work. But what happens to new businesses who are competing for the same tech talent without such glamorous locations, office space and perks? How can you attract people when you’re just not sexy?

Twice the learning in half the time

Lack of resource is often seen as a headache for businesses but if you’re clever you can use this to your advantage. Whilst you may not be able to offer some of the benefits larger companies can, you can offer ambitious developers the chance to learn at a faster rate. The fact that your team is likely to be smaller means more exposure to new technology and an opportunity to learn at a faster rate than at bigger companies with rows and rows of developers. The important factor is being clear about this with new hires from the outset so they feel empowered rather than exposed.

The best things in life are free (ish)

Some of the best places I’ve worked went out of their way to bring staff together outside of work to create a tight bond that still exists day. I know several businesses in Manchester and media city that have formed unofficial running clubs, pub quiz teams, book clubs and five a side teams. These are all relatively low cost activities to start but create great team cohesion.

Recognise and reward performance.

Set clear, realistic goals and reward employees when they are met and exceeded. Make sure everyone is involved rather than just the sales team. This sounds really simple, but one of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from non-sales staff over the years is lack of recognition both individually and as a team, this can lead to resentment and at worse a ‘them and us attitude’ . How many of us have worked in businesses where tech and non tech employees barely speak? This is simply not the case in happy, healthy businesses.

Be honest

Not every business is ‘sexy’, so stop trying to be something that you’re not. I know some businesses who sell themselves on being a good stepping stone for young tech professionals to move onto larger ‘cool’ businesses. The very nature of tech employees means that very few stay beyond 3-5 years and in reality you do not need them to providing you have a rich talent pool by working with universities or  organisations like North Coders in Manchester to grab the best talent early.

As ever I’d love your feedback on the subject in particular how your business tackles these challenges twitter site or follow us on LinkedIn