Cloud computing. Remote working. Cybersecurity. These are but some of the countless IT necessities that small- and medium-sized businesses in Toronto now rely upon to operate and grow. And with IT expanding more firmly into new fields such as IoT, demand for IT professionals just keeps on rising.
Thing is, not every company can afford to pay eye-watering salaries and provide perks like free gourmet meals, so how can you convince a budding tech talent to join and support your humble organization? Having a positive company culture can help you out in this regard.
What is company culture?
Also known as workplace, corporate, or organizational culture, company culture is a set of values and behaviours that make up the “this is how we do things around here” vibe of a business. It determines how people in the organization interact with one another and with those they do business with.
Culture is woven into the very fabric of a company and develops over time — and the shared values and promoted behaviours can either be positive or negative. An example of a positive value can be inclusion (e.g., the active hiring of and workplace support for disabled employees), whereas a positive behaviour can be praising members for their contributions. These traits give people extra reasons to join and give their best to an organization.
On the other hand, a negative value can be short-term thinking (i.e., the idea that immediate profits trump any and all negative future consequences, such as pollution), while negative behaviours can be microaggressions toward individuals from racial minorities and/or those who identify as LGBTQIA+. Such traits repel people and give firms a bad name.
Of course, no organization is perfect, but deliberately striving to create a more positive workplace is key to attracting and retaining the tech talent you need. Here are a few tips on how to leverage corporate culture to your advantage.
Anchor your culture to your mission
At the end of the day, business is all about creating value — value that ideally makes the world better than when we found it. If, for instance, your mission is to provide customers with reliable and fast courier services, then a culture that encourages forward thinking will serve it well.
A courier service that insists on exclusively using paper-based systems to operate (because that’s the way they’ve always done it) will be left behind by competitors that use digital tools. In contrast, innovative firms — such as those that will pioneer the effective use of delivery robots and drones — will be the ones to disrupt the logistics market.
Invest in people
An environment that fosters innovation and professional growth is highly attractive to IT professionals. Because tech staff are in a field where getting left behind is a constant risk, they appreciate webinars, mentorships, and other learning programs that boost their skills and let them stay ahead of the game.
More than this, investing in people’s skills assures staff that the firm wants to make them more valuable to the company. In truth, no one can ever call themselves indispensable, but growth opportunities will let employees gain more staying power and improve their chances for pay raises and promotions.
Prioritize applicants whose career goals you can support
Fresh graduates tend to treat their first job as a stepping stone to their next one. This can lead to people leaving and having to be replaced all the time — or it can be an opportunity to inspire them to imagine having a rewarding career in your organization. To make would-be hires feel excited about growing with your company, you must discard the limiting “stay in your lane” mentality.
Instead, showcase a culture of support, even before candidates are hired. Show them your career advancement programs as well as opportunities for lateral movement (i.e., switching to a new role that has different responsibilities but the same level as their old role in terms of corporate hierarchy). With all of these laid out, applicants will be able to see how well their career goals can be supported, as well as how much flexibility they can enjoy in case their interests and goals change. Poor matches can be avoided, while great matches may prove irresistible for the job candidate and the hiring organization.
Show people how they matter in the big picture
A house divided against itself will not stand. Departments that put each other down and fight for the “Most Valuable” title end up shooting down others’ great ideas just because those weren’t theirs. However, if everyone feels like they are in the same boat, then they’ll feel that it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together toward a common goal.
Therefore, having a culture of openness that inspires people to give their support is important. In actual practice, it can take the form of regularly communicating with everyone the company’s short- and long-term goals — and showing the parts different teams will play in achieving those goals. This will give everyone a sense of purpose and belonging, that they matter in the organization.
For IT job candidates, give them a sneak peek into the “next big thing” you’re currently working on. This can pique their interest and lead them to imagine the ways in which they can showcase their unique skills. In other words, your openness can inspire tech talents to do their best work, and to do that work for you.
Having IT staff to call your own is invaluable, but if you want your business to focus on what it does best and leave IT to the professionals, XBASE is here for you. To learn how we can leverage tech to help you unleash the full potential of your business, download our eBook today.
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