Strong employer brand gives edge in tech CEOs’ talent battle

Jack Blog

March 8th, 2011 By Jack Morton

Economic recovery means a return to talent investment. It also hails the opening salvo in the battle for talent—already underway in growing sectors like technology.

So what can tech brands do to gain an edge in the battle for talent?

Most think fighting the talent wars means offering more money than your competitors. To that point, a recent article in the Wall Street Journal speaks to the pressures start-ups with more limited funds than, say, Facebook, are facing. But the article also reports how start-ups provide lures more meaningful than cash. In addition to raising salaries, for example, Tagged announced an “unlimited vacation” policy—presumably based on the recognition that such an open approach will make great performers love their employers even more and therefore even more likely to stick around. (And hey, where do I sign up?)

CEOs also seem open to fighting the talent battle with something other than cash. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ 14th Annual Global CEO Survey, 65% of CEOs surveyed said that in the next 12 months they plan to “use more non-financial rewards to motivate staff.”

So the edge tech brands need? Building a strong employer brand.

To quote my colleague Matt Jones, “Long-term data shows that companies with unusually engaged and aligned employees do disproportionately well in terms of employee retention and financial performance. We call these experience brands, because the experience of interacting with them at every touchpoint is consistent, starting with recruits and employees. That ultimately helps with customers, too.”

Building a strong employer brand means telling your talent or potential talent not just who you are, but also what you stand for… What you believe but also how you behave, starting with how you treat your employees: if you have a terrific vacation policy like Tagged, make sure potential recruits know about it. And be sure you recruit your biggest employee advocates (sorry HR, that’s not necessarily you!) to help tell the kinds of stories that are going to resonate and sound real with their peers.