Creating a culture in which tech talent thrives

“Flashing the cash may be enough to get your foot in the door. It might even bring them over. But, unless you create the right environment, and bring in the right people, you won’t keep anyone for long.”

This was the response from Tom Wright, Product and Tech Recruiter at Schibsted, when asked about the challenge from Financial Services to tech talent recruitment.

With the rise in Fintech, the financial services industry is now fighting tech’s leading companies for their best talent. But, the fastest growing, most exciting companies in the world right now are tech companies. So, What sort of company does tech’s top talent want to work for? And, how can you show you’ve got what they need?

This group want to be empowered to make decisions, to choose the right tools to tackle problems they’re facing. They want to be given the time to complete each project to the best of their ability, but they also want to be able to move quickly to another project once they’ve finished their current one. Can you provide a structure that allows for more roaming and grazing, one that enables quick decision making, and is more flex and flux than fixed?

In an ideal world, many tech professionals prefer to work on something they can show the world what they contributed to and work so tirelessly to build. Unfortunately, due to the sensitive nature of internal projects, and the more regular use of closed source software, this is less regularly possible in Financial Services. This downside could easily be countered by the pull of a well-known CTO. Learning and professional development are very important, so give them a clear pathway for internal progression, and someone great to learn from.

Flexible working is also important to them, it’s not that they necessarily want to work from home every day, Tom Wright says “it’s more that they want to know the company is flexible, really it’s about maturity and trust. Do they trust their employees?”

But, and here’s the bad news, tech professionals don’t think that matches up with the reality in the financial sector. They aren’t seeing the empowered, fast moving, and flexible culture outlined above. Instead, they regard the industry as “a place that offers little flexibility and opportunity”.

They feel the industry is stuck in its ways with the focus is always on the company and never on the customer. With today’s drive towards a more purpose driven workplace, people, particularly in tech, want to see that they’re doing something positive in the world, and they won’t get that feeling with a company-centric mind-set.

So, what can you do about it? Well, purely shifting the external perception of the industry won’t do it on its own. You have to genuinely change what’s inside the businesses, look for new ways of working, and incorporate what the tech teams want and need with your current set-up. Whilst you need to bring people in quickly, with the risks and opporuntities highlighted, it’ll pay to take the time to get the right match.

A great place to start would be a Belonging and Culture Workshop, against our Belonging Framework the current culture within your tech teams, mapping it against the desired culture, and provide recommendations for how to move between them.

“But, the changes will take too long, I need to get people here now!” I hear you cry.

Well, saying your culture is different to the reality will help nothing, you’ll have disengaged employees, not working to their fullest potential and looking for the first way out. Instead, be honest, tell them you’re looking to change the culture, and let them know what steps your taking.

This way you’ll successfully attract who you need to, retain your best talent, and develop your future leaders. Further still, if anyone from your team does leave they’ll leave as alumni, spreading the good news about working at your company.