We’ve all seen the massive growth of the tech industry over the past decade. Its trajectory climbed even higher during peak pandemic times when we all started working from home, doing more shopping from home, and managing our businesses from home. We can all agree that tech companies kept the economy afloat during this time.
But the record-setting growth that many of these giants saw over the past 2-years was never sustainable. And as we’ve seen many times before across many different sectors, once revenue and profit come back down to earth after a major boom, employees are the ones that end up paying the price. So it’s no surprise that some of the biggest (and yet still the most profitable) companies like Meta, Google, Microsoft, Lyft, IBM, Salesforce, and Spotify (just to name a few) have recently announced significant layoffs.
Over 200,000 tech jobs were lost since the start of last year.
Though layoffs are rarely a good sign for the economy, and are of course, awful for the people who have to suffer through them, there are opportunities hidden in the doom and gloom. Business leaders across all industries are struggling to find quality talent. Attracting and retaining employees ranks #2 on the list of top concerns for CEOs in 2023.
Problem meet opportunity.
If you are one of these middle-market CEOs or business owners having trouble staffing up, this recent wave of layoffs has instantly widened your talent pool of highly skilled workers. Workers who have already been vetted by some of the most successful companies in the world.
Turn Google’s loss into your gain.
Make no mistake – it won’t be easy to attract these “A-Players.” Expect immense competition from a variety of sectors. Anticipate higher expectations from these newly available employees who come from an industry known for its impressive perks, stock options, and high salaries. Understand that many in this talent pool may not be ready to jump back into full-time positions after feeling overworked and underappreciated, especially after some earned sizeable exit packages.
So what can you do as a business to lure tech’s best and brightest to your organization?
It starts with thinking differently. Now’s the time to revisit your current recruiting strategies, employee policies, and engagement tactics. You have a rare opportunity to acquire some amazing people who can make a real difference in the future of your business. So don’t sit by idly – jump at the chance to adapt to the workforce of tomorrow.
Here are our eight recommendations for employers looking to attract top-tier talent in the wake of recent tech layoffs:
- Emphasize Your Mission & Vision. Now more than ever, employees want the company they work for to align with their values. It’s no longer just about the paycheck (though that’s nice too). Having a clear vision and purpose will allow you to attract the kind of talent who feels connected and passionate about the work they do. When recruiting, emphasize what you stand for beyond financial gain. Highlight why you are in business, what problems you are trying to solve, and how your company can help solve those problems. Most importantly, provide candidates with insights into how their role will make an impact, and how their contributions will help the business achieve its “why.” This will make you stand out among a slew of companies that simply post a standard job listing with requirements and responsibilities. And if you haven’t yet defined the mission for your organization, there’s no time like the present! Check out Step 2 in our free eBook “6 Ways to Future-Proof Your Business Starting Today” to learn more.
- Offer More Freelance Roles. Many in this new talent pool may be hesitant about jumping into full-time positions right away. And can you blame them? They may want to take some time off to consider their options, start their own venture, or change careers entirely. Though you can’t impact their ultimate decision about if and when to re-enter the workforce, you can offer much more flexibility in terms of the roles you hire for. Understanding the mindset of your potential employees will give you a huge competitive advantage. Try increasing the freelance and contract opportunities available at your organization. This will allow some hesitant candidates to dip their toes in the water before fully committing. It also allows you to test the waters before moving them to a full-time employee if and when the time comes.
- Offer More Part-Time Roles. Beyond adding more freelance and contract opportunities, rethink some of your current or future open positions to see if any can be accomplished on a part-time basis. Perhaps some roles, if taken on by a more experienced person, can be done in half the time. Or maybe some can be broken up into two or more part-time jobs. Restructuring your available openings may attract talent who aren’t currently looking for full-time gigs. Part-time (as well as freelance) work also enables employees to take on other projects and side hustles which can provide your company with additional benefits (more on this in #4). In short, being open to and offering different ways of working models will give candidates in various stages of their search more reasons to give your company another look.
- Allow (And Encourage) Side-Hustles. Many recently laid-off tech workers may not be ready to rely on a company’s promises of long-term success and growth opportunities. With some receiving decent exit packages and/or a lot of valuable experience in a sought-after space, expect they may want to start a business of their own. Where other employers may shy away from letting their employees work on side projects, your company can be the one that embraces their entrepreneurial spirit! Not only should you encourage the behavior, but you should also reward it! Consider providing training, tools, or resources that can help employees learn new skills that could not only benefit their side hustle, but the work they do for you as well. Partner with your employees to test out their new products or services at your company (when relevant) or recognize their outside successes in company meetings. You may even consider offering stipends or other financial benefits to help them get their projects further faster, which could provide you with a potential acquisition opportunity in the future.
- Get Comfortable With Employees Having More Than One Job. In addition to the “side hustle,” we are starting to see an uptick in people taking on more than one job at a time. Referred to as “over-employed,” this trend involves employees working more than one remote full-time job (if they are efficient enough to do so – which many are!) or multiple part-time positions. Like it or not, this is the new world of work, and this newly available and highly adaptable workforce is very familiar with their options. Having more than one job allows them to hone additional skills, make more money, and test out a company before they officially commit (“try before they buy.”) Though this may freak out some employers, it’s a reality you must deal with. So rather than have your team hide it from you, embrace it. Just make sure you update your policies to avoid employees working with or sharing info with direct competitors.
- Double Down on Remote & Flexible Work Options. Despite some recent pushback from CEOs who seem adamant about getting workers back in the office, employees have spoken. They want remote, hybrid, and flexible options. Some have gone so far as to say that they would rather quit than go back to daily commutes. For businesses struggling to attract and retain talent, forcing employees to sit in an office every day is a big mistake. Not only does remote work benefit employees, but it allows you to further expand your talent pool to other cities, states, and even countries. This new crop of laid-off tech workers has become more used to remote work than many other industries. They will no doubt expect your company to offer that same flexibility. Not only should you update your policies to accommodate this new world of work, but you should also go one step beyond. Offer stipends for remote employees to allow them to pay for supplies and even some utilities when necessary. Companies can save up to $11,000 per remote worker, so these extra financial incentives shouldn’t impact your bottom line. More ways to adjust your workplace policies are in our recent blog here.
- Rethink Benefits Packages. When hiring freelance, contract, or part-time workers, many employers assume this means they won’t need to offer benefits. This is usually the expectation. However, to stand out as a more attractive organization, it’s time to think differently. Consider updating your benefits packages to go beyond full-time to include freelance, part-time, and contract roles. This strategy can easily reduce turnover, build loyalty, and further increase your talent pool among highly skilled workers. All of which can offset the costs of expanding health insurance and sick pay. Companies like Unilever and Target are recent examples of companies implementing this strategy with successful outcomes. Also, don’t forget that outside of standard benefits, childcare and parental care are also incredibly important to modern employees. Providing these options can lure talent (especially women) back into the workforce if they feel confident that the needs of their families are being met.
- Look at Alternative Sources for Recruiting. Of course using popular recruiting software, applicant trackers, and job aggregators like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor are still necessary, but be open to non-traditional methods. During this recent wave of layoffs, many workers took to other forms of social media like Instagram and TikTok to share their stories and network. Follow where your talent pool goes, and don’t solely rely on what’s worked (or not worked) for you in the past. It’s also a good reminder that “good things are attracted and not pursued.” So though you should stay on top of changing recruiting trends, it’s important to be proactive as well. Share your own stories through your marketing channels about the kinds of employees you’d like to join your team. Highlight your mission and vision and invite potential talent to join you. Leaders should use their social channels as well, to recruit and engage with existing and potential employees. Open yourself up to questions, give advice, and be helpful and supportive. Your employer brand is not just the company – it’s everyone who works there from the top down.
Change is inevitable. Struggle is optional.
Future-proof organizations see opportunities during challenging times. We all know how scary economic uncertainty can be, but operating out of fear is never a good idea. Instead, try facing adversity head-on! While other companies pull back – you can press forward. Ramp up innovation, increase those marketing budgets, invest more in customer experiences, and take those smart risks. And most importantly, go get that team of highly skilled, adaptable, loyal employees to help you do it all.
These recent tech layoffs have suddenly presented you with a rare chance to build your dream team. So will you sit back and watch as your competitors scoop up all the best and the brightest? Or will you make the changes you need to today to attract the future of your workforce?
Have questions or want to learn more ways you can improve your employer attractiveness? Reach out to us at email@example.com