Written by Dan George

The 2017 Tech Nation report was released last week. And hidden in amongst the typically triumphant tone was something much more interesting – a warning.

Every business needs good people. But with more than half of British digital firms highlighting a shortage of skilled employees – and almost 25 per cent describing talent sourcing as a ‘major challenge’ – one thing’s clear. When it comes to techie talent, there’s not enough to go around.

This is cause for real concern. But compelling communication can save the situation.

One route to successful recruitment is simply to offer higher pay than the competition. But this isn’t sustainable. Not only are bidding wars expensive, if the people you bring in are mainly motivated by the money they won’t be sticking around for long.

Instead, digital businesses need to spell out what’s really special about working for them. And while drinks trolleys and beanbags are all well and good, that’s not really what I mean.

In an era of mobile working, where people are putting in ever-longer hours, their professional lives are increasingly coming to define how they see themselves. So firms need to make work feel meaningful. To give people a real sense of purpose.

This could mean helping people make buying decisions they won’t regret, applying blockchain technology to build transparency into more sustainable supply chains or even using drones to deliver blood supplies to remote populations in Africa. In each case, digital businesses are changing the world. And people will want to get involved.

By communicating the company mission – what it stands for and why it exists (beyond making a profit, of course), digital leaders can get potential recruits excited to come and work for them – and keep them engaged enough to stay.

We all need a reason to get up in the morning. The best businesses make sure to give us one.

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