Insights from our team: A hidden risk for recruiting technical talent? Your culture

By Russell Ollis

One less obvious effect of society's digital transformation has been the skyrocketing demand for technical talent.


In only a few years, a variety of tech talent workers — software engineers, data scientists, and the like — have become the most sought-after employees as companies quickly realized that in order to stay competitive, they had to augment their technical capabilities.


But if a company is still coming to grips with its digital transformation, the task of attracting, recruiting and retaining technical talent may seem too daunting, too complex, or too expensive to even start. Where should a company that wants to stay competitive start when it comes to technical talent? What should its leaders prioritize?


Begin by reshaping your company’s culture in order to make it an attractive destination for technical talent. Developing a working culture that not only invites in highly recruited employees but also fosters their professional growth can lead to higher retention rates — and can drive overall business success.


At Copperfield, we have found that no matter the size of your company, culture, work environment and location, and lifestyle make a difference to technical talent.

  1. Develop (and communicate) a working culture for technical talent that combines the benefits of a startup and those of a large corporation. After speaking with countless technical talent employees, it’s clear that startups tend to offer excitement and a fast-paced environment, whereas large legacy companies can boast stability and resume legitimacy. Striking a balance between the two can position your firm as the best of both worlds — a stable tech and innovation hub.
  2. The nature of work matters. More than professionals in other fields, technical talent have strong personal connections to their company’s mission. Strong values — and sticking to them — is paramount to retaining technical talent, as we have found in our work.
  3. Consider reskilling existing talent as a brand reputation tactic. Organizations should not only transform their technical capabilities by bringing in highly qualified talent but should also offer existing technical workers the opportunity to be reskilled. This demonstrates your firm’s commitment to future growth without abandoning the talent that got you where you are today.


Across each of these initiatives, companies should build strategic relationships that will guide talent toward your firm. Whether with colleges and universities, city organizations, or other third-party groups, fostering these relationships can allow your firm and, more importantly, your brand to be exposed to pools of technical talent at various touchpoints along the recruiting journey.


Beyond these best practices, perhaps the most important takeaway from our experience working with organizations both large and small in transforming their cultures to appeal to technical talent is that without buy-in from leadership, all of these efforts will fail. Without clear direction from the top, all the recruiting efforts will be for naught and your company won’t see any ROI because retention numbers will be poor. However, if a company commits itself to transforming its technical capabilities with strong leadership, it can stand out and attract the best and brightest technical talent.