What 8 Austin Tech Companies are Doing to Stand Out From the Crowd
Recruiting top talent is no walk in the park, especially for tech recruiters who simultaneously battle a growing demand for tech professionals and a 1.3% unemployment rate. Stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place, employers are scrambling to find a competitive edge to stand out from the crowd.
The economic impact of the Austin tech scene is worth noting: Austin tech generates $31 billion annually, or 23.5% of the metropolitan area’s economy. Roughly 14% of the current workforce is employed in tech, meaning most ideal candidates aren’t readily available. On top of that, job seekers have the advantage of a candidate’s market, which means highly sought-after professionals can afford to browse and wait for the perfect opportunity.
In order to hire your ideal candidate before someone else does, it’s essential to demonstrate your value as a potential employer. Candidates today are more concerned with intangibles than dollars and cents — 56% of employees rank culture as more important than salary. Make your employee value proposition (EVP) more compelling by highlighting your company culture, exciting perks and influential leadership team.
Get inspired by the following eight examples of Austin tech giants who are leveraging their internal assets to stand out.
Feature Your Creative Office Space
Adults will spend roughly one-third of their lifetime at work, which explains why employees place so much emphasis on the physical workspace. Not only that, but 97% of employees view the office space as representative of how companies value their team members.
An engaging work environment isn’t just about having standing desks and a few bean bag chairs; your office should clearly represent your company’s core values and align with your type of organizational culture. Play up your unique floor plan and design elements by showcasing them to prospective employees. Doing so will help build your reputation as a premier employer, like we did for these two companies.
Proof’s Customer-Obsessed Office
Proof’s purpose is “to make the internet delightfully human,” and their Austin office reflects that. “The most unique part of our office is what we refer to as the ‘customer-obsessed post,’” says AZ Moyer, Head of Finance and Operations at Proof.
The white post features photographs of Proof customers and is topped with a blue button. “Every time you hit the big blue button, the monitor above the post ticks up by one, showing how many times we’ve collectively ‘re-committed to our customers,’” Moyer explains. “It’s a sign of dedication to both your team and the mission every time you walk into our office.”
Fittingly, Proof’s most important core value is to “be customer obsessed,” which Moyer says the team tries to live out every day. “We thrive on fast feedback and rely on customers to provide it,” he adds. “This is important to us because we know that our customers hold the key to our success and we need to be extremely close to them to figure out new ways to make their experience more delightful.”
GoDaddy’s Collaborative Office
As the world’s largest cloud-based platform for independent ventures with over 18M customers, Austin-based GoDaddy (formerly Main Street Hub) prioritizes open communication between teams to stay ahead. The open layout “allows for the closely seated product and engineering teams to easily collaborate and communicate about projects,” says Qingqing Ouyang, Senior Vice President of Engineering.
The GoDaddy team also shows appreciation for its huge client base by displaying photos of happy customers throughout the building. The StoryTeller’s Wall features postcards from employees about their favorite local business stories.
“In addition to the StoryTeller’s Wall, GoDaddy’s office also made a large portion of its walls doodle-friendly for impromptu design discussions, charts, lists, diagrams and other inspirations,” adds Ouyang.
The team’s favorite feature? “An in-house Houndstooth Coffee station with full-service espresso bars and onsite baristas serving up delicious, craft coffee daily to keep up the energy and the innovation,” says Ouyang.
Promote Your Opportunities for Advancement
In addition to your work environment, prospective candidates will evaluate your organization on its commitment to professional development. 87% of millennials say that access to career growth opportunities is very important in their decision to stay at a current job or seek employment elsewhere. (Remember, millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. workforce).
Not only can providing and promoting your learning and development opportunities help you attract elite candidates, it will also help keep your top performers engaged. Create employee spotlights to showcase how your organization supports career growth and advancements. Use the following examples from two Austin tech companies for reference.
Spreetail’s Exposure Method
E-commerce giant Spreetail helps its employees grow professionally by providing hands-on learning opportunities. “Our leadership development program is designed to take individuals currently making an impact in their role and expose them to leadership principles and project work, which allows participants to turn learning into action to prepare them for their first leadership role,” says Elizabeth Berrick, Learning and Development Program Manager at Spreetail.
The company’s career development team also independently coaches employees to help them reach their next role and connects departments through rotational programs. “We’re also currently expanding our manager development offerings, tailoring development opportunities designed to support not only new Spreetail managers, but also experienced managers who experience different sets of challenges in their role,” adds Berrick.
Professional development is valued across the company. “It’s addicting; working next to people with such insatiable appetites to develop themselves, and it can’t help but rub off on you,” Berrick says.
RetailMeNot’s Flexible Growth Path
RetailMeNot, Inc., an e-commerce savings platform, understands that growth is not linear, nor is there a one-size-fits-all approach. “We believe that a critical part to keeping these great people engaged and driving their best business results is providing them opportunities to grow and develop their careers,” says Katie Johnson, Organizational Development Manager. “That looks different for different people.”
In addition to recently implementing Udemy for Business, RetailMeNot also sponsors Leadership Academy, a nine-week program that trains employees in strategic leadership and managerial best practices, as well as an Executive Communication course that prepares individuals to pitch to C-suite members.
“Our employee resource groups also take an active role in developing their members, focusing specifically on their members’ unique needs,” adds Johnson. “We take an iterative approach to our learning and development initiatives. As long as you take initiative in driving your career, we’ll help you take the next step with tools, programs and opportunities that meet your needs.”
Show Off Your Team’s Leaders
It should come as no surprise that people want to work for a good boss — someone who is engaged, passionate and approachable. Not only that, prospects want to work for a company with clear goals; the organization’s overarching vision and mission is a job seeker’s third-highest priority when considering an offer.
Leverage your leadership team in your recruitment strategy by making them visible and their long-term goals for the company known. Promoting employee spotlights on your company profiles and website is a low-cost, low-lift way of increasing your leadership team’s visibility. See how we featured these two Austin-based leaders in tech.
UiPath’s People-First Philosophy
For Bojana Bowermon, Leader of Americas Velocity Sales at UiPath, her people are her top priority. “I am a servant leader,” says Bowermon. “As Robert K. Greenleaf coined this term, he also perfectly defined it: ‘The difference [between servant-first vs. leader-first] manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.’”
UiPath is a provider of robotic processes and AI platforms that helps businesses automate tasks and improve efficiency. As the fastest growing enterprise software company in history, the teams move quickly, and Bowermon oversees three of them in her division. “The psychological safety of my team is my top priority,” she says. “If you are able to authentically show your team that you care and that your primary focus is their career growth and success, you do not have to ask them to work hard for you. They will just do it.”
SailPoint’s Proactive Strategy
As the Chief Information Security Officer of the award-winning enterprise identity governance company SailPoint, Charles Poff has some big responsibilities. To ensure SailPoint remains the industry leader, Poff’s team prioritizes proactive building, as opposed to the traditional reactive methodology.
“The days of just reviewing security logs and reacting are long gone,” says Poff. SailPoint’s security team is working to develop new capabilities, rather than features, that enable faster actions. “Two principles that we live by is to be holistic with any security design and to be proactive in our response capabilities,” he adds.
Poff has set his sights high for his team’s future. “I think what is next for my team is better innovation around automation, orchestration and predictive analytics as it pertains to security,” he says. “We are continuing to make investments into our security program that will help us scale while being adaptive around our security posture.”
Play Up Your Culture and Employee Perks
Top tech candidates are likely fielding multiple offers from premier employers. Because of this, your offer needs to be competitive and unique. Before you up your starting salary offer, know this: more than 60% of employees would accept a lower-paying job that offered better benefits.
Promote your employees’ most beloved perks and benefits to job seekers using employee testimonials. Doing so will show prospects that you value your team members and offer exciting benefits that contribute to their happiness in the office. See how we helped AppSumo and Blackbaud showcase their top employee perks as part of their recruitment marketing strategy.
AppSumo’s Local and Destination Trips
Austin-based AppSumo partners with some of the biggest names in SaaS to give growing companies a discount on valuable services. It’s a fast-paced gig, and the leadership team knows that, which is why employees are rewarded with a biannual trip and daily team lunch.
“Twice a year, we’re able to travel and explore new, incredible places as a team,” says Chandler Thompson, Head of Engineering.
“Last winter, we went to Hawaii and stayed right on the beach. We took a helicopter ride, rode ATVs, went on a waterfall hike — need I go on?” But it’s not just about unwinding for the AppSumo team: “Some of our most productive company planning and thought exercises came during our retreats,” adds Thompson.
Closer to home, AppSumo gives its employees the chance to bond on a daily basis. “Every day, our team goes out for lunch together,” says Thompson. This break from the office allows team members to talk shop in a more relaxed environment or disengage from work altogether. “Being busy and working in a fast-paced environment can make it difficult to take dedicated time to have a meal and great conversation, but AppSumo fosters and encourages that.”
Blackbaud’s Wellness Initiative
Blackbaud, a cloud software provider for social good organizations, believes in empowering its employees’ physical and mental wellness to power better business. “We offer a program through Sonic Boom where employees can join fitness challenges, earn “Wellness Bucks” for prizes and health savings credits, and receive wellness tips and health assessments,” says Stefanie Greene, HR Manager at Blackbaud.
The company also makes it a priority to care for their team members’ loved ones. “We also offer health, mental and financial wellness options through our employee assistance program for employees and their immediate family members,” Greene says.
Fitness challenges encourage friendly competition and camaraderie between employees as they battle for prizes and champion one another toward better health. “For wellness, health is key to being productive and successful,” adds Greene. “Plus, who doesn’t love to earn free prizes such as Apple AirPods, HSA dollars and so on?”
Standing out from the crowd is a tall order, but not impossible. Take stock of what your employees truly value about your organization and promote those aspects as part of your employer branding strategy. Be thoughtful about what you choose to promote as it will influence the general public’s perception of your company. For more resources and tips to get ahead as a tech recruiter, check out this article.