May 11, 2023 Executive Compensation ESG & Human Capital Management QuickTakes

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ESG & Human Capital Management

Attracting Tech Talent to Non-Tech Companies 5 Ideas for Boards & Management

Technology is essential for businesses across all industries in today’s digital age, but not all companies have the resources or know-how to identify, attract, and retain talented professionals.

Non-tech companies often need help when hiring and keeping tech-savvy talent. Semler Brossy’s leadership group recently discussed what strategies non-tech companies could use to build their tech organization.

1. Communicate your broader employee value proposition

In addition to reinforcing the opportunity to be part of a team transforming an industry, non-tech companies can also talk about career growth, particularly if they thrive in leadership development. They can also emphasize the importance of work-life balance, which is becoming increasingly important to many people.

2. “Move fast [for you] and rearrange things” in managing your new talent

Cultural adaptation, expectation setting, change management, and role clarity are challenges to building teams. For example, is tech leading the product function or vice-versa? Non-tech companies should be prepared to address these issues and work closely with their new tech talent to ensure they can integrate successfully into the organization.

3. Leverage transformative tech executives to define the company’s broader tech talent needs

More companies are hiring experienced senior leaders to help the company define how tech supports their business and then build the infrastructure. This happens across industries, including distribution, medical devices, industrials, and retail. This approach benefits clients who don’t know what skills and experience they need from tech hires.

4. Capture the imagination of the visionary tech executive

The stereotypical tech executive is high-energy, get things done, and gets paid a lot. Though this convention may appear in conflict with more traditional company values and norms, pay should not be the leading element of attracting executive-level tech talent. Talented technologists can be wooed through the excitement of reinventing industries, such as driving e-commerce in retail and CPG, transforming manufacturing through digital tools and AI, and bringing new software capabilities to traditional products.

5. Adopt an appropriate compensation structure for your tech groups

We see three models for structuring compensation for transformative tech talent. The right model depends on your business strategy, culture, and other factors.

  • Entirely differentiated structure – essentially a “tech” company within the larger business, which has different participation, different equity levels, and different abilities to top people up. The top technology executive may end up highly paid versus other executives and sometimes even becomes the second highest paid.
  • Differentiated pay for tech leadership only and regular pay for other levels
  • Differentiated/higher pay for tech leadership, some tweaks for other levels

Non-tech companies can attract and retain tech talent by leveraging their strengths, offering exciting opportunities, and structuring compensation that aligns with the historical competitiveness of the tech industry. By doing so, they can build the capabilities they need to succeed.

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