Written by Joanne Sacco

How not-for-profit organisations can attract the best tech talent

The work you do in your not-for-profit organisation is valuable and rewarding.
But sometimes it can be hard to compete with the commercial sector when it comes to salaries; especially when you’re trying to secure top tech talent.
And the stats clearly show Aussie IT professionals are in pole position when it comes to salaries.  
The Australian Financial Review reported many of those in the tech space enjoyed a 10% salary boost last year. When you consider wage growth nationally was just 1.9%, it’s quite mind-blowing.
What’s more? With a high portion of the IT workforce working as contractors who often command higher daily rates and greater flexibility, it can be hard to attract candidates to permanent or fixed term roles on a (sometimes) significantly lower rate.
However, not-for-profits can and should compete with bigger companies to lure great tech professionals, as while salary is important, it’s not the only thing candidates are looking for. As a not-for-profit, you possess something very enticing that many larger organisations don’t – a fantastic ‘why’. Read on for how this might help you attract some great people for your team, along with four further key tips

Why your ‘Why” matters

 Your company’s primary purpose is one of the most attractive things about working for you. Perhaps you’re engaged in cancer research, aged care, helping children in developing countries or working hard to protect our environment. No matter your goal, the ‘why’ of your business is to help others in some way. And that is extremely motivating for employees.
When recruiting for new tech talent, it’s vital you clearly articulate what is unique and/or important about the work you do in all of your hiring materials. This means shouting about it in your job description and job ad, as well as showcasing it throughout your online presence (think your website and social media).
It also pays to highlight exactly how an IT professional can make a difference by working for you ie ‘You’ll use your coding skills to create a new app to help us reach more people about men’s mental health and achieve our goal of reducing the occurrence of depression, anxiety and suicide.’

Know your market and target appropriately

There is an abundance of IT jobs on offer.
In fact, the 2018 Australian Computer Society Digital Pulse revealed that the Australian economy will likely need to find more than 100,000 additional tech workers in the next five years. This takes the total of required tech employees to over 750,000 people by 2023. So your available role needs to stand out. It makes sense then to specifically target your recruitment materials to ensure you attract the right professionals. The only way to do this is to understand your audience and adapt your attraction strategy accordingly.
Stack Overflow, a leading IT forum, recently surveyed over 100,000 developers worldwide about their job searches. They uncovered a range of interesting results. These may help you when it comes to defining who you need, and how to get them to apply for your job. Check out their findings here.
Some of the key takeaways from this research include that as a group, IT professional’s top priority is compensation & benefits. But they weren’t fussed about benefits such as fitness programs or free meals, preferring health insurance, computer/office equipment allowance, conference/education budget and stock options/shares instead.
The second & third priorities were the languages & technologies they’ll work with, and opportunities for professional development.
So what does this mean for your recruitment materials?
If you’re in a position to be an early adopter of new software, this is particularly enticing for developers or coders. Highlight this.
But if you’re a little behind in the technology times, market your job as one that will give an IT professional the chance to take the lead in your digital transformation … and help achieve your company goals in the process
For not-for-profits, another important tip when crafting your recruitment package is to ensure you fully understand the type of skills you need. This is easier said than done, especially if you or your HR personnel don’t have a tech background. For instance, do you need a back-end, front-end, or full-stack developer? If you’re struggling in this area, we’d love to help.

Take a look at your culture

The way you work day to day should back up your ‘why’. All employees, whether they are tech-based or not, will quickly pick up if something is off in this area. An example: you say you value people thinking outside the box, but in company-wide meetings, ideas are consistently shot down and not given ample time to be explored. Instead, you stick to the line ‘we’ve always done it this’ way; a trap many not-for-profits easily fall into all too often.
Many tech professionals also enjoy a culture that offers challenging work with a chance for continued growth or lateral moves. The ability to not take yourself too seriously scores quite a few brownie points too.

Review your online presence

These days, most potential employees check you out thoroughly online before applying for your role. What does your social presence say about you? Does it capture why people would want to work with you?
Build your online presence to answer this question – and more – through blog articles and social media content, ensuring they support your why along the way. Content such as current employees speaking about what it’s like to work with you, updates on successes, office events etc. It doesn’t hurt to give your marketing materials a once over as well to make sure they’re ‘on brand’.
As for social media, the following seem to be the most popular amongst the tech set, so it’d be a good move to use them regularly:

  • Twitter: It’s the most popular social media platform for programmers, probably because it’s word-limited and quick to use. You can easily get started by sharing a link to a success story, an ongoing project or post your job opening.
  • Vlogging via YouTube: Meet programmers where they are – trawling YouTube. There’s a plethora of company-related topics you can vlog about. Get creative.
  • LinkedIn: Regularly update your profile with new articles and relevant content for your target market.

While this blog is about how employees can leverage social media, the same principles apply to your business.
With a combined audience of over 55,000 IT, Digital and Business Transformation connections and followers on LinkedIn, Finite IT can become an extension of your audience. Get in touch with us here about how we can help.

Showcase your best during your recruitment campaign

Developing your recruitment materials (job ad and job description) is crucial to attracting the right talent. They should include your why, a bit about your culture, and benefits too – perhaps it’s a great work/life balance with a time-in-lieu option or the chance to work remotely.
The interview and offer stage is an opportunity to expand on what makes you a great choice over another organisation. Up the ante by inviting some of your best people (particularly if they are in your tech team) to interviews. Great talent attracts great talent.
If you’d like a little more assistance in developing your recruitment campaign, interviewing or in finding the right tech talent for your team, let us know. We’d love to help
And once you’ve secured some great tech talent, here are top ways to make sure you keep them!

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