Hiring Excellence in Technology Talent - Berlin

Hiring Excellence in Technology Talent

See what happened at our event in Berlin with Zalando on 'Hiring Excellence in Technology Talent'.

The Business Transformation Network recently hosted an event on ‘Hiring Excellence in Technology Talent’ in partnership with Zalando, which consisted of a panel discussion with Manjuri Sinha (Global Senior Team Lead - Technology Talent at Zalando), Tim A. Ackermann (ex-Global Head of Talent Acquisition and Experience at Lidl), DeeDee Doke (Editor at Recruiter Magazine) & Gloria Rupprecht (Product Design Operations Lead at Zalando). Zalando is Europe’s leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle.


The panel session was varied, touching on a wide variety of points around Hiring Excellence in Technology Talent, focusing on a few main concepts:

1. Talent Attraction

2. Diversity and Inclusion

3. Digitalisation and social media

Sourcing and hiring digital talent is a challenge that all companies are facing as they look to keep up with the ever-evolving customer landscape, so how can organisations leverage the talent that they already have internally to take advantage of digitally savvy employees and close the digital skills gap?


Talent Attraction

How has the changing job market influenced what is important to candidates?

During times of uncertainty and drastic change, like the modern business world, people resort back to their basic levels of need, making concepts like Maslow's hierarchy of needs more prominent, with the modern-day focus returning to that of security within their position. However, having recognised this requirement for security within the workforce, candidates are acting in the opposite way, tending to prefer a start-up to large corporations. There are many reasons for this shift in preference, however, the main reason seemed to be based on the increased levels of flexibility within start-ups compared to corporates, but also considering the need for security, a number of start-ups provide employees with shares in the company. This, in turn, provides a level of security that a large corporation may not be able to provide, especially during times of social, political and economic uncertainty. 

What are the most innovative ways to attract talent today?

Talent attraction is something a lot of organisations are struggling with today, in a saturated market where candidates have a lot more power than previously, understanding how to attract the right people is integral. Throughout the conversation, there were examples of innovative ways to attract talent, with a large amount of emphasis on the importance of shares as an offering when trying to attract new talent. Whilst on this topic, ways in which to attract and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce were deliberated, with how to attract women in the technology space taking on a large area of the conversation. Some examples of innovative ways of attracting women were highlighted, with campaigns like 'Women who Rock', which is used as a talent attraction tool to stress the value of their careers and their progression and also demonstrate that the company are innovative and forward thinking.


Diversity and Inclusion

How can organisations look to actively seek to employ a diverse workforce?

Diversity is a common issue that many organisations are trying to tackle, but not all are succeeding. When considering hiring inclusively, many organisations tend to focus on the specifics of increasing the representation of gender and race, but age should also be a consideration. This is an enormous problem, as we are currently working with an ageing workforce, that organisations are excluding. The best way discussed for attracting diverse candidates is through events and meet-ups that attract different talent pools, from returning mothers, to the ageing population. From this, organisations need to start offering more inclusive benefits, like childcare options or 'working out loud' to make it easier for working parents. 

It was further established that organisations are overlooking the importance of neurodiversity in business at the moment. Currently, the key focus seems to be on gender and race in the workplace, however, neuro-divergent recruiting can bring a fresh perspective to the organisation and any problems that they are facing. 

What is the most innovative way of attracting diversity?

When organisations are talking about attracting talent, they tend to focus on 'new' talent, concentrating on people in their 20s and 30s. However, the largest area of the market is the 40s to 60s bracket, who don't necessarily care for the same attraction techniques that the younger generations do, so you need to create varying strategies for the different groups. The general consensus was that money was predominantly a 'hygiene factor', but not the driving force behind attracting talent. The most innovative forms of attraction concentrate on the culture, employee engagement and creating a sense of fun at work whilst redeploying and re-educating people. Another key way to attract talent is by encouraging the workforce to engage with a purpose they care about and take ownership of that, as can be seen with people encouraging sustainability in their organisations.

One of the best attraction tools that seem to have consistent success are the videos that corporate firms produce, as they show what it's like to work there and potential employees can gauge if they can bring their authentic self to work or not. Employer branding is integral to talent attraction as it can create a persona for the organisation and help candidates identify the message the organisation wants to give. 


Digitalisation and Social Media

As firms continue to increase the digitisation of their operations, is the digital skills gap widening or narrowing?

We are operating in an era when organisations are consistently digitalising their processes, but this may be widening the digital skills gap within organisations. The more organisations add new technology into their processes, the more noise people are experiencing in their day to day lives, so how can we cut through this? There are many ways to reduce the skills gap, predominantly by hiring the right people with the right skills, that they can pass on to a wider team. Organisations should adopt gamification and neuroscience when hiring, through companies like pymetrics, to hiring people with the potential for decreasing the skills gap. 

The importance of redeployment and re-educating existing talent cannot be ignored. Hiring for potential, and not just skill, means that organisations can hire senior leaders that can coach their team to decrease the skills gap and upskill the wider team and organisation as a whole.


In short, the most drastic changes for organisations to encourage hiring excellence in tech talent are three-fold:

  • Recruiters need to understand exactly what they're looking for within a role and how they search for the right people to fit the organisation's needs as well as wants.
  • Transparency is key as it creates a concept of trust between the organisation, employees and recruiters. If this is broken to start with retention will be difficult as employees may have been hired based on false pretences.
  • Continuous learning and understanding on the side of the recruiter is integral. By understanding the niche requirements of a team, organisation or role, the recruiter can create excellence in the way they hire.


The full event conversation is available as a podcast. Listen here.

Keep your eye out for more events like this at www.thebtn.tv/events

This event write-up is exclusive to The Business Transformation Network.