Clicking with tech talent

January 25, 2012

How can supermarkets grow their appeals to technology workers they’ll need to drive e-commerce and satisfy omni-channel shoppers?

Want to know what might be behind infamous website crashes by Target in 2011, and the inability of many customers to complete orders with Best Buy online this past Christmas? 

If you’re a mainstream retailer struggling with your own e-commerce initiatives, you may already suspect the reason:  You’re not sexy enough to attract the highest-quality software developers. Not when Google, Apple and Facebook are only three of the biggest tech names, and they’re followed by legions of youth-acculturated tech startups that act as absolute magnets.

Sure, your payroll dollars might compete. But you’re not building instant millionaires with stock options and IPOs. And when it comes to culture, supermarkets and tech companies are pretty much two different worlds.

This is no small problem, since online sales growth far outpaces brick-and-mortar sales growth on a percentage basis – and presentations at last week’s National Retail Federal Convention spoke repeatedly of the need to satisfy demands of the growing omni-channel shoppers.

What to do? Loosen up. Make it a priority to get to know this generation that you’ll rely on to provide your tech backbone in the near future.  Learn their likes and dislikes about work and act accordingly, we suggest at The Lempert Report. This could mean following obvious clues from what is known about Google – such as chefs on staff and free meals, exercise facilities on premises, and dogs coming to work. But it could also mean a different human resources approach and work structure within IT, perhaps with more freedoms and responsibilities encouraging employees to make a big difference and be rewarded for it.

Who knows? This concept might spread and make working for your company better for everyone.