Standing out in an industry of innovators
In 2020 and into the first half of 2021, as the pandemic disrupted markets, communities and economies, many tech companies moved decisively toward a new normal. Whether through virtual business operations, digital workplaces or a productive, distributed workforce — innovative tech companies have continued to lead and transform the industry.
According to Mercer’s 2021 Global Talent Trends research, the #1 investment area in 2021 for tech employers was energizing the employee experience, which was 2.1x higher than the all industry average, and the #2 investment area was defining future workforce needs. Not surprisingly, a hallmark of the most innovative tech companies is that they place extraordinary pressures on employee experience and people programs. In our observation, the single biggest differentiator between innovative and non-innovative organizations was their focus on designing an employee experience and capabilities/programs for the future workforce.
Mercer’s Building Innovation-Driven Tech Workplaces (ITWs) research identifies key workplace factors differentiating the most innovative, people-oriented technology organizations from the rest. Our 2020-21 ITW research, explored five dimensions that set ITWs apart from the rest of tech. These dimensions were established in our 2019 study, and this research confirms and broadens our understanding of how ITW workplaces create a different employee experience.
Impact-driven vision and culture
Hybrid skills and learning experiences
Inclusive people programs and processes
Flexible organizational architectures
Focus on customer needs
Iterate through small bets
Provide psychological safety
Encourage new perspectives
Build next-generation skills
Prioritize HR service over process
Design for collaboration
Promote extreme ownership
Design agile structures and roles
Become digital by choice
Empower virtual, distributed teams
Enable information access and transparency
An ITW’s journey toward becoming an employer of choice for women in tech
One ITW we interviewed felt that women were underrepresented — not only in their organizations but also in the tech industry as a whole — and the leadership team wanted to do something about it. To address the missed opportunity, the firm wanted to become a talent magnet for women by creating an inclusive workplace with strong opportunities to gain and develop technical skills.
The company did this by:
The company soon noticed an overall uptick in interest from prospective employees, not just from women. The firm also realized productivity gains across the organization, which it attributed to a more inclusive workforce and diverse points of view. This resulted in novel ideas on how to refine legacy business processes and net-new products and services. Increased female representation also propelled other diversity initiatives, creating opportunities to expand the representation and participation of nontraditional tech talent, such as workers with disabilities, former military members and others.
ITWs are designed for uncertain times. ITWs have built risk-friendly cultures, encourage continuous learning, create people programs that focus on employee experience, simplify organizational structures, and create transparent, digital workplaces. These attributes serve ITWs exceptionally well in the remote, digital workplace. As evidenced by business results, these technology companies have continued to grow, innovate and outperform the industry.