Putting Your People in the Spotlight

The current state of the tech industry means that hiring is extremely tough on everyone. Every single client of mine reports hiring as one of their biggest efforts. I believe a game-changer in the long term is to create a brand of technical excellence. Such a brand requires your technical people to be in the spotlight.

They need to be out there, virtually and physically. Writing posts, hosting meetups, contributing code. It’s amazing how training these muscles creates a team that continually improves itself. If they’re great at sharing knowledge externally, they’re likely to be sharing knowledge quite well internally as well. If they’re constantly learning, they’re happier, smarter, and more productive.

We can talk about creating such a culture in a different article (drop me a line if you’d like my thoughts earlier). What I’m more concerned with is the thinking of too many executives that such a culture is putting them in danger.

Whenever I hear ”if we put them in the spotlight, they’ll just get poached faster” I recall this internet meme about training which I previously thought was made up:

“What if we spend time and money training them and they end up leaving?”

“Well, what if we don’t – and they stay?”

Instead of shielding your team from the light, gently nudge them to it. Let them bask in it. If I told you to refrain from giving someone too many challenging tasks so they won’t become “overqualified,” you’d throw me out of the room. Same goes here. You should know your people are happy and growing. A conference talk won’t make them leave any earlier. Hosting meetups is likely to provide you with more leads, not end up with an empty office.

Think positive. No growth comes from over-protectiveness, including organization growth.