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Hiring in High Tech: Navigating the Workforce Shift

March 30, 2022

The workforce shift is undeniable: from career changes to return to office, from remote work to global, flexible teams, the trends we see today will permanently alter worker expectations.

The tech industry has long led the way for hybrid approaches to work. All eyes are on these companies of all sizes as the “return to office” discussion becomes the forefront of many employer-employee relationships, LinkedIn conversations, and media speculation.

What does remote work look like in Big Tech vs. start-ups? It’s a topic CNN recently reported, saying, “Some startup founders say they are, in fact, now at an advantage, as big companies tinker with (and in some cases, backtrack on) various office return policies. Unlike their larger peers, who are saddled with physical spaces and decades of history, these startups can come up with new policies and a workplace culture from scratch.”

It’s true: established startups have a real opportunity to embrace the shift in worker expectations in a big way, and not just in return to office policies. 

The Great Resignation: Understanding What Employees Want 

From my observations, during this time coined the “Great Resignation,” many candidates are seeking an upgrade or change in their career entirely. As Vice President of Human Resources at a company growing rapidly amid this time, I see candidates at all levels for the full spectrum of job opportunities. Those with excellent work experience and valuable skillsets typically have several options. They’re looking to enhance three or four variables at a time.  

Sure, enhanced compensation is an easy answer, but qualified candidates seeking a new role have more complex interests. I’ve heard many say they want access to leadership, career growth, family-friendly culture, and diverse & inclusive environments. Further, some seek a change in company size, a new industry, or build up their startup experience.

Interestingly, remote-only isn’t the most significant factor. Many job seekers (and our current team members) have expressed a desire for the flexibility to work remotely and in the office. Candidates are broadening their search areas. I have seen an increase in candidates that focus on roles at tech companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, with remote work available despite living outside of California.  

Fully Remote Work, Fully In-Office, or Hybrid? 

One thing is clear: there is not a one-size-fits-all decision to remote vs. office work, and it’s crucial employers glean perspectives from their team members. It isn’t just job seekers who are watching your company’s decision on the future of in-person work.

At Trifacta, we’ve run numerous surveys, and the data shows that about 50% of our workforce would like a hybrid model, where they visit the office 2-3 times a week once offices reopen. The remaining population is split between being fully remote and entirely in the office. We’re seeing new grads and younger generations eager to return to an office environment, as it provides a social network, office perks, and space outside of smaller apartments or family homes.  

On the other hand, for employees with responsibilities like children or elderly parents, many are opting for fully remote, with a handful who want to return to an office close by as it provides a quiet workspace outside the home.  

So, we embrace what we like to call “remote-centric” and take a hybrid approach to accommodate the various needs and life stages of our employee population. I anticipate individual preferences may evolve, with people opting in and out of the office as time, responsibilities, and proximity permit.  

Flexibility: The Most Meaningful Perk, Globally

More and more workers are prioritizing flexibility over other perks. But, what does it mean to be flexible? Is it enough to be able to bow out a few minutes early to swing by an event, or is it logging any hours, any days that work best for you?

At Trifacta, flexibility means having the option to choose where you work and the ability to plan your day according to the needs of your team. When team members don’t need to overlap, individuals can organize their day according to when they have time to focus or get their best work done. To support asynchronous work, we offer an array of communication tools and channels where team members can readily pick up where someone else left off.  

These channels are also vital when considering a global workforce. Trifacta has long had a worldwide presence. Remote options and the workforce shift have made the international office ever more accessible and forefront of future work. 

Having a global workforce is exciting, as it opens up possibilities to learn and grow around the world. It offers a chance to incorporate different cultures, diversity of thought, and new ways of working. We see a more mobile workforce, people moving between cities and countries, experiencing new surroundings while working alongside the same people they love.  

With people in different geographies, we do experience logistical complexity when planning meetings across time zones or finding the right team-building event that is inclusive yet virtual.  It requires each of us to be mindful about if/when we need a meeting. When a meeting does land on the calendar, we ensure the time is well spent by having a clear agenda and objectives.

Top Reasons to Make a Career Change

As we continually onboard new team members, we ask what brought them through our virtual doors. The top reason? The people.

Even remotely, especially remotely, candidates want to work with good people. Knowing that the water cooler chat is limited, job seekers are even more conscious of if they “click” with their potential manager and team. Building the trust necessary for a high-performance team is a worthy challenge in person, and it’s critical with remote teams.

The second reason we hear from new team members is the potential for career growth. Of course, this means different things to different people at companies of all different sizes. We’ve found people are often intentional in their desire to work at a B2B, SaaS start-up. No matter what the career path might look like, whether it’s well established or possibly requires a little creative off-roading, candidates need to see support and a way forward for their personal growth.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, job seekers we’ve seen want to see a commitment to diversity and inclusion. It’s not an item that is a simple checkbox—it’s an ongoing process, a commitment to listening, learning, growing, and implementing.

Curious about our current openings or want to learn more about our company values and culture?