Organizations are at a crossroads. Search for talent in data science has grown in recent years along with widespread perceptions of artificial intelligence and machine learning, technological advances, and data-seeking businesses. As the competition for innovation shows no signs of stopping, filling these open positions requires organizations to go beyond salaries and traditional benefits in the workplace to attract and retain talent in data science and software engineering. By rethinking their approaches to recruiting, hiring and managing employees, organizations can better identify the “intangible” aspects of hiring, such as culture and autonomy in the workplacethat employees are valued.

Here are three ways organizations can attract candidates for data science and software engineering today:

1. Show employees how you will help them grow

Against the background of the Great Resignation and the Great Displacement, millions of Americans have given up their jobs to find professional opportunities that better match the diverse list of desired options – one of which is the opportunity for growth. Understanding how they can grow in their roles has always been there was important for employees who want clarity about their career trajectories. This requires a commitment from employers to support the professional development of their employees and to ensure transparency about their potential growth paths within the company.

Leaders need to create clear career mapping pathways for individual associates and managers, allowing everyone to see the steps needed to achieve their goals. If career paths are announced from the outset, organizations will be able to welcome the best practitioners and software around the world, while embracing a culture of trust and transparency.

Encourage data scientists and engineers to join community forums and attend industry events for more in-depth professional development opportunities. Opportunities like these allow companies to promote individual growth and connect with potential candidates in the community.

2. Go beyond traditional benefits

Proposals for salaries and social security are two of the most basic incomes of employees that companies default. While these are key elements in attracting and retaining talent, organizations need to think outside the box about other creative benefits desired by today’s candidates.

Increasingly, organizations that prioritize the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of employees have a competitive advantage over others. For example, p burned out becoming a common concern among industries, companies need to consider certain company-wide weekends to relax and recharge. Work benefits such as quarterly wellness scholarships, non-meeting days or subscriptions to companies such as Talkspace or Calm show employees how much the organization cares about them. It is also important to provide time and space for employees to do the work they are most passionate about. Organizations should consider holding consecutive hackathon days or “open source Fridays” where data scientists and engineers can contribute to open source projects of interest.

Even when it comes to more traditional aspects of compensation, such as salary, you strive to be open to innovation and in tune with the needs of today’s professionals. Offer transparency of salaries for each employee, with benchmarks in the industry for their rank, where they live and how their salary is compared to other jobs with the same title. Structure wage increases based on industry indicators for a specific role within a specific labor market and then share these indicators for transparency.

3. Stay engaged with employees and welcome feedback

As the last two years have shown, we must be ready to continually improve workplace cultures and employee experiences in response to the changing world. To this end, it is also important to remain responsive to employee feedback and suggestions while change is managed together.

The best data scientists follow what their data tells them – if there is no open dialogue between employees and company executives, organizations ignore a crucial source of data in the company’s decision-making culture. Some organizations can succeed by introducing senior management working hours, anonymous monthly Ask Me Everything sessions, two-year employee engagement surveys, and recurring pulse surveys.

These efforts ensure that organizations do not stay stagnant and far from what is most important to employees, but rather take a empathetic and responsive approach to meet the needs of their people.

Put employees first today and every day

With an abundance of open positions and a seemingly limited number of candidates, the needs of employees must be at the forefront of attracting and retaining the best possible talent.

As data researchers seek personal and professional roles, it is essential that organizations be explicit in the way they prioritize employee growth, the benefits offered beyond traditional backgrounds, and how the company culture is nurtured.

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