“The truth is, there’s always someone who can offer your engineers a higher salary or a fancier title,” Jason Hoffman, CTO and founder of cloud infrastructure company Joyent, writes in a piece at All Things Digital.
That’s always a problem for startups that can’t begin to match big spenders such as Google and other big names in Silicon Valley.
The way for startups to lure talent, Hoffman says, is with vision, responsibility and recognition.
He writes of his experience working as a medical researcher:
… Scientists don’t work in a lab to sequence DNA. They work in the lab to cure cancer.
Doctors give up lunches, time with their families, sleep and whatever else they could be doing during the day and night for even the slightest breakthrough. They give their time and energy because they’re inspired by the purpose.
IT pros long for that same sense of purpose. He writes:
Too often in the IT industry we focus on technology and tools instead of their higher purpose and relationship to the rest of the world. Giving away free meals might seem nice, but the real key to attracting and retaining talent is that you must give them a higher purpose than the hammer that they’re swinging.
An InfoWorld article on the “2013 State of DevOps Report” from Puppet Labs and IT Revolution Press urges organizations to cultivate a devops-friendly culture promoting interaction between the development team and IT operations to start working toward the same goals. It’s that vision thing again.
It also urges fostering current employees’ skills:
“You almost certainly have people with devops skills already working for you,” the report notes. “You don’t need to hire a devops team and create yet another functional silo. Instead, experiment with embedding ops and dev people on the opposite team, or creating a cross-functional team responsible for delivering a specific product or service.”