Competing with Google and Amazon to Retain Talent

Amazon recently announced that it would be building a new headquarters in New York City and Virginia, causing widespread panic among employers in those regions. Now another big name is slated to move into New York City, as well: Google. With these two corporate giants headed to the East Coast, what does this mean for small businesses that are already struggling to attract and retain talent in this tight labor market?


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To stay ahead of talent demands, Ian Cook, vice president of People Solutions at Visier, provides some insight for employers and recruiters.

Who’s Most Likely to Quit and Why?

While these big names appeal to jobseekers, they also appeal to your current workforce, who may be looking for a change of scenery or looking for an opportunity to jump on board with these big names. So, who’s most likely to quit and why?
According to Cook, “Google and Amazon have the reputation of being great places to build a career and build a résumé. The people you should be most concerned about losing are those who are ambitious and competent. Those who are most likely to quit are the people who are looking for the opportunity to test themselves in a challenging environment.”

Which Managers Are Most Likely to Lose People?

While you can’t stop an ambitious employee from seeking “greener pastures,” you should be aware of the working environment of employees who may be on the fence about leaving. And this starts with your management team. Cook says, “The managers who are most likely to lose people are the ones that are not actively paying attention to the work and career interests of their people.”
“Managers who are too focused on their operational tasks and do not take time to check in with their team about their career interests have the highest risk of losing team members,” he adds. In order to retain these workers, employers and managers would be wise to invest in their teams’ career interests.
Vijay Sundaram, Chief Strategy Officer at Zoho, shares these tips for investing in your current workforce:

  • Offer a rotational program where employees get to experience new and different areas of the business.
  • Create career maps that help employees explore their career development opportunities and visualize areas of growth.
  • Consider implementing a continuous, year-round feedback loop. This way, managers can gauge employee performance and address issues early before they become a real problem. This also puts managers on notice about who is potentially more likely to leave if they express displeasure during continuous meetings.

How Would Companywide Salaries Be Influenced by Google’s Entry into the City?

With the labor market so tight, employers are using competitive salaries and benefits to attract and retain talent. However, for small businesses, it may be difficult to compete with giant corporations. Cook says that
the influence on salaries may not be companywide, adding that it is possible that there will be upward pressure on certain key roles or scarce skills.
“The reason Google and Amazon are moving to new places is because they can no longer find enough people at the right price to deliver on their business goals. So, it is not automatic that wages will increase—Amazon is interested in reducing its wage bill, that is part of the reason they are moving to new locations,” Cook says.
He adds, “However, it is likely that over time, wages in these areas will increase, as will the availability and quality of talent. This ‘clustering’ effect can be beneficial for all organizations in the area. There is a reason so many successful start-ups have come from the Bay Area.”
Could New York City become the tech capital of the East Coast? The answer to this question remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: In order to compete with these giant corporations, you must ensure that your current workforce is happy and engaged.