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Startup or a tech giant – three principles for attracting great tech talent

Robert Chew, Chairman, Best Tech Company to Work For Awards, Singapore Computer Society | Dec. 3, 2014
The three key areas that tech companies should plan for in order to attract and retain tech talent are culture, employee engagement and mentorship.

A timeless argument in the technology industry - "Should I work for a small startup or join a Fortune 500 company?" The pros and cons for both have been discussed and debated to death. At the end of the day, there are plenty of cases where job-seekers have joined large companies and disliked it as well as cases where job-seekers have gone the startup route and disliked it. Why does this happen?

An employees' happiness and job satisfaction comes down to a lot more than the company size; it comes down to the company culture, employee engagement and mentorship. These are three key areas that all technology companies, big or small, should plan for in order to retain and attract the top tech talent the industry has to offer.


Culture is one of the most important aspects in determining a good tech company. Many employees spend more than 40 hours a week at the workplace, and the company culture affects not just their work lives but also their personal lives.

For top technology companies, having a strong culture is not just a priority, but a strategic initiative. Like it or not, employees talk to their friends, peers, partners and families about their jobs. If your company does not have a good culture, you can be certain that people within the industry will know about it, making it hard to attract top tech talent. Conversely, positive stories from your employees go a long way in building a reputation for your company.

The vision, mission and values of the company are important in driving culture, but more importantly is the company's efforts in establishing the culture and the mindset among individuals, motivating them to work together, innovate and excel at their jobs.

Employee Engagement

Often overlooked by companies, regular employee engagement plays a key role in retaining tech talent. How often do you positively engage with your employees? How many of them do you know at a personal level, rather than just job titles?

In an industry that is changing every day, employees need constant communication in terms of how new technologies affect the company and how employees can develop skills to keep up with the industry trends. Through active engagement, tech companies can improve staff morale, skill sets and be known across the industry as working hard for their employees development; a huge pull for tech employees looking for a job.


A good mentor can mean the difference between retaining or losing tech talent. The problem is that with heavy workloads and differing personalities, it is not always an easy process. Not everyone is a manager but is often put in a position of mentor.


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