When Amazon Moves In, Will Your People Move Out?

Amazon’s decision to split its headquarters between New York and Virginia may be old news, but its implications have yet to be seen. At first glance, the combined 50,000 new jobs may seem like a dream come true as local talent will have a wealth of new roles and opportunities to pursue. Even Amazon’s minimum wage raise to $15 per hour seems too good to be true, giving the tech giant a clear advantage when it comes to attracting local talent.

Yes, these jobs will benefit the job market, but will it come at the disadvantage of the local tech community?

The competition to attract and retain top tech talent is already cutthroat, with 65% of CIOs admitting that hiring challenges are hurting the industry. As technology becomes a more prominent part of every organization, local businesses are no match for tech titans with unlimited resources who can pull out all the stops to hire the top talent. So how can local companies retain their top employees once Amazon moves in?

Keep employees engaged

 Only 15% of the current world workforce is fully engaged with their company, finds Gallup. When employees are disengaged from their organization, not only does productivity suffer, but employees are more likely to seek other job opportunities. However, increasing and improving collaboration among employees is a natural way to build engagement. Easier said than done, right?

An Igloo Software study found that workers spend nearly 20% of the workweek looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues, with 32% avoiding sharing documents because they take too long to find. When tracking down basic information and sharing across teams becomes a painful and timely process, teams become siloed and more disengaged than ever.

Employers can easily keep employees in the loop and up-to-date by creating a digital destination that houses all resources and communications. By creating a single destination where employees can go for all recent announcements, policies and procedures, employees are less likely to run into any knowledge sharing roadblocks. When creating this destination, organizations can tailor the platform to meet their engagement needs, adding in discussion forums, mentorship programs, training modules, leadership blogs and internal social media channels to keep employees connected to each other and their employer.

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Create flexible work opportunities

Work-life balance is a growing priority for the workforce with many employees seeing remote work as the go-to solution. In fact, 70% of millennials have considered leaving a job for another with more flexible work options; however, only about half of older workers feel the same.

Implementing a digital workplace that becomes the destination for all employees to communicate, collaborate and share knowledge allows remote employees to participate in conversations and workflows that would normally be fulfilled by visiting a coworker’s office or desk. While it may seem like a simple need, having access to easy communication and collaboration channels prevents remote employees from feeling disconnected.

Amazon’s big move isn’t so different from the hiring struggles every tech company is facing. The talent shortage has created recruiting roadblocks, but it’s an important opportunity for companies to take stock of their employee experience by asking questions like, “Do my employees consider this a positive environment?” or “What am I actively doing to enhance the workplace culture at my organization?” Posing these questions can highlight areas for companies to improve their culture.

East coast tech companies may have a big challenge ahead of them as they compete to win over the hearts of talent as Amazon moves in. But by cultivating an inclusive, collaborative and flexible environment for employees to work in, organizations can make employees feel valued and in turn increase loyalty. While it may seem counter-intuitive, the technology offered to employees can play a big role in this as more workplaces move online. By creating spaces to connect people, processes and information online, employees naturally become more engaged and happy to be where they are.

Mike Hicks brings 20 years of experience to Igloo and leads all marketing efforts, including responsibility for bringing new products and services to market. Mike is a recognized leader in global enterprise software marketing and his career includes senior roles at integrated communications agencies and global enterprise software companies. Prior to joining Igloo, Mike led enterprise marketing and global demand generation for the software portfolio at BlackBerry through their shift to being a software-driven company.

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