December 08, 2000, 12:24 PM — The lure of the start-up is making it increasingly difficult to retain
employees, both at large corporations and Internet technology companies. These tips
will help your company stay competitive and attractive to your employees.
HOW DO INTERNET and technology companies handle human resources issues on Internet
time? Lee Miller, a consultant and head of human resources at a technology company,
says that the key is flexibility.
1. Timing is everything
Miller says that technology companies face many of the same HR issues that brick-
and-mortar companies do. The difference is how fast they occur and how
often. "Technology companies move on Internet time. Issues arise in six months to a
year vs. much longer periods of time for traditional companies," Miller says. "You need
to be flexible in how you approach employment issues and decide what makes sense in
2. Do a little marketing
According to Miller, technology companies face a double-edged sword. "You don't
want to hire someone who has stayed in the same position for years. You need employees
who like change, like the fast pace, and are open to constantly learning and growing
with the company." But how do you hire someone who only stays in a position for a two
to three years and expect them to stay with your company for years? Miller says the key
is to sell the employee on the company -- to emphasize that the company strongly urges
employees to look ahead to where they want to be professionally and to communicate that
with their managers.
3. Head employees off at the pass
Despite high turnover among IT employees in technology companies, steps can be
taken to decrease turnover, Miller says. For example, Miller says managers should be
checking the job boards for employee résumés; this will tip them off to
employees who are looking and will give managers the opportunity to approach employees
they'd like to retain.
4. Start-ups equal opportunity
Miller says that start-ups need to have HR professionals in place who can sell
employees on the vision of the company. "You cannot really compete on salary anymore,"
Miller says. "You need to be able to sell potential employees on why your company is
going places." Make your company a place where employees feel as if they are building
something. Giving them a stake in a company that has a clear vision and drive will keep
employees interested in the company and their own careers.