If You Want to Keep the Best Talent in Tech, Balance Is the Key

Work/life balance is a common challenge for women in the workplace, but it’s not just a women’s issue, or even just an employee issue. It’s a business issue, and a real threat to organizations who aren’t thinking about how address it.

Having spent most of my career in Silicon Valley, I’ve seen a vast shift in the way companies think about the cultures they create. Early in my career, working at a startup meant little to no boundaries between work and personal life. Long, odd, and unexpected hours were the expectation.

In recent years, though, many organizations have adopted a different outlook, providing additional parental benefits, longer maternity leave, and overall more flexibility. The reality is that companies that don’t make work/life balance a priority face an increasing competitive disadvantage in attracting and retaining quality talent.

As Chief People Officer at The Climate Corporation, I stay on top of key trends in talent acquisition and retention, and the growing focus on work-life balance is one of the most important. This particularly applies to tech-focused organizations hoping to expand gender diversity in the workforce. Organizations are finding that, to attract the best talent, they must make employees a priority, enable women to balance work and the caregiver roles they often fill, and balance growing their business with keeping their employees engaged and motivated.

I’ve seen this evolution at Climate. I’ve always believed that you get the best out of people when you find ways to meet their needs—a philosophy followed at every level at Climate. One of the things I admire most about our leadership team is the way they value the whole employee. They understand the sacrifices employees make and encourage them to take care of their families, be with their friends, and do things that make them happy.

Luckily, many other companies have begun to shift their attitudes toward work/life balance in a similar direction. Policy changes, like additional family leave and flexible time off, provide options for employees.   There have also been changes in parental leave, making this benefit more inclusive and accessible for different types of families—a great development!

It’s my hope that more organizations will adopt this outlook and continue advancing our collective thinking on how to create more inclusive policies and cultures. One thing is for certain, though: Companies that don’t address these needs will find themselves lagging in the race for talent.