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Over the past decade, leaders of organizations from across a wide range of sectors have sought to learn lessons on culture and talent from the world’s biggest tech companies. This is down the phenomenal commercial success of giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google – and their ability to attract some of the world’s most talented people to work for them. Concepts such as “fail fast” and “move fast and break things”, which are heavily associated with technological innovation, are now widely touted as important principles of business success.
Today, however, the employer brand of the big tech giants is starting to become tarnished. This is partly due to growing concerns around data privacy and ethical issues relating to the development of technology. But it has also come about as a result of the working cultures and environments that these companies have created.
Whereas they were once famed for cultures that were agile, friendly and meritocratic, with free food available in the workplace, the tech giants are now increasingly associated with long hours, employee burnout and cumbersome corporate structures. Their innovation strategies seem to be largely about acquiring smaller and more innovative businesses than themselves. As a result, while the big tech firms still dominate employer attractiveness rankings, the kind of talent that they most want to attract often searches out smaller tech companies instead. Typically these are companies that are perceived to be more in touch with their employees and give them genuine opportunities to be creative.