“Capital goes where it’s treated well,” banker Walter Wriston famously said. The Citicorp CEO was talking about money, but in today’s tech industry, it’s human capital that’s most precious. Software developers can afford to be picky, and they’re famously mobile. So we’re proud that tech workers have chosen Xero as the most attractive employer in Melbourne, according to a global survey from recruiting platform Hired.
Xero was ranked the top employer brand in the Australian city of 4.7 million people, followed by REA, Envato and ThoughtWorks. That puts Xero in the same class as Google, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Boeing, which were also No. 1 in their respective cities. (See here for the full Hired report.)
Surprisingly, some of the biggest tech brands — Apple, Facebook, Amazon.com — were outranked by smaller companies or are missing from the list entirely. That suggests tech workers are looking for more than just a household name and a high-flying stock price. Many want to develop new skills and join a company with a strong culture that aligns with their values.
So what are those values? Compensation is of course a factor. But tech workers in London, Sydney and Melbourne showed the least concern when it came to salary. Flexible working arrangements ranked high on their list. Why enforce a 9-to-5 workday when many employees perform best at different hours of the day?
At Xero, some employees log on at 7am, take a break to drop their kids at school, and pick back up where they left off. Others start their day closer to 10am, and stay a bit later in the afternoon. Others still work from home one or two days a week, and attend meetings by video chat. The question in every Xero department is not “Should we offer flexible work arrangements?” but rather “If not, why not?”
“As a global tech company, we help small businesses run their operations from anywhere,” says James O’Reilly, Talent Acquisition Lead for Xero Australia. “It makes sense to give our staff the tools to work from anywhere at any time. It’s good for our people and good for our company.”
Every new employee at the Melbourne office is issued a laptop and is trusted to do his or her best work whether at a standing desk, in a breakout room or at a cafe a few doors down. It creates a workforce of almost 350 people mixing, sharing ideas and discovering synergies absent when employees are tethered to their desk.
Xero constantly encourages employees to learn new skills. In addition to internal learning and development options, Product employees have access to subscription services like Pluralsight (offering unlimited online developer training), AWS training, code clubs, Toastmaster sessions, technical conferences and opportunities to mentor and develop the next generation through community programs like the Tech Girl Movement and Code the Future.
In the end, it’s about building cognitively diverse teams that drive innovation and a culture of learning, rather than a culture of knowing where knowledge is transmitted top-down.
“We want Xero to be the last place our people ever work,” Xero founder Rod Drury has said. It’s gratifying to see his vision recognised by the Melbourne tech community.
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