Our top 10 takeaways from Silicon Valley

Here at Mango HR Group, we’re passionate about helping fast-growing tech companies with their HR needs.

So we figured there was nowhere better to go on a summer trip than the world’s capital of technology, California’s Silicon Valley! While the extremes of temperature certainly caught us off guard (Silicon Valley was sweltering, but seaside San Francisco was freezing), we learnt a lot about American tech.

Here’s a run-down of our new-found knowledge:

1) California’s tech companies all have top-notch, swanky offices which encourage creativity and innovation – but are also a necessity for attracting talent.

2) Candidates in the US tech space are highly value-driven. When assessing possible opportunities, they want to know whether the work they’ll be doing fits with their worldview and their plans for their own development.

3) In California, there’s a specialist for each business function. The British phenomenon of the multi-talented “office manager” who actually covers PR, bookkeeping, HR, logistics and everything else is rarely seen. Outsourcing is seen as vital to ensure they tap into expertise and continuously inject fresh ideas.

4) Investors are increasingly concerned about the cultures of the companies in which they’re involved. As the recent sexual harassment case brought by Uber engineer Susan Fowler shows, everyone is talking about it.

5) Giants like LinkedIn and Google are working on pay transparency technologies. Whether we want it or not, new technology will enable team members to view the salaries of their colleagues. So it’s wise to get your pay structures ready.

6) On average, it takes 12 years for an IPO but the average life of a stock option is just 10 years. A lot of firms are using restricted stock units for their top workers, and as this article explains, this is helpful to companies because it means they can much more easily offer shares to employees even before accruing significant value.

7) The benefit of “unlimited holiday” isn’t unlimited! Employers may promote it as a benefit but the reality is that most workers stick to a two-week break and often still check their emails!

8) Californian companies are focusing on “Employee Value Propositions” to attract and retain top talent. EVP’s encourage critical thinking about the rewards, recognition and development opportunities you offer.

9) A company’s position on pay is often clearly matched to a philosophy. For example, even if pay sits at a base level under the market rate, there is often still a clear focus from bosses on how team members are valued and come first.

10) When it comes to sales, commission is still important. The split between base pay and commission can vary depending on the role in question, but it is usually half and half or 60/40 towards base pay.