In one of the panel discussions at this year’s Growth Summit, founders Tyler Robinson and Sandy McGuckin shared strategies on how to find the right tech talent in Columbia, SC, and build a talent pipeline.

Tyler Robinson is the founder of Diesel Laptops, a company that designs diagnostic tools for diesel trucks. His company has been named one of the Top 25 Fastest Growing Companies in South Carolina three years in a row.

Sandy McGuckin is the co-founder of TCube Solutions, an insurtech company acquired by Capgemini in 2017.

The Growth Summit is a one-of-a-kind event for leaders, entrepreneurs, and doers. This annual conference brings together the most forward-thinking minds in South Carolina to learn directly from noteworthy experts on how to better themselves and their business. 

Watch the discussion here:

Key takeaways:

1. Check your assumptions about what talent looks like

The trouble with building a tech talent pipeline isn’t unusual—what matters is your resourcefulness in getting around the problem. There are often too many preconceptions about what good talent should look like.

“I think if you ask anyone in any city or any state they’re going to say ‘We don’t have great talent here.’ It’s something you hear all over no matter where you go.” Tyler explains.

“We try to go beyond that. For example: Our director of operations is 23, he’s been with me since high school, and he was previously running a pizza shop. Our HR manager was an executive assistant.”

Most people wouldn’t look at a high school student or assistant and see executive material. Tyler does. He explains that if you find people with the right talents and surround them with good resources, they can grow up fast.

Oh, and degrees aren’t always necessary.

The top three positions Tyler’s company recruits for, including software engineers and diesel technicians, have no degree requirement.

Don’t let preconceptions about what talent needs to look like get in the way of building a winning team and creating a stellar talent pipeline.

2. Treat employees the way you would want to be treated

If finding good talent is hard, then once you’ve found it you should do everything you can to keep that talent with your company.

Both Sandy and Tyler pay their employees well above average for their positions and invest heavily in their development.

They also go out of their way to build a workplace and company culture people love. Case in point—during the pandemic, Diesel Laptops made weekly COVID testing available to all employees, and hired a teacher at the office to help look after employees’ kids who couldn’t be in school.

But Tyler says building a winning culture is about more than benefits.

“I’m going to treat people like I wanted to be treated when I was an employee. You find out when you do that, when you start asking people for opinions, suggestions, and get them involved in the company, they do truly remarkable things for you. They want to stick around, and it doesn’t become about ‘I can make a buck more here or there.”

3. Focus on the why

We all crave purpose in our work.

Having a compelling vision for your company and clearly articulating that to people is a powerful tool for finding and retaining good talent.

When people understand the “why” of the company and their role in it, they become invested in what you’re doing. 

Tyler explains the moment when his team started to really buy into the company vision:

“When the employees understand the passion and the reason for your company existing it becomes a really big deal inside the company.”

About Growth Summit

The Growth Summit is a one-of-a-kind event for leaders, business owners, and doers. Founded in 2015, Growth Summit started as a small group of regular people trying to learn more about how to build great companies. 

Today, it brings together people from all over the region to learn directly from South Carolina’s most successful entrepreneurs how to better themselves and their business. 

As of 2020, Growth Summit is put on by GrowCo, a community with a vision to 10x the number of Inc. 5000 companies in the Midlands. Learn more about GrowCo here.

About GrowCo

Building Talent pipeline through GrowCo's Power LunchesOf, by, and for founders, GrowCo is a collaborative partnership focused on sparking an explosion of entrepreneurial activity in Columbia, SC. 

GrowCo provides the mentorship, visibility, and access to talent and capital that high-growth companies need to thrive and change the world. 

Our vision is simple: 10X the number of Inc 5000 companies in the next 10 years.

And, you don’t want to miss our monthly power lunches offered to members and innovators. See when the next one is scheduled!

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