Goldman Sachs is changing one key policy to attract tech talent

Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for techs in fight for talent
Goldman Sachs relaxes dress code for techs in fight for talent

In an effort to woo talent away from Silicon Valley, Goldman Sachs is becoming slightly less buttoned up. Computer engineers, who have had to adhere to a traditional, even conservative, dress code, will now be allowed to dress more casually.

Reuters reports that, in an internal memo sent to the technology division in June, employees were told to "exercise judgement in determining when to adapt to business attire."

While the memo does not specify whether the traditional hoodies and sneakers outfit that's worn by many millennial tech professionals is appropriate, one worker told the Financial Times that "totally casual" clothing is now allowed.

The Goldman Sachs booth on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
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According to Reuters, about a quarter of Goldman Sach's 33,000 employees are engineers. As of now, the new rules do not apply to a majority of the bank's other employees.

While Goldman Sachs isn't the first bank to relax their expectations — JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed last year to welcome business-casual clothing on most occasions — financial institutions have generally been slower to become less formal. And they may have to do more than allow sneakers to compete with tech giants.

Great Place to Work CEO Michael Bush believes that businesses cannot rely on the flashy perks of Silicon Valley to create a culture that attracts and keeps talent.

"Regardless of their benefits, the best workplaces share cultures built on trust," writes Bush. "Their people know they can count on peers and managers for support and that their work will be judged on its merits alone."

Peter Foley | Bloomberg | Getty Images

According to Fortune, 88 percent of employees at the top tech workplaces say their managers involve them in many decision-making moments. Similarly, 92 percent of employees at those organizations say their bosses genuinely seek feedback from their teams.

Chinwe Onyeagoro, a business strategy expert and EVP of U.S. consulting at Great Place to Work, echoes Bush's remarks and tells Fortune that investing in trustworthy relationships rather than perks is what's really key to winning over talent.

"Tech companies will keep winning by default, because the 'competition' still does not quite get that to be great you have to invest in better relationships, not in more things," said Onyeagoro.

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