Poll after poll consistently indicates that finding good employees is one of the single biggest challenges in this industry. And with the demand for the connected home at an all-time high, the labor shortage problem shows no signs of relenting. In the absence of any large scale initiatives which significantly increase the number of qualified candidates entering the workforce (e.g. new programs at trade schools across the country), solutions will have to be implemented at the ground level.
This is putting more pressure than ever on today’s home technology professional (HTP) to retain their best employees. Here are 4 ways you can ensure that yours is a company people love to work for.
One of the best ways to ensure you retain top talent is by aligning your company’s objectives with the respective personal missions of your team. Retaining the best employees requires that you identify their strengths and passions then find ways to align them with the operational needs of the company.
Let’s say you have an all-star technician named Scott who has consistently stated his desire to move into system design. This type of situation can be especially challenging in a small and medium-sized businesses where your staffing need for such positions are limited. However, Scott is unlikely to stick around for the long haul if his personal career goals are not met. What do you do?
If your current needs/growth efforts do not support the exact wishes of your best employees, then explore other alternatives. For example, an open conversation with Scott might reveal that, while system design is what he’s been most vocal about, he is actually also interested in programming, which happens to be an immediate need for you. Assuming you believe Scott is capable of this role, then act quickly to create a career development plan that will allow him to grow with the company.
What is your company’s mission? What are your values? Are the mission and values reflected in the day-to-day culture of your company, starting from the very top?
Having a clear mission and set of values that accurately reflect why your company exists and how people should act creates a common cause your team can rally around. This sense of purpose is especially important when business gets crazy, bringing concerns about morale to the fore.
In crafting yours, avoid flowery and grandiose language. Instead, make sure your mission and values statements are clear and direct and that they accurately reflect the beliefs that drive your business on a daily basis. Then, take proactive steps to ensure these statements are continually reinforced.
Also, to increase buy-in and engagement, allow your team the opportunity to suggest additions or revisions to these statements on a regular basis. This simple step increases their ownership over the core values and mission that drive your business.
No article on retaining key employees would be complete without a conversation about compensation packages. Good employees carry a premium in any market, but especially in one with booming demand and a limited talent pool. This is not to say that keeping the best employees requires exorbitant monetary compensation. But when it comes to attracting and retaining the best people in a given market, finding ways to pay a premium will make a difference.
Compensating at a higher level starts with ensuring that your prices reflect the quality of the team you have built. Building and keeping a team of all-stars costs money and your pricing has to reflect that. Consider raising your rates if that’s what it takes to retain top talent. Then, don’t be shy about discussing the reasons you are more expensive when your clients ask. By and large, your clients and prospects pay a premium for quality on nearly everything they buy. Why should their technology management service be any different? Simply explain that you’ve consistently made the necessary efforts to attract and retain the best team in your market and that the quality of the service you deliver reflects that.
Creating a culture that promotes feedback and encourages challenging the status quo is vital to keeping the best employees engaged. Top employees are unlikely to stick around for the long haul if they feel their voices are not being heard. After all, if they’re able to contribute so much, then why would they stay with a company that’s unwilling to receive their contributions?
Beyond fostering the open and transparent sharing of ideas, the real key is to act on them consistently. Seeing that change is being implemented as a result of their suggestions, key employees will continue to engage in the feedback loop that is so critical to continually improving your business. Even if an idea or suggestion is not something you can implement, take the time to acknowledge it and explain to the team why. Thank the team for providing their ideas and explain in detail your reasons for not being able to act on it.
A great way to encourage feedback is through the use of anonymous channels. At OneVision, we use and love TINYpulse which provides a sort of “overflow valve” that employees can use to provide direct feedback in a completely safe environment.
Retaining the Best Takes Work
The competition for top talent the connected home is hotter than ever. This has created a “seller’s market” where, if unhappy in their current position, the best employees are only a phone call away from a new job. Although creating an environment where people love to work is always a top priority for good business owners, failing to do so today can have immediate consequences. But with work, you can ensure you have a company people want to stay and grow with for the long haul.