How Will You Hang Onto Your Employees?

Hiring a new employee can be satisfying as well as a relief. You feel the satisfaction when you've roped in someone who can deliver great value for your company; the relief comes when you know you've filled a critical role that – if unfilled – could potentially hurt business.

Then the question turns to: How do I keep this person for as long as I can?

The issue of employee retention is especially important today in the technology industry – including solution providers - since experts believe the job market favors employees. More broadly, U.S. businesses have consistently created new jobs since 2009, the bottom of the Great Recession.

"We are in a highly competitive marketplace where people are desperately trying to fill headcount," said Danielle Rodriguez, vice president of people and organizational health for solution provider Trace3, of Irvine, Calif., in an email reply to a question from ITBestOfBreed. "We face stiff competition from our competitors, partners, and clients."

About 40 miles northwest, in Manhattan Beach, Philip Walker has felt the pain that comes with keeping good people.

"Keeping good people in [the Los Angeles market] is brutal," said Walker, CEO at Network Solutions Provider. Walker said he lost an "all-star" on his help desk to a big technology company and it took him close to a year to recover from that loss.

Employees will leave their jobs for one or more of several reasons. The top five, according to a 2016 survey by business management technology vendor CEB, are: future career opportunities (cited by 42 percent of respondents), money (36 percent), people management issues (35 percent), professional development opportunities (31 percent) and recognition (29 percent). (Multiple answers were allowed.)

That means two of the top four are tied to learning and advancing within the organization. A company's leaders and managers can control at least part of that. The challenge comes in how.

At Adapture, a solution provider based in Norcross, Ga., executives not only provide their technical consultants with access to training and certification programs, they also want them to participate in high-level meetings and get involved in all areas of the business, said Mandy Glidewell, director of marketing.

"We don’t pigeonhole our technical talent," Glidewell told ITBestOfBreed. "We give them the space and room they need to thrive and love what they do."

At Trace3, "We go with the Richard Branson train of thought, 'Train them well enough that they can leave and treat them well enough that they won’t,'" Rodriguez said.  "We know that our employees are the source of all our ideas, actions, and success. Because of this, we work hard to understand what our employees need to be successful [and] to thrive on the job."