How to Attract, Hire & Retain Talent (Part 2)
Employee empowerment based on training, tools and progressively more responsibility for business outcomes will go a long way in helping you attract and retain top talent.
We left off last month with suggestions to attract and retain talent in a time when “poachers” are reaching in for your best talent. Your managers are the glue that hold and recruit talent with a career path based on your company culture.
Remember, people often leave supervisors/managers and not companies if they don’t have a clear career path the opportunity to learn and contribute.
The complaint I hear from clients most often is, “We train technicians for our competitors to poach.” I get it. You invest in their education with certifications; however, my argument is, have you created a culture that provides additional growth in their careers, responsibilities and roles? This requires some strategic business thinking. What should your goal be in making this decision?
Think in terms of a chess game, which is strategic by its definition. Technicians are often trained, certified and competent in narrow and diverse product lines. This can happen as companies take on “we are everything to everybody” or are driven by sales opportunities around a specific product line expansion. Having many product lines stretches your resources.
Typically, companies have specialized technicians for specific product lines. The result is not being able to move your resources around based on certifications, competence and having so many customer solutions. Delays in delivering service based on availability of technicians limits revenue and customer service. What is a better strategy?
Begin by evaluating all the different systems you service. How profitable are those customers and the support of those systems? Second, what is the overhead loading to maintain competency with those systems as software and training requirements change and evolve over time?
If this is about a strategic customer, I completely understand; however, if those customers have changed their buying processes to the lowest common denominator of pricing competitive bids, how many are you winning with new competition? If the answer is less than 30% it’s time to reevaluate your business model. Can you improve your model to be more competitive?
Digital transformation of how you deliver those services may be a solution. Can you deliver greater recognized value through your sales, project management, installation and documentation processes? Clearly defined processes that deliver business outcomes of a security solution can give you a 5%-8% edge over your price competitors.
However, your sales and technical team must bring their A-game to differentiate your company. How will that help you attract and retain talent?
Employee empowerment based on training, tools and progressively more responsibility for business outcomes is a great start. People like to do good work. They also like to be able to make a difference for a customer on a personal level. If your business model limits their learning, skills and authority to make decisions in the moment, they will become frustrated and even demoralized.
If your processes and supervisors handcuff their ability based on putting them in a “box,” well, you will lose both people and money over time. Here are some key questions to ask yourself.
- Are we enabling our team to be competent on their feet with no one looking to solve customers’ problems in real-time?
- Are we OK with mistakes that help teach our people to learn and do better next time? How did you learn your most valuable career lessons?
- Do we have gaps in training and tools needed to help our people make better decisions and learn from their mistakes?
- Do we provide a career path that enables our talent to expand their earnings based on the value they provide to the company depending on their observable competence?
- Do you really know your talents’ key motivators (career and financial goals) to help guide the coaching and development of your resources?
If you rewound your career clock back to when you started, would you join your company and why? We all have had great and bad bosses. Can you remember the lessons they taught and what motivated you? I certainly can.
My bad bosses taught me what not to do and made me wonder if I was with the right company for my career goals. My good bosses were smarter than I was, and they challenged and supported me to do better. I stayed longer with those bosses and companies.
Finally, rethink the progress of your talent in defined steps they understand. I hark back to my military training in the Marines and rank progression. I had a clear definition of the skills I needed to demonstrate to gain my next stripe, a pay raise and more responsibility to lead others. That motivated me to do better and be more committed to the mission.
Tell a new company story based on concrete values if you want to attract, hire and retain the talent needed for your company’s success. Not a simple task, but doable with strategic thinking.
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