Hiring and retention consistently rank as one of the top three dealer concerns in our Annual Dealer Survey. While most dealers tend to think of traditional sales reps when filling out our Survey, IT personnel also fit squarely into that category of employees who are difficult to retain. Our March IT-themed issue featured a panel of IT experts who responded to the question, “Other than compensation, what are the primary reasons IT personnel are so difficult to retain?” Here’s what they had to say.
“Engineers in the MSP arena are clearly in demand. They have a very broad yet deep knowledge of IT, making them incredibly marketable in the employment market. Engineers are not service technicians, and dealers need to ensure that the career path, job description, and compensation do not mirror that. IT staff want to do more than “close tickets.” They want to be valued members of an innovative team that allows for collaboration and new ideas. They want opportunities to continuously grow in their role, gain new certifications and skills and be upwardly mobile in your company. Without those things, they will quickly be poached by other companies who can offer what they are looking for.” Juleen Bixler, senior director of operations, Fraser Advanced Information Systems
“The current global landscape is a big part of it. You have baby boomers retiring, you have the great recession. Companies that don’t do a good job of having other things besides salary tend to lose people. Our focus is on employee retention, and we still lose people over, “Hey, I just got this offer that’s better than you’re paying me.” And you want to match it, but what I’ve been seeing is the skill sets don’t match the pay because people are desperate so they’re willing to pay more. I don’t think it’s a good way to operate, to be held hostage by employees. The pendulum is going to shift at some point. People that have the “grass is greener” mentality and leave for those small little bumps, maybe they haven’t been around the block enough times. It’s a hard thing to combat. In some cases, they get an opportunity and if it’s the right thing for them, and I encourage them to go. I want people that are passionate about what we’re doing. We have 10 full-time recruiters, and we still struggle to maintain adequate staffing.” Patrick Layton, vice president, managed IT services, Impact Networking
“Plain and simple, there are more jobs than people. They have a choice of where they want to work. Also, IT is a broad term, so they might like one area better than another.” Anthony Sci, president and CEO, Keypoint Intelligence
“This is a tough one, there is such a shortage of qualified personnel—the higher skilled, the greater the shortage, and they write their own ticket on compensation in current times. One thought I would share is partner. Find a Master MSSP of scale that you can lean on for technical support. While these Master MSSP’s face the same hiring challenges, their career trajectory and ability to learn are greater and thus more attractive to the available talent. To keep and attract talent, I fall back to commitment and celebration. Is the leadership of the company showing their commitment to build a thriving IT business where the personnel can grow and by all means be celebrated? Acquiring an MSP client is like placing 30 or more copiers in the field. You celebrate that, don’t you?” John Schweizer, vice president of channel sales, ConnectWise
“IT professionals want to know they can grow and learn. You need to have a clear development path to help a tech continually learn new things to expand their skill set. Once they feel their opportunity to grow and develop at your company has peaked, they will begin to look elsewhere. Be sure to have an open dialogue with your employees about their career opportunities within your organization. PathShare HR Services, a division of GreatAmerica, promotes Stay Interviews with current employees to encourage them to reveal what is important to them and why they stay. Finally, some IT talent seeks work in a specialized niche of IT such as cybersecurity. Their career focus is getting into a company or a specific role that allows them to work in that niche all day, every day.” Greg VanDeWalker, senior vice president, IT channel and services, GreatAmerica Financial Services and Collabrance LLC