This is probably one of the biggest challenges for any employer, but more so in an area with such low unemployment and in a field that has a higher-than-average turnover rate. We thought we’d share some of our thoughts and best practices and ask you to send us any tips that you might have.
It all starts here—you can’t retain good people if you don’t hire them first! We use LinkedIn, recruiters, websites such as DICE, Monster and Indeed, recommendations from staff, clients, friends and colleagues at other firms.
A number of years ago we had great success with Craigslist, but that seems to have gone downhill in terms of highly trained IT staff. We keep our salary and benefits packages competitive and work to be flexible when we can.
Working from home has become a tremendous draw and most of our staff work from home 1-2 days per week. We have a couple of staff members who have relocated to other areas of the country but still work for BEI full time, remotely from their homes.
But we still see a lot of value in having people physically in the same space—there is knowledge sharing and camaraderie that is very difficult to duplicate without face-to-face time. And while most IT support can be performed remotely, sometimes you just have to be there to push a button, run a cable or talk to a client. So the need/desire to work full-time from home can be a deal-breaker for some applicants.
We work hard to make sure that all BEI staff know that we’re working from the same set of core values:
- Whatever it takes and always do the right thing
- Be resourceful and efficient
- Clients first—we are in the service Industry, and if it was easier our clients wouldn’t need us!
- Teamwork overcomes raw talent every time
A couple of years ago we took these values and ranked all of our staff members (and I do mean all—the author of this article was included) according to how well they exemplified these values. Called the People Analyzer*, it was a fascinating exercise, and really highlighted a few staff members who were not a great fit.
Part of the follow up to that exercise was making it really clear to our staff how those values play out in our day-to-day work lives. We had staff who made changes for the better, and some staff who no longer work at BEI—and both of those outcomes made BEI a better company.
We have several other programs that staff seem to like:
- We have weekly lunch meetings and have remote staff connect in to participate. Sometimes we cover business topics but often it is just a chance to catch up with each other.
- Everyone gets 6 days per year, in addition to their normal paid time off, for professional development. We reimburse for training materials, exams and a bonus upon successful completion of the exam.
- We provide BEI shirts for all staff—makes getting dressed for work easy and identifies our staff when they are at our clients’ offices.
- We pay for cell phone plans and have a computer purchase reimbursement program for business/personal use.
- We have a competitive array of health benefits, as well as a 401k (including company contribution) and paid time off.
- We have quarterly meetings that review the business’s performance for the past quarter and give us a chance for more in-depth discussion than the weekly meetings.
At the end of the day, we all want to feel that we make a difference and that our contribution is recognized. Making that happen is a constant work in progress!
If you have any tips for hiring or retaining we’d love to hear them! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Amy Riccardi of HCM2020 for the People Analyzer and for general guidance and other tools over the years!