Executives from security integration companies shared their best practices for hiring and retaining employees during a session at last year’s Total Tech Summit. Here’s what they had to say.
The battle cry over labor shortages within the security reseller and system integrator channel has gone from a groan when I entered the industry over 20 years ago to a roar. to break your eardrums today.
That is to say, it is an age-old challenge, but – due to the Great Resignation (the bane of most companies), a higher bar of skills and attitudes required within our industry, the rise of more technology-centric fields creating fiercer competition for talent, and the continued low profile of security as a career path for young people and the general public – the situation has reached epic proportions.
Many dealership and integrator business owners and managers I speak with are at their wit’s end, but throw their hands up for relief. This has a serious impact on some bottom lines, as operators have to delay or refuse work due to a lack of staff on deck, which can lead to dissatisfied customers tarnishing hitherto excellent reputations.
Overworked employees are then more likely to jump ship, either on their own for what they hope will be greener grass, or they are seduced by rampant poaching in the canal. In addition to working long hours, many companies outsource what they can, such as running cables or hiring temporary workers.
At this point, the entrepreneurs feel like “The Magnificent Seven”, where they must overcome impossible obstacles and form a village to fend off the outlaws – only even unskilled villagers are rare.
Until this dark cloud lifts, Security Sales and Integration is here to do everything we can to ease the pain with timely news, business information and technology updates. Part of that is the Total Tech Summit event, which includes tracks for security, commercial AV, and residential AV.
At last November’s TTS, I led a best practice panel discussion on the topic of this column, titled “Get the Best People on the Bus to Grow Your Business”, in which attendees were challenged to generate ideas to ease this difficult situation. Some takeaways:
- Encourage employee referrals
- Offer employee referral bonuses if a recruit is successful
- Set up an internship program
- Contact and prospect high schools and trade schools
- Look outside the industry for promising people
- Work on social media and community events
- Leverage relationships with employees, family and friends
- Focus on creating an internal culture that attracts job seekers
- Promote quality of life and work/life balance as part of your compensation package
- Build your business reputation on social media
- Refine the interview experience for prospects
- Be more creative in the sources and recruitment practices pursued
- Support and sponsor the professional development of employees
- Provide staff with clear and engaging career paths
- Conduct ‘stay interviews’, asking, ‘What would make you stay here?’ »
- Organize night outings to boost team morale
- Give employees more independence and responsibility
- Encourage the organization of charitable activities or fun learning opportunities
- Establish recognition programs, such as completing a project or receiving rewards for doing good
- Facilitate a feedback loop with safe/open/welcome insights and insights, with manager presentations based on this
- Institute performance incentive programs (bounties and awards)
- Organize family programs to involve everyone
- Emphasize written, verbal recognition, rewards, benefits and monetary forms
- Promote regularly from within
- Hold quarterly “impulse” meetings to measure morale
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- Focus on interpersonal relationships and feel valued/important
- Offer better health insurance
- Offer more paid leave
- Postponement of the PTO to the following year or years
- Include more paid time off
- Display progress charts to challenge and engage
- Provide customer service training for both internal and external interactions
- Refine the onboarding process: create a culture and expectations, and help workers feel comfortable in this context.
- Perform role play scenarios to hone skills and promote fun/engagement
- Cross-training across departments: Help employees understand the cause and effect of other positions and appreciate others’ contributions to the business
- People will do what you inspect, not what you expect: set up rewards and recognition with an appropriate customer feedback loop
This is just one example of the collective brainstorming and value TTS customers can bring to their businesses. They are called “guests” because this is a hosted event (free entry, travel, accommodation, and food/drink) that these dealers/integrators have applied for and qualified to attend. TTS brings together representatives from a few hundred of the most professional and success-minded companies in the industry.
This year’s security track includes: “Being a tactical leader in turbulent times”, “Why cybersecurity is the next horizon”, “Moving to security as a service success”, “Delivering messages that customers Can’t Refuse”, “Planting the Seeds for Cannabis Success” and “Future Technology NOW: AI, IoT, Automation & Beyond”. There are also exhibitions, meetings with supplier partners and networking activities between peers.
Time is running out until TTS October 26-28. I highly recommend this unique, invite-only event to improve your business efficiency, effectiveness, operations and profitability. Apply now at totaltechsummit.com.