With the unemployment rate at its lowest in 50 years, finding qualified candidates for IT positions is a difficult task. We should know, we are currently dealing with it ourselves. For the past few years, we’ve continually fine-tuned our employee recruitment process, from how we onboard new hires, to ongoing employee management and retention. In part two of this two-part series, we’ll share Snap Tech IT’s tips for employee retainment so you can put them to work for your business.
Ongoing Professional Development
At Snap Tech, we understand the value and importance of investing in our people. If our employees are continuously learning and growing, it makes them better at what they do, and it makes us a better organization. All of this ultimately will lead to our overall goal, employee retainment.
In Part 1 of this blog series, we mentioned “hunger” as one of the key qualities we look for in new talent. By this we mean that we seek out people who have the desire to continue learning and developing their skillset. We know that to keep hungry employees happy, we need to feed them. Our approach to continuing education, therefore, is threefold:
- Work with employees on their professional development plan within Snap Tech,
- Incentivize training and certifications
- Provide company-wide training on a regular basis
Personalized Development Plans
From the day they join Snap Tech, we foster open and ongoing communication with employees about their goals for their career. We developed an organizational chart based on our vision for Snap Tech as we continue to grow. This chart is available company-wide to let employees know what positions will open up down the road. They can point to these future openings to show where they’d like to grow within the company. We explain what it takes for them to reach that point. This includes what certifications they need, and what timeline of experience is necessary. This enables them to start down that path now, knowing there is a tangible result at the end.
Training and Certification
Snap Tech also provides incentives for completed training and certification. While some firms fear that offering such incentives will make their employees more marketable to other IT providers, we believe that they differentiate Snap Tech from our competitors. They also help our employees grow and accelerate within the team.
Once training and certification are completed, we fully reimburse employees. We also hold a “training challenge” each year, awarding funds for a paid vacation to whomever completes the most certifications. If we need an employee to have a specific certification, such as when we were working to achieve Microsoft Gold-Level Partnership, we’ll offer additional bonuses for certificate completion.
Once a month, we hold a company-wide training session called “SNAP90X.” The entire staff is involved in program development. At the beginning of the year, we issue a survey to see what areas the staff would like to learn more about. Topics range from refresher courses on filling out tickets properly or creating standard operating procedures, to something completely new.
Training sessions are targeted to what our people want to understand better. They also focus on explaining why we do things the way we do. We record all trainings and add them to our New Hire On-boarding template. This allows all new employees get the same information as the rest of the team.
Investing in these three areas helps us achieve more consistency in day-to-day operations. It also lets employees know that we care about their personal growth and development. If we can help lift our employees up and encourage their growth and development, it makes us a better organization all around.
We know our employees give it their all every single day, both at their job and in the time they invest in training and studying for certification. We understand that this dedication can lead to employee burn-out. To alleviate the pressure and also show our appreciation for all their hard work, we host a team “Fun Day” quarterly, so we can all go out and let off steam. While they may not ask for it, everyone needs to be recognized for their consistent hard work. At Snap Tech, we believe this is an important element for long-term employee retainment.
We are so committed to this practice that we have built Quarterly Fun Days into our annual budget. Each quarter, we pick an activity that we can host in each of our three locations. We try to keep it consistent across locations when possible to cultivate camaraderie company-wide. Not only is the Fun Day a way to relax, it is an opportunity for team building, both within a single office as well as across all locations.
Some quarters we invite families to join in the fun, while others we hold employee-only events. This quarter, each location visited an escape room, which invoked some cross-office competition to see who escaped first.
Collaborative Company Culture
In addition to our Fun Days, we have ongoing activities to promote a collaborative company culture. These include:
- Annual Fantasy Football League in which “smack talk” among participants is encouraged.
- A monthly “Shake and Bake” lottery: employees receive poker chips throughout the month for going above and beyond the call of duty. They trade these in for a chance to win prizes like punching bags, gift cards, and even toilet bowl night-lights.
At Snap Tech, we are passionate about “creating better life experiences for our team, customers, and families by ambitiously building the best IT company.” A big part of this involves enjoying ourselves and trusting the people we are surrounded by at work.
Employees need to be fulfilled if they plan to stay with a company long term. They should feel that their work is valued, and they should look forward to going to work each day. We work with our employees to understand their goals to fit them into our organization’s future. An employee who sees a future at the company, is an employee retainment success story. Ultimately, we want our people to have the best experience here so they can provide the best experience to our clients.
At Snap Tech, we believe in balancing hard work and professional development with entertainment and team building, and we encourage other organizations to do the same to achieve long-term employee retention.
For more on this topic, check out Employee Recruitment Tips From The Trenches.
By Kim Dickerson, Director of HR and Systems Manager