Staff retention challenges

Brocade advises on staff retention for channel organisations

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Staff retention challenges Channel entities need to be flexible enough to proactively make adjustments to compensation programmes, says Kamel.
By  Khaled Kamel Published  March 28, 2013

Khaled Kamel, territory channel manager, Middle East and North Africa at Brocade, talks about staff retention and how channel organisations can overcome the challenges they face.

The IT market in the Middle East and Africa is booming and research firm Gartner pitted IT spending in this region at $244 billion in 2012. At a time when most major technology solutions providers complain of declining sales in Europe and to a lesser extent North America, the consistent performance of the IT sector in the Middle East makes it a prime market for growth.

As competition in the channel increases, staff retention, which has already been cited as a major pain point by many Middle East channel firms – is set to become even more of a concern. In order to succeed, a company must not only train, but more importantly retain its skilled staff. And while a healthy job market may make this seem like a challenge, the key to employees’ contentment and overall job satisfaction can be found in the three Ps: people, projects and pay.

People

Let’s face it: No company can survive without people. It is the people who help innovate, design, build, market, sell, distribute and support whatever product or service, the company has to offer – and this has a positive impact on financial business outcomes. In a nutshell, a company’s workforce needs to have the right balance of skills, knowledge, capabilities, and attitude in order to successfully perform their job.
Channel businesses need to create an environment where people actually want to come to work everyday and human resources plays a major role in this, from the initial recruiting process to the review process and beyond.

Projects

We have talked about the importance of people, but unless those people are doing what they love, what they are good at and working on interesting projects, they will not remain engaged. Some projects involve working cross-functionally, some projects stretch employees to get out of their comfort zone and learn a new area, some projects are highly visible either to peers, senior management or even the board or shareholders, and some projects may involve a completely new concept, strategy or approach which could have a potentially high business impact. Employees who know what they want should take every opportunity to speak up and make it known to decision-makers and to never assume that “everybody knows.”

To truly maximise staff utilisation and place the right person in the right position, channel firms need to emphasise individual development plans (IDPs). IDPs help to identify employee’s strengths, skill gaps, interests and what they want to do next. Employees need to know where they are going and how they are going to get there; without this insight, they will eventually get stuck doing the same things over and over and never get an opportunity to try anything new, which leads to increased dissatisfaction.

Pay

People want to not only feel they are paid fairly, but also recognised for their efforts, accomplishments and hard work, and want this type of reward at different times throughout the year. With competition heating up, a limited talent pool particularly within the engineering field, and the return of the start-up mentality, people have far more choices in terms of potential employers. The reality is, if employers want to attract and retain top people, “fair pay” just isn’t enough anymore.

Channel entities need to review pay annually for all functions at all job levels and benchmark what they pay their employees to what other similar companies are paying their employees. Equally crucial is an incentive scheme which rewards staff directly for the level of contribution they are making towards achieving corporate goals.

While it may sound overly simplistic to boil this down to three P’s, it is vital to recognise that it is really that simple. In order to remain content and productive on the job, people need to feel challenged, valued and be compensated fairly.

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