Best Retention Policy? A Strong Recruitment Policy

By Alison Diana  |  Print this article Print

So your VAR or MSP business doesn't have the resources to offer gourmet cafeteria food, free Coke and Mountain Dew or other Google/Facebook-style employee benefits? Here's a look at why employee benefits matter and how you can provide them even if your company bank account is tight.


Forging a Cultural Alliance

For many solution providers, ensuring employee satisfaction starts at the beginning: During the interview process when both employer and candidate are assessing each other.

"The best retention policy is a strong recruitment policy, to recruit the right candidate up-front. We highly encourage the clients we work with to be highly thorough in their interviewing process," said Todd Billar, director of channel development at VARStaffing, a recruitment agency that solely works with the channel, in an interview.

Several solution providers agreed they have not offered positions to candidates who looked good on paper but who may have clashed personally with their organization. "We have turned away people who are very good technically, but they didn’t come across in the interview that they would fit-in culturally," Denise Messineo, senior vice president, HR, Dimension Data Americas, told Channel Insider. Dimension Data’s voluntary turnover is between 10 percent and 12 percent, she said.

Unlike larger organizations that typically include layers of management, small VARs can attract individuals who want a voice in the company’s direction, said Jess Colburn, CEO at Applied Innovations, in an interview.

"We’ve got some guys who’ve been with us for 10 years. At the end of the day, that comes down to involving them with the company and the decisions of the company. You want to make them part of the company, not just someone who clocks in and just leaves. When you’re competing for top talent you’re competing by culture. They’re not just here for a pay check. The top ones can work anywhere they want," he said. "If it’s just an employee they’re coming in just to surf the web. They’re coming in just to get by. You need to identify them and get rid of them. You bring in smart people to energize other smart people."

Benefits Packages

While the health-insurance debate continues in Washington, D.C., many solution providers offer some kind of coverage to employees. Moving beyond the typically expected benefits of health, dental, and life insurance, however, there are additional perks that small and midsize companies can extend to their workers, including several low- or no-cost options, Julie Stich, senior information/research specialist at the non-profit International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans told Channel Insider.

These include:

  • Teleworking or flexible work arrangements
  • Employee discount programs
  • Mentoring and career-development
  • Nap room or comfortable rest area
  • Food, such as ice cream sundae day or a monthly pizza party
  • Casual dress code
  • Gardening area on company grounds
  • Volunteer opportunities or community-giveback through employer
  • Team or organization participation and sponsorship, such as bowling or softball
  • Lunchtime speakers from local hospitals or financial organizations, who often appear at no cost, to discuss wellness or financial issues
  • On-the-spot recognition awards with small monetary gifts such as tickets to local events or movies
  • Bring-your-pet to work day

"Benefits have always been important. Over time, employees have always considered the employee package when they consider whether they’re going to accept a job or stay with their current employer. People are starting to feel a little freer about moving around if they want to," Stich said. "In the recession, no one was thinking about these kinds of perks. In fact they were cutting back on things like 401K-matching."