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Solution providers may not have the budgets for corporate
laundry service, a diverse array of free meals from on-site restaurants, or annual
trips to exotic locales, but that doesn’t mean channel businesses don’t spend a
lot of time and resources ensuring they keep their top talent happy and

In fact, retaining high-quality employees consistently
rates as one of small- and midsize business owners’ top challenges across a spectrum
of industries, multiple studies have found. And even though some industries
have apparently neglected employee satisfaction, the channel’s complexity,
competitiveness, and ongoing need to adapt to change means solution provider
executives must consistently keep a close eye on employee happiness.

Over the past three years, more employers have focused
more on controlling expenses than employee satisfaction and retention,
according to the ninth annual MetLife Study
of Employee Benefits Trends
: A Blueprint for the New Benefits Economy. Simultaneously,
fewer employees voluntarily left jobs, even if they were unhappy, because they
were afraid they could not find another position. As a result, however,
employee loyalty is at a three-year low—and employers appear unaware of this
trend, MetLife found. In fact, employers assume employees remain as loyal as
they did pre-recession, the study indicated.

“The widening gap in loyalty perception is a sign that
employers may be taking employee retention for granted. They are not paying
attention to serious cracks in the loyalty foundations of their workforce;
cracks that can expand to threaten their ability to retain the key talent
they’ll need most,” according to MetLife.

In 2010, 72 percent of human-resource professionals said
their companies’ benefits packages had been damaged because of the recession, Baseline

Now positions are opening

the economy is picking up
, and employees feel freer to move around, that lack
of employer loyalty poses a danger to companies that haven’t paid attention to
employee satisfaction. So how can solution providers ensure their quality
employees are satisfied? And what benefits can smaller companies reasonably
provide to workers to keep them happy and productive?

After all, it’s expensive and disruptive to replace
high-quality employees. It costs Asynchrony Solutions an estimated $100,000
every time someone leaves, said Bob Elfanbaum, general manager at the VAR,
which was acquired last year by Shafer Corp. That figure includes recruiting
fees, training time, lost productivity, and the challenges of integrating a new
person into the company and team, he told Channel Insider. Historically,
Asynchrony Solutions’ turnover is at about 5 percent, he said.

“I think you can rationalize spending a lot of money on
culture if you believe there’s a huge cost to turnover,” Elfanbaum said. “We
deliver solutions; we don’t deliver bodies which is a big difference. Because
we provide solutions people aren’t truly replaceable.”

Satisfied employees also translate into improved customer
, better products, more productive staff, and faster time-to-market,
studies have shown.