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Winning the Uphill Battle of Hiring and Retaining Talent

Talent Shortage panel at CP Expo

CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — Creating and maintaining a culture that everyone wants to be a part of is the primary key to recruiting and retaining technical talent.

That’s according to top executives who participated in the Channel Partners Conference & Expo keynote titled “Camp Talent: Pull Together a Winning Team.” Nancy Ridge, executive vice president of Telecom Brokers, served as moderator, while panelists were Tim Hebert, chief client officer with Carousel Industries, Emily Lundi, director of talent and organization development at Ingram Micro, and Drew Lydecker, president of Avant.

“It’s been the hottest topic of the show,” Ridge said. “This issue of talent, attracting and retaining technical talent is an uphill battle.”

Panelists talked about what their companies are doing to hire talent in a market where demand far outpaces supply. Hebert said his company is heavily involved in state initiatives to seek out alternative talent. He also said his company spends a lot of time in K-12 schools getting students excited about technology.

“More and more people ages 40-50 are losing jobs for a variety of reasons and don’t have skills to make that next step,” he said. “Also, military veterans, they’re amazing, very mature for their age and disciplined. We’ve had a lot of success looking at those alternative sources of talent. Every state has a program to get vets into the workforce. You don’t want to get tied down on what’s on their resume. (With training) they can learn quickly.”{ad}

Ridge said less women are choosing careers in technology and more are leaving the industry. Bias is still an issue and they’re facing a pay gap, she said.

Lundi said it’s all about selling a culture of inclusion, regardless of age, race or gender.

Lydecker said most of Avant’s workers are women and that it happened “organically.”

“We’re changing the way businesses operate and we’re hyping this excitement, and coming and talking to young people … and getting them so excited about transforming IT businesses,” he said. “You need to be in your mind bigger than you are, and create the hype and adopt young people and get them excited about changing the world. In our seven years in business, we’ve had no turnover.”

In 2020, millennials will make up 50 percent of the workforce, and they’re looking to know they have purpose and passion in the business, and a roadmap of where they can go, Lundi said.

“It’s about conversations with people,” she said. “We really tackled it from a leadership perspective … focusing on their development and what you are going to do to help them get there. What’s inspiring about what I do, how do I develop my skills along with it.”

Lydecker said it’s important to “be vulnerable, tell your employees everything, tell them your goals.”

“When you bring somebody on board, it’s your responsibility to nurture them, give them everything you’ve got,” he said. “If you can’t do it, partner with somebody that can.”


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