Part One: Prepping Your Company To Attract The Right People
Near-constant innovation is absolutely crucial to what we do at OneVision. That’s true not only in terms of the kinds of services and products we manage for our clients, but also in the way that we manage them. And just as importantly, in terms of how we manage ourselves, from the inside out.
As a young company (but really, this applies to all companies) we can’t afford to ever rest on our laurels, sit back, and assume that the brightest and most talented people are going to search us out. Not only do we have to search for them; we also have to create an infrastructure here that will compel them to want to work here, want to grow here, and ultimately to want to stay here.
So with that in mind, we all sat down together as a group, and rolled up our sleeves and asked what the best steps were in order to lay the groundwork for that.
One of our first recognitions: when we’re recruiting, we’re selling ourselves. That amounts to well-known employer basics: the likes of great benefits packages and salaries, perks, and the creation of a portal on our website that clearly explains to the community who we are, why we’re different, and puts our current team members in the spotlight and celebrates who they are as employees and as people. This is why we also highlight staff members in our bi-monthly ‘OneVisionaries’ profiles.
But that was all pretty easy; the real work required us to actually create a culture designed to retain our team members by helping them (and the company as a whole) to flourish. We know in driving OneVision that we need to keep everyone’s job here interesting, so that we evolve along with each individual. After all, expecting a smart, driven person to continue doing the same job again and again long after they’ve mastered it is a surefire recipe for losing their interest. The idea is that both the employee and the company should be working to align their interests as much as possible. Every day they choose to come to work is a day OneVision would choose to hire them all over again and they would choose to work with us.
And so we’ve made serious investments in professional development for them through training, conferences, classes, and extensive R&D purchases. This results in 4% of our overall budget (which is on top of the budget for salaries and benefits, of course) getting devoted to improving the skills of our team.
We also initiated cross training and cross development of employees. For example, Leah Igo has gone from her work as an executive assistant to manager of marketing and HR/recruiting after she started helping out in those areas, and she’s now slated to attend a professional 10-week course in digital marketing. Our Tech Member Services teams are constantly training on the latest technologies, including Crestron, Control4, Savant, Cisco/Meraki networks, Axis cameras, Google services, and the entire Apple product suite, among many others.
Moreover, we know we can’t scale while we’re causing our service professionals to burn out, so we’ve structured our teams in such a way that no one needs to work more 50 hours a week while still providing instant support to our clients from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., 365 days a year.
In these ways and more, we’ve committed ourselves to a growth strategy that stays flexible in its nature, that changes along with every team member, and keeps everyone’s job challenging. Our theory is that doing so benefits everyone: not only does our team get to keep learning and growing as individuals, but the team as a group then gets the bonus of their new skills and continued enthusiasm… and ultimately the client then wins by receiving support and services from well-rounded professionals. Really, you could call it the ideal win-win-win scenario.
In the upcoming part two of this post, I’ll discuss even more of how we’ve used the hiring process to create a culture of innovation. Stay tuned.