Despite the market’s ups and downs—fueled by high inflation, the pandemic, employee burnout, and retirements—competition for top talent has never been fiercer. As leading channel marketing expert Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group, shared at the Channel Partners Conference Expo & MSP Summit in Las Vegas, partners and vendors must rethink their entire approach to winning this game—especially in an era when employees are calling the shots.
It’s All About Membership
According to Schijns, the biggest transformation in the job market is the power shift from the employer to the employee. She pointed out, “Your old-school business rules need not apply in this market.” With sales and technology talent in short supply, highly qualified job seekers are getting multiple job offers a week for sometimes twice the pay of their current role.
But it’s not just about compensation. Employees yearn to be part of a company that values them for who they are and what they bring to the table. “It’s about people being part of something they feel makes them important,” Schijns said.
Guest panelist James Phillips, CIO at Rev.io, agreed and offered some advice on how to attract this type of talent. “You have to always be recruiting. You have to always be posting on social media…and creating your own brand,” he said.
Write a Talent Plan
Schijns provided the latest research conducted by her company, JS Group, on the talent war underway in the channel. She revealed 10 key takeaways, but her biggest piece of advice to MSPs and partners was to write a talent plan. She explained, “We’ve all built business plans, marketing plans, sales plans, and financial plans. This is the year you need to write a talent plan.”
If channel organizations are serious about attracting top talent, they must become just as aggressive about doing so as they are about winning customers. Having a sales and marketing kit ready to show candidates will also demonstrate that the organization is a serious place to consider. And the process moves along much faster than ever before; hiring decisions no longer stretch out for months but are made in days or even hours.
The “new normal” in recruiting may shock many channel organizations. Still, it is essential to winning the talent war. Guest panelist Phillip Walker, Customer Advocate CEO, Network Solutions Provider USA, said, “It’s going to be empowerment, it’s going to be…allowing them to have input…The more that they feel that this is their place, they’re going to stay with you longer than someone that just came because you hired them.”
Challenge, Opportunity, and Growth
Channel companies have their work cut out for them. Winning today’s talent war will require a total reset on corporate strategy and no small amount of introspection along the way. They need to examine the kind of message their organizations convey through Web and social media, and how their leadership teams present themselves.
For those who can rise to the challenge, there’s never been a better time to win talent. It starts with building a unique brand, enhancing company skill sets across the board, and ensuring leadership bolsters their social media presence. While it’s a paradigm shift that many channel partners and vendors probably are unable or unwilling to grasp, for companies that do “get it” the opportunities have never been greater.
In closing, Schijns said, “The time to grow is now. The industry is hot, and you might as well get good at hiring and retaining talent because this is a talent-rich world. Have some fun doing it! Enjoy the turnover, enjoy the hiring, enjoy the coaching, mentoring, and leading with people and you will grow.”