As the Great Resignation continues to dominate the headlines, we spoke with two technology management professionals with a field a vision beyond the staffing threat how they envision keeping teams fully skilled and engaged. For AOTMP® members, we invite you to engage in the conversation further through our online member community.

Fast Onboarding Paramount with Smaller Enterprises

Jeff Schlueter
Jeff Schlueter is COO at Synergem Technologies, Inc.

The Great Resignation has not had much impact on our employee recruiting and retention. However tenured employees are more likely to take higher-paying offers. When it comes to ongoing training and certification, while ENP Certification is one of the primary certifications in the 911 space, what is more important for us is real-time industry experience. There are some challenges getting training set up are mostly from a time perspective. To address the time challenges, Synergem Technologies holds a standing weekly meeting to make up for the inability to have casual knowledge transfer.

As a smaller company with fewer resources, quick productivity is essential. The challenge then becomes onboarding and the time spent getting staff ramped up because our need to be quickly productive is much higher than for the typical IT staff in the Global 5000.

All technical skills are very 911-specific, especially so for the next generation of 911. The 911 space is a small industry, with a small pool of people that have the necessary skill set, and the expected salary has increased. Beating out the competition when it comes to the candidates has increasingly become much more challenging.

Leveraging Technology Increases Autonomy from External Influencers

From a digital network mobility and telecom space, the Great Resignation had limited impact. We have a resilient model of in-house and outsourced teammembers. We have a voice and network operations center that allows us to segment out our engineering and innovation to our in-house engineers. They’re highly skilled and the talent pool is high, but we’ve given them a platform to innovate and develop and architect solutions that empower them to want to stay.

Regarding training and certification opportunities, we’ve continued down the path to open doors to give all employees the ability to obtain their college degrees and support continuous development. This helps with retention for back-office technical talent. Courses are offered through a formal program, which employees can access.

We support professional development through virtual learning and certifications. Recently I attended AWS re:Invent along with other conferences. We also have done some strong partnerships with mobility carriers and partners to discuss what is going on within the industry. We encourage employees to leverage online tools and classes to enhance their knowledge.

As far as recruitment, we’ve been really intentional about identifying and attracting talent with what we’ve done in the space of mobility and telecom. We are world-class in edge computing due to our recent network modernization efforts. From a support standpoint, there is a larger talent pool of network support professionals.

Sought-after skills and work environment

Photo of Erika Walk
Erika Walk is Senior Director of Information Technology at Waste Management

Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, and networking are going to continue to play a huge part and these positions and skills are fundamental. People can sit in the comfort of either their homes or offices and perform their responsibilities. People want flexibility and to manage their own calendars. Leverage technology to increase autonomy — this was already in place before the pandemic and is paying off now in this Great Resignation.

Our challenges finding talent are more on the front line, at the call centers and front-office levels. With our outsourcing approach balancing our in-house needs we’re allowing a lot of burdensome tasks to fall on managed services and retaining our core talent as a result. It’s a great model and it’s worked well for us. We observed a very low attrition rate across network and mobility teams in the past three to five years.

Digital transformation focused on innovation opportunities

We’ve been intentional to leverage technology that enables automation. SD-WAN moved us from networking to edge computing and software-defined area during our network modernization two years ago. We have also sourced networking support to managed services.

This alleviated the need to maintain such a high-performing engineering staff and allowed them to focus on more innovative projects. They’re laser-focused on architecting new solutions and it motivates them to grow in areas outside of operational tasks, resulting in a highly engaged workforce.

Photo of Shelly Sack

Shelly Sack

Shelly is a regular contributor at AOTMP®

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