5 Ways Diverse Technology Solutions Built A Business That Attracts And Keeps Top Employees

Solution Provider Success

For many companies, employee turnover is an unavoidable part of doing business. But businesses that can maintain a long-tenured employee base reduce risk and in turn become more valuable to investors, according to Diverse Technology Solutions CEO Clayton Hart.

"Studies and research show that turnover of an employee is equivalent to one year's salary," he said at XChange Solution Provider 2018 in Orlando, Fla. "I believe that. Why? You put time into that employee. Maybe it takes two or three months to train them. Now they're with you for a year and they leave. What happens? You're losing that investment and time."

Hart speaks from experience, having managed the Islip Terrace, N.Y-based solution provider since 1998. He joked that he has been able to establish "cult-like" employee loyalty during that time, noting that DTS has only lost one engineer since 2009. It's an environment where workers display high levels of respect for each other and remove negativity, he said.

In the following slides, CRN highlights five employee lessons that Hart has successfully applied to his business over the years.

Why Employees Don't Stay Long Term, And Why It Matters

If a company is experiencing noticeable turnover, Hart believes management is more often than not the sole cause – whether that be a midlevel manager or someone in a C-level position. Some decision-makers may be seeking out the most technically qualified people for their job openings rather than considering personality fit, he said. Others may have adopted an unpopular management style or don't understand how to identify and leverage culture to retain talent.

Hart said the negative effects of these shortcomings can be significant, hurting customer retention rates when popular reps are lost and efficiency when team members are forced to spend valuable time training new hires.

"If you have turnover, go into the bathroom and look in a mirror. Because you're doing something wrong," he said.

Finding Like-Minded Employees

Top performers serve as a useful starting point for managers looking to improve employee retention, Hart said. By documenting their psychological profile – emotional competencies such as self-control, accountability, listening abilities and even personal interests – businesses can improve their hiring strategy and find employees that replicate a proven model of success.

Hart found that approach to be especially useful when forced to choose between two candidates with similar certifications, salary demands and backgrounds. Personality can function as a meaningful tiebreaker, and one that matches with a top employee can quickly strengthen workplace bonds.

"Emotional competencies are found to be twice as important as technical competencies. Hiring and pairing like-minded people builds culture," Hart said. That's how I did it … that, in fact, is how culture starts to form in your organization."

Tactful Management

Finding valuable employees is of limited use if companies cannot keep them around. People naturally hate being given orders, and they can often feel pressured to meet management's performance standards, Hart said.

To counter this, he began involving employees early in the creative or decision-making process – such as asking for their opinion about adopting the latest version of QuickBooks. It's a style shift that he said has paid great dividends because it allows workers to feel like they have input regardless of whether he or she ultimately influences the final outcome.

"I got him invested in the project, my vision and long-term goal simply by the way I approached the employee. When you do this, you achieve a higher sense of self-worth with the employee," Hart said.

Building Trust

Transparent leadership fosters trust, which in turn can serve as a powerful motivation for employees. Establishing that trust can be difficult, but Hart's method for building that rapport was surprisingly simple: Regularly taking his employees out to lunch.

That time spent became extremely valuable, he said, because employees would often share their professional aspirations and personal interests. Knowing those can allow a manager to tap into that knowledge and maximize the potential of top employees.

The manager who creates trust builds a high-self-esteem workplace with higher performance, lower absenteeism, lower turnover, higher productivity, fewer mistakes and ultimately higher profit. Your organization is going to run better, Hart said.

Technology Opportunities And Equity

Diverse Technology Solutions has changed its business model more than once during its two decades of existence, Hart said. The company now provides cloud-based data and voice services and its own private cloud infrastructure.

By staying current with the latest technology trends, companies can fulfill the creative desires of their technical employees and allow them a chance to learn valuable new skills, Hart said. They can also empower their talent by selling the strategic vision.

Offering indispensable employees an equity stake in the business is another powerful way to keep them invested in those long-term goals. Hart said it makes sense in two cases: ensuring the continued survival of the organization and expressing deepened commitment to a long-tenured employee.