Elite Dealer Challenges: Employee Recruitment, Hiring and Retention a Primary Concern

The Great Resignation has been one of the most cited repercussions from the trail of destruction COVID-19 continues to leave across the global business network. The term is largely attributed to Texas A&M University Professor Anthony Klotz, who predicted that a large wave of employee resignations would strike the working world this past May. He was more than a little prophetic.

Four million workers quit their jobs in April and slightly less than that headed for the doors in June. July and August also saw four million-plus serve notice to their employers, followed by 4.4 million in September. A study of Fortune 1000 company CEOs conducted by Deloitte and appearing in Fortune found that 73% anticipate the dearth of employees will cause disruption to their companies during the next 12 months, with 57% citing the ability to attract employees as one of their biggest challenges.

The pandemic gave pause for millions of employees who were either dissatisfied with their jobs for any number of reasons (wages, hours, benefits, working conditions, work-from-home flexibility) or sought to redefine themselves professionally. While the hospitality industry has been struck particularly hard and deep, this mass exodus has touched every business vertical to some degree, and that includes office technology dealers.

In this first installment of 2021 Elite Dealer challenges, we offer a sampling of the most-cited obstacle confronting the nation’s top dealers, and the measures they have taken to counter the intensifying of an issue that has long been a concern, only to a lesser degree. As you will see, recruiting, hiring and maintaining the top talent markets have to offer has never been more challenging than it was in 2021, and perhaps will be for the foreseeable future.

Prolonged Process

As a growing company, Centric Business Systems of Owings Mills, Maryland, has been tasked to fill open positions with the required talent. The process itself, particularly the time and effort required to fill slots, takes longer and has become a more expensive proposition. Plus, in many of the larger markets, employees are seeking opportunities that provide work-from-home options either full-time or in a hybrid scenario. Given the nature of the business and the need for collaboration to deliver on quality customer experiences, this can rule out many candidates.

As the situation continues to develop, Centric has developed a team of internal recruiters to attract and hire the best available candidates. “Our team is embedded in Centric’s culture and truly understands the day-to-day operations of our organization,” the dealer reported. “They are very effective at hiring the right people to contribute to our elite team. We’ve also implemented hiring bonuses to attract new team members and a substantial employee referral bonus to encourage our team to bring like-minded connections to the organization.”

Finding the right people to fill specific needs is causing dealers such as Definitive Technology Solutions of Bloomington, Minnesota, to craft a different approach. “We had to get creative on job postings and hiring techniques but have been able to fill several key roles,” the dealer reported.

Talent acquisition certainly tops the priorities list for Eakes Office Solutions of Grand Island, Nebraska. The dealer has resorted to different tactics to source talent, particularly in new and emerging markets where it is less known.

“We have started running recruiting commercials on both traditional TV programming and on online and streaming services,” Eakes reported. “The digital options give us more control over the demographics of those seeing and interacting with our advertisements.”

High on the hiring priority list for All Copy Products of Denver and its managed IT sister company Verticomm is the sourcing of IT professionals. The dealer lays out its value proposition to prospective employees by stressing several key talking points. These include opportunities to learn and grow in multiple channels, with customers in all industry sectors; bonuses and promotions for completed certifications; above-market compensation at all levels; and mentoring from best-in-class managers with decades of experience.

Sticking to Guns

When a dealer has high standards for its employees, as is the case with Altek Business Systems of Telford, Pennsylvania, staffing can be a challenge. Altek provides its staff with a solid work/life balance and expects the most out of its people. Even in a challenging hiring environment, the dealer sticks to its principles.

“We hire and fire based on our core values and we have not settled with employees or felt like we can just fill a spot with a warm body,” the dealer wrote. “We have focused on putting the right people in the right positions, even though that meant we may have taken longer to hire than we would have liked. In the end, we have been able to do that because we had the right people in the right positions around the ones we are looking to fill.”

Given the challenges of finding the right employee to mesh with a dealer’s corporate culture, it is often advisable to leverage incumbent employees—individuals who are already aligned with the dealer’s values—to help ferret out like-minded individuals. That has been a strong source of hiring candidates for Offix of Gainesville, Virginia.

“We continue to be challenged by slow recruitment and still-open positions in various areas of our organization. We have found, however, that the greatest success comes from personal recommendations; for this reason, we have increased employee referral bonuses,” Offix reported.

Amid a period of strong growth, Loffler Companies of Bloomington, Minnesota, has been tasked with recruiting qualified talent, which has been particularly challenging in filling regional office slots. As a result, the dealer has focused on beefing up its online presence.

“We built up the careers page on our website and started linking our open position ads to that page so prospective employees can immediately see all we have to offer and why they might like to work at Loffler,” the dealer wrote. “We also encourage current employees to refer friends and family by offering referral bonuses. In addition, we work with recruiters and visit colleges and universities to learn of emerging new talent.”

As difficult and competitive as the market is for qualified employees, Budget Document Technology of Lewiston, Maine, cautions dealers against knee-jerk or desperation hires. “You have to be persistent and constantly look for people,” the dealer wrote. “Don’t settle.”

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.