Software itself is composed of bits and bytes, but it’s flesh and blood that make for success in the software industry, according to John Pagliuca, CEO of managed services vendor N-able.
“I remind folks all the time, the software business is not a factory,” he says. “It’s all about people.”
With IT sector unemployment currently at just 2.1%, according to new data from CompTIA, finding people—or at least good ones—is as hard as it’s ever been for channel pros. That makes retaining the people they already have both vitally important and incredibly difficult, given how plentiful job offers are at present for skilled tech workers.
It’s a problem that N-able wrestles with every bit as much as its partners. What works for them? Pagliuca and Kathleen Pai, N-able’s chief people officer, shared five answers with ChannelPro at the vendor’s recent Empower partner conference.
1. Setting a Vision
Ultimately, Pai says, everything involved in retaining employees comes back to one thing: culture.
“That’s so important, and it starts with your value set,” she says. Your value set, by extension, should guide not only your retention efforts but your hiring process as well, Pai adds.
“If you’re going to hire people that you ultimately do want to retain, you have to understand the type of people that you want to attract,” she says. “If you’re hiring the wrong people, you will experience attrition.”
2. Embracing a Mission
Young job seekers in particular, Pai notes, want more from their work than a paycheck. They want to have an impact on the world. A compelling, inspiring mission will help you both attract and retain them.
N-able’s core mission, for example, is empowering MSPs to serve SMBs. “It’s super clean living,” Pagliuca says. “It puts responsibility on our shoulders to make sure that we’re helping the small medium enterprise be productive, be safe, be collaborative, and be able to compete with some of the giants that are out there.”
To make embracing that cause even easier, N-able has adopted “earning more fans” as the simple three-word rallying cry for everything it does. “It’s our north star,” Pai says. “It’s what we hold ourselves and each other accountable to.”
It’s been so effective, moreover, that employees have been known to enforce that accountability with senior management. “We’ve had employees challenge us where they’ve said, ‘is this going to earn more fans?” Pai says.
3. Hearing Every Voice
N-able encourages that kind of speaking up. People who feel heard and included in the corporate conversation are usually more loyal, Pai observes.
“A lot of our strategy is around listening,” she says. “That means everyone has a voice.”
That voice influences even N-able’s biggest decisions. “It’s not just the management team, us, coming up with ideas that we think sound great and making investments,” Pai says. “We ask our people what’s important to them, what they value specifically.”
4. Investing in People
Showing people they matter by investing in what matters to them is an important part of the retention formula at N-able. Often that revolves around helping employees acquire new skills.