How to Retain Top Talent
Amidst our thriving economy, businesses have become increasingly worried about retaining their top talent more than ever before. Employees have options, and they aren’t afraid to explore them. At WorQFlow, we are seeing this magnified in the D365 market.
In a recent conversation with a client, we talked about a dilemma they were facing when investing in their current staff to learn D365. When they began moving from their legacy ERP system to D365, they had multiple employees raise their hands to be part of the implementation. Sounds great, right? Their employees are highly engaged and want to be more involved. That’s true, but unfortunately this comes with risk.
Four jobs for every one Dynamics AX developer.
In the D365 for F&O market, there is a 4:1 average ratio of job need to candidate ratio for Dynamics AX developers. (Source?) This means that when your in-house software developer—whose salary is below market value—develops a Dynamics AX skill set, they may now have four jobs in their local area willing to pay a premium for their skills. As an employer, you are now tasked with retaining this person as you compete against other projects, cultures, and comp packages.
So how do you do that? Here are a few areas to consider when working toward improving employee retention:
Understand where your company’s technology currently stands
A large portion of the market is constantly thinking about this issue. This may be alleviated when Microsoft cuts support and everyone is forced onto D365, but for now, this is one of the main issues affecting retention. For companies on an older version of AX 2009, you automatically run the risk of losing your best resource. From a candidate’s perspective, every year they spend on AX 2009 and not on the latest technology means they are losing out on valuable experience elsewhere. Although they may love your organization as a whole, that is often secondary to being well-paid and staying current in the market.
This is not just as simple as being on an older version either. You also need to consider how your leadership thinks and invests in technology. Are you progressive? Are you constantly thinking about having the best minds in the room to tackle complex issues? Do you understand the need in staying current with technology? Perhaps if you’re not in a position to upgrade, you can consider one of the following areas instead.
Be aware and proactive
At the conclusion of a Dynamics AX (365) project, assume that your employees are aware of their increase in value. For companies still on an older version of AX, assume your AX talent is well aware of where they could go to get experience with the newest technology. Make sure you are being communicative and open with your team about what’s next for them before it’s too late, and ensure they see the value in sticking around. Below are a few strategies to help you do that.
Offer bonuses, revenue sharing, and incentives
Bonus packages tied to both company and individual milestones are a useful strategy to retain top talent. I have seen employers build incentivizing bonus plans, where employees can make over 30% more than the market average. This is clearly a substantial pay out, but the alternative is losing someone and having to invest even more time and money into recruiting and training. When successful implementation requires the right talent on your team, it often makes sense to protect your wide investment by rewarding good work. If you aren’t able to offer bonus packages, another strategy can be to establish ongoing reviews to incentivize your staff. That way, they have ongoing opportunities to voice their thoughts and concerns and hopefully see an improvement in pain points overtime.
Offer remote work and flexibility
More than ever before, businesses are beginning to offer remote work to the D365 market. One of our clients recently closed on a candidate in a nearby state by offering a remote role with a quarterly visit to the office. They were having trouble finding a qualified candidate in their local market, so they opened up to the possibility of looking elsewhere. That way, they were able to secure the best resource instead of settling for someone on-site who may have been less qualified. Even for your current staff, I highly recommend investing in the opportunity for employees to work remotely. That’s a huge value add to employees’ work-life balance in today’s ever-evolving shift in business.
Invest in training and development
Are you sending your employees to D365 user groups and conferences? Similar to the dilemma I mentioned earlier, this can be a double edged sword. With more training and development comes a higher risk that you may lose out on this resource who now has an increased value. However, most of the time strong resources will join Microsoft consulting partners because they want to be trained to stay current with the technology. If you inspire a culture where you value their development, you will in turn develop loyalty.
Consider each employee’s career path with respect
You should always consider giving your employees more responsibility during your implementation—it’s important to empower them and allow them to feel valuable by offering opportunities to step up and grow. This may mean eventually backfilling their role to avoid burnout, but it will pay off in the end. Be sure to recognize them for hard work and compensate them appropriately. And finally, know that being respectful even to your most junior employee can go a long way.
Following these tips and you’ll be well on your way to retaining your top talent. Best of all, you’ll have happier employees and will spend less on recruiting and training.