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When I talk to AV companies, one of the biggest challenges they still face is related to talent. Many of these AV companies tend to struggle in at least one of these three areas:

  1. They struggle to find talent
  2. They can recruit talent but don’t have the resources to develop them ongoing
  3. They have the resources to recruit and develop talent but are worried they’ll eventually lose the talent to the competition

When I talk to HR professionals in other industries, they’re quick to say that AV isn’t the only industry facing this challenge. Many other business sectors are in the same boat.

My question to them was this: “The unemployment rate is down and contingent work opportunities are way up, so what is the most significant way companies solve these problems?”

Here’s what they said:

For companies struggling to find talent…

Companies with a traditional mindset will tend to look at where they found their best employees and keep going back to that well or similar environments. These companies hoping that lightning will strike twice, but learn that the competition has also found their formula.

Successful companies look at the persona of their best employees and the situations the job environments put them in. They then look at other industries that match up similarly to this description and start researching and recruiting from there.

Be sure to take caution in looking for that industry to fill multiple roles as the makeup and fit of what you need can change per industry.

For companies who can recruit talent but don’t have the resources for ongoing development…

The traditional mindset of companies is that they have to manage the full talent development life cycle, starting with the onboarding.

For SMB AV companies, this is a challenge mainly because the subject matter expert resources aren’t typically dedicated or available to support learning and development. Growth companies are onboarding multiple employees at one time, so without these resources, they’re forced to outsource.

Successful companies hold knowledge-sharing sessions with their best and brightest employees and document the details they learn. These meetings allow them to take this information to an external group that will support the outsourcing of talent development.

These outsourced organizations also have the right tools to design a program and processes that will work best for the organization.

For companies that have the resources to recruit and develop talent but are worried they’ll eventually lose the talent to competition

The third and last group is where a majority of AV companies fall in.

Here’s a great dialogue that details this daily dilemma:

CFO: What happens if we invest in developing our people, and then they leave us?

CEO: What happens if we don’t invest in them and they stay?

The fact is, talent development should be part of your strategic plan. Making your team better tomorrow than what they are today should always be a focus. Traditional mindset AV companies will let this fear kick in and use this excuse — or any other excuse — to not take action and develop their own employees.

Successful AV companies make talent develop a core focus in their strategy. These AV companies will invest heavily in talent development and encourage other employees to leave so they can go to experience something new.

Offering training alone doesn’t make this work. You have to create the right culture that someone wants to enter to learn and grow so they can be a part of the company for a long time.

A combination of recruiting talent from other industries, outsourcing the recruiting, onboarding, and continued talent development will help set your organization apart from others and open up more channels for filling, developing, and retaining your talented workforce.