Growth potential in the custom integration industry remains strong thanks to continued product innovation and consumers’ willingness (and eagerness) to improve their at-home entertainment experience. The only things that can slow down that growth are the ongoing supply chain and labor market challenges.
All indications are that supply chain will remain a burden throughout 2022. That said, products are in fact being built, shipped and sold — it just may take longer than we are used to.
The other limiting factor is the labor market, and more specifically attracting and keeping talent. With wages increasing in a variety of industries, it would be naive to think employees are not looking for opportunities elsewhere to better themselves financially or in other ways. Are you struggling with job candidates looking for a better wage than you are starting with? Or do you have long term employees looking for a raise? We have now come to the moment you have to decide what is important for the health of your firm. How do you justify the wage increase to your business?
Most business metrics start with the premise of Return on Investment, basic ROI. As an employer, you want a well-trained staff. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about a new hire or a tech who has been with you for years. This takes time and money to accomplish and is something I hope you’ve built into the business model.
I would advocate that we go in a different direction and take the opportunity to “level up” your current employees via, education. CEDIA offers classwork in Cybersecurity (something that should be on EVERYONE’S mind these days), networking and much more. You’re bound to find a curriculum that will fit your techs’ passions and your business’s needs. A well-educated and well-trained employee will easily provide ROI over the long term by being more efficient, developing solutions quicker and being more engaged with the business. Not to mention, if you were to poll your employees, career development likely remains one of the TOP requests as part of their employment.
While certification and coursework are individual based and not tied to the employer, we should be looking at the end result in the same way Richard Branson of Virgin fame does. I’m sure we have all seen the quote on LinkedIn or some other motivational page that goes like this: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
As you contemplate what the impact of a wage increase might mean to your company, rather than just see it as an expense, tie that raise or wage into completing certifications that benefits both you and your employee. Provide a pathway to career development and growth via education and certification programs like the Cable Infrastructure Technician (CIT) or Integrated Systems Technician (IST). Doing so helps you, the employer, justify higher wages that allow you to remain competitive in your market.
Hank Alexander is the director of HTSN for Nationwide Marketing Group