Sandi Stambaugh, senior vice president of product management at Synnex joins us for three questions about recruiting and retaining talent in the ProAV industry.
Commercial Integrator: Pro AV has long had a bit of a problem in terms of recruiting and retaining talent. How do we get young people excited about the AV industry and attract new talent?
Sandi Stambaugh: This is something that we’ve been focusing on — recruiting new talent coming up. Getting started early is so important. Programs like robotics, which actually Synnex is a big fan of and sponsors; e-sports and gaming is certainly helping as well.
Synnex is involved in career day activities and university involvement— we have an internship program where we have interns from across the country that join us through the summer and then sometimes in the winter as well; getting engaged, just trying to expose them as much as possible to technology, and certainly the AV industry and how they can get involved.
CI: Getting them in and then retaining them are two different questions, so once we have young talent in the organization, what can we do to help them grow and become the leaders of tomorrow?
SS: I agree. Getting in is one thing, but certainly we need to focus on deliberately developing them along the way. There’s the initial training, having a plan for that, and then leveraging associations like AVIXA or CompTIA, on the networking side. IMCCA is another association that has comprehensive support programs in place for training.
Development planning is important for the younger folks that are joining us in the AV industry. There’s great tools out there, platforms like LinkedIn learning. At Synnex, we have our discovery program and so hiring new talent early, getting them, and in giving them an opportunity to rotate through different types of roles, so they cannot just enter the industry, but also make sure that they’re strengths are aligned with the responsibilities that they take on.
We have an LMS platform, that we built out for our partners on the desk track and record on training. We have something called Varnex University which is also all about not just technology training, but also things like sales skills, technical skills. The other thing we think is super critical at Synnex, is a mentor program; mentoring not just within a peer group, but also outside of that peer group — really helping them map out of a path of where they want to head and make sure that they’ve got the right resources aligned with them as they got questions.
The last thing that we think is important is employee resource groups — giving our people an opportunity and giving folks an opportunity to align within an employee resource around a certain topic, for example, we’ve got a women’s resource group, including diversity, inclusion, and those types of things. It’s important that you have a meaningful and deliberate focus around that.
CI: Another program that is prevalent in the industry is NSCA’s Ignite initiative, which Synnex is involved with. Can you tell us about the company’s involvement?
SSI: I love the passion that NSCA brings to the industry and certainly as it comes to supporting the industry, recruiting talent and developing that talent. Early on we, we jumped in with our friends at the NSCA and wanted to support the effort, so we obviously financially support the program, but also even get engaged with a P2P program.
We’ve got another event with local YMCA members to encourage and put trust in the AV space. We’ve also got things like training programs, webinar series. We’re really excited about what IGNITE is trying to do for the industry and supporting anyway that we can.