Here's how some of the best companies to work for in Florida are attracting and retaining talent during the Great Resignation.
Aegis Business Technologies
No. 2 Small | Technology | Tallahassee
Focusing on the ‘A’ Game
020, a number of laid-off IT workers came knocking on the doors. “We hired them, and I think some of those folks feel very loyal to the firm,” says Aegis CEO Blake Dowling — but in 2021, he noticed a shift.
“All of a sudden, people were changing careers, resigning, wanting to work part time, taking earlier retirement — you know, all of the scenarios that we’ve seen out there, and it just became such a different world. And as we continue to grow as a small business and thriving tech company here in Florida, it’s like, well, what do you do?” he says. “You put a job listing on Indeed and instead of getting 100 resumes, you get 10, so we started utilizing different resources.”
Dowling decided to bring a recruiter on board to help with hiring. Applicants are now required to take an aptitude test and must achieve a certain score to even land an interview.
The increased scrutiny, he says, is a by-product of the company’s hybrid work arrangements. “Just like any relationships, if you want the moon, you’ve got to deliver. I don’t hear enough about that. You always hear about employers making wild accommodations. If you want to work from home, you better be bringing your ‘A’ game every day,” he says.
In most cases, Dowling says, remote employees do deliver. “Like a law office, we track our billable time, and people on the home front definitely bill more than in the office because of the distraction level. You have different distractions, of course, a barking dog and maybe kids or a spouse or whatever it is in your home/work environment, but people seem to be more focused,” he says.
At the same time, Dowling has made an effort to show appreciation and provide perks to staff who are trekking into the office.
Since the pandemic, Aegis has adopted a casual dress code, which, Dowling says, helps with retention when competitors are running around in July wearing coats and ties. The company also provides snacks — including beer and soft drinks — and added a standup video game unit and AV equipment to its conference room, where employees can play games or watch TV during their lunch break.
Regular staff meetings are critical to keeping all employees engaged, Dowling says. “We still have staff meetings every Friday regardless of who’s home, who’s working on an out-of-town project, who’s in the office. We’re going to have our staff meeting, and if you’re not present, you Zoom in, even if you’re in the car or the airport,” he says. “As long as you’re not on vacation, you’re expected to join in. Having that time, I think, is crucial.”