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Partner Nets Quality Recruits Through Community Involvement

The technical skills gap presents challenges to all growing partners, and even more so for those partners whose services require strict adherence to regulatory requirements.

One Microsoft managed services provider (MSP) whose customers include strictly regulated customers like financial institutions and medical organizations is meeting the challenge through active engagement in the community and classes at the local university.

The Challenge of Finding Great Candidates
The high performance 24/7 Network Operations Center (NOC) services provided by ClearPointe, a gold systems management and server platform partner based in Little Rock, Ark., require responsive, experienced employees to deliver on their service level agreements (SLAs). As one of only six accredited Master MSP NOCs in the world, ClearPointe makes recruiting top-level talent a high priority.

"The secret to success is finding the right candidates who understand both technical concepts and proactive management," said Bob Longo, executive VP of sales and business development at ClearPointe. "We also need those candidates to meet our security requirements, which includes thorough background checks."

A Community Approach
To increase the pool of local talent, ClearPointe has taken a community approach to build connections with business and education leaders. "Certainly, we want to promote our business, but we also want to promote the local economy," Longo said. "Arkansas unfortunately loses a lot of great candidates to out-of-state organizations. The more that we can offer opportunity here, the better for our community."

Through personal relationships built during active participation in regional groups like the Chamber of Commerce, the ClearPointe executives made clear their interest in giving back to the community. Through programs like the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce leadership program, executives connected with education leaders on a personal level. Offering to work with students opened the door to discussions about teaching a class at the local university.

"Over the course of five years we have taught three courses, fine-tuning the curriculum over time," Longo said. "We are helping the university by giving students real-world insight, which will open doors for them. They learn about cloud services, SLAs and proactive management."

The most recent class, "Cloud and Distributed Network Management," introduces Microsoft Azure and System Center to students. All the classes have been taught by John Joyner, ClearPointe's senior architect and a Microsoft MVP.

"It is a significant investment, dedicating the time of a senior professional, but we are also building goodwill," Longo said. "Giving back to the local economy is part of our corporate responsibility. We want to help keep talent in our state and raise the standard of living for everyone."

The Bottom Line
To date, four students have been hired by ClearPointe as a direct result of the university courses. Those new NOC employees, including one minority and one woman, go through a comprehensive training and apprenticeship program.

In addition to new employees, working inside the university environment has given ClearPointe first-hand experience with the education market -- a vertical it serves. Credibility earned through its relationship with the university is a differentiator in the market.   

To bridge the technology skills talent gap, partners need to take a creative approach to find qualified candidates. Taking a win-win approach that brings tremendous value to the local community, ClearPointe has established a pipeline to identify and recruit top talent.

How are you bridging the talent gap? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on July 09, 2014 at 11:54 AM


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