Attracting and retaining staff in the channel

Attracting and retaining staff in the channel

20 Sep 16:00 by Leon Conway


Panel Discussion:

We were recently privileged to take part in a panel discussion on the subject of  'Attracting and retaining staff in the channel.'

The event at ‘Channel Live’ brought together 5 people from varying channel backgrounds with a blend of expertise from across the industry.

David Jones – Chief People Officer - Daisy Group

Jessica Hadleigh – Marketing Manager – Thames Distribution

Adam Simon – Global Managing Director - CONTEXTworld

David Pitts – Founder – Trust Business Partners

Leon Conway – Co-Founder –

Our task was to dissect the subject, share experiences and highlight some best practices to help companies in our industry with this very current issue.

The topic was initially raised by a senior figure from one of the large IT distributors.

They claimed that once their staff are trained up, they often get poached by their suppliers and customers. And that attracting new staff was a challenge.

We broke the subject down into 5 key areas, which we'll summarise in separate updates over the next week or so:

1: The importance of an efficient, effective recruitment process.

2. Training / Apprenticeships

3. Employee on-boarding and integration

4. Attracting and retaining millennials

5. Company culture and its impact on retention


An efficient, effective recruitment process

'Are you as committed to your recruitment process as you expect your best applicants to be?'

If you want to recruit the best candidates, your recruitment process needs to be slick.

The recruitment process is very much a 2-way street, with your brand and reputation on the line.

The best candidates have plenty of options and can easily be put off. If your process isn’t up to scratch you will lose them.


Here are a few essential things you must get right.

1. Professionalism

All internal stakeholders must understand and be fully bought into your recruitment process.

They must fully understand your business, your industry and how to identify suitable candidates. You’ll be surprised how many don’t.

Your job description and job advert need to convey the reality of working for your company and a realistic description of the role. Read it back and consider whether it sounds appealing.

If you’re using an agency, make sure the company and consultant you’re working with fully understands these things too. Be as detailed as you can in your brief, to give them every chance of finding you good candidates.


2. Timeliness

Don’t keep candidates waiting for weeks because one of the interviewers can’t find time in their schedule. You wouldn’t accept that from a candidate.

If recruiting the best staff isn’t very high up your organisation's list of priorities, don't be surprised if you struggle to attract the best people.

Block out time for interviews in everyone’s diaries in advance.

From first engaging with a candidate, the process should take weeks not months. The longer you take, the greater the chance of losing the candidate.


3. Communication

Whether it’s direct or through an agency, you must keep candidates informed.

Don’t assume they know what’s going on.

Confirm the receipt of every CV, and explain how and when applicants will be notified whether or not they have been selected for the next phase.

Let them know how the process will work in advance. How many interviews there will be, the format of each interview and the timescales over which they’ll take place.

If anything changes, let them know immediately. They will have a schedule and commitments that they need to manage, don’t make it difficult for them.

Unless you have a very good reason, you should be able to give detailed feedback within 48 hours of every interview.

If you choose not to progress with a candidate, tell them why. At some point in the future, they may be suitable for a different role in your company. Leaving them with a positive impression will increase the likelihood of them taking the time to apply again.


Clear, accurate and timely communication, in conjunction with a professional and efficient recruitment process, demonstrates that you care about the candidate and is a good indication of the reality of your company culture.

Watch this space for part 2. Training and Apprenticeships