Over the next few months, we’ll take an inside look at how the NSCA 2019 Excellence in Business award winners have adapted to our constantly changing industry. The story of Innovative Collaboration is fourth on the list. For its commitment to employee education and training, Innovative Collaboration was named an NSCA 2019 Excellence in Business award winner in the Talent Development category.
It’s no secret that recruiting and retaining talented workers is one of the biggest challenges our industry faces. The average NSCA member has at least seven open positions at any given time (nationally, this equals 17,000 open positions). Current industry training programs help to a point – but they fill only 600 of these spots every year.
And once you fill these positions, how do you keep them filled – and keep your employees engaged?
In its quest to build a capable team, Innovative Collaboration focuses on finding young, new talent with the drive and determination to learn. Instead of requiring that they have industry experience, for example, the company takes a close look at each person and what he or she could contribute through their unique talents (skills that may not be closely associated with our industry at first glance). From there, owners Pete Holcomb and Al Sheppard then invest in training, education, and support to help employees achieve their full potential. The best part? The training is customized based upon individuals and their interests.
Take one of Innovative Collaboration’s female employees, for example. When she was hired at age 21, she didn’t know much about AV. But she had a natural drive and willingness to learn. Now she’s one of the company’s key programmers. She also passed the CTS exam on her first attempt – within her first year of employment! She’s invaluable to many installation projects and has gone on to Crestron programming school as well, where she once again passed with flying colors.
After an employee has been with the company for a few months and identified specific areas of interest, Innovative Collaboration then works with him or her on career development. One recent hire was brought on board to be a technician, but his talent for 3D modeling was uncovered once he joined the team. To help develop this skill, the company enrolled him in 3D modeling classes at Valencia College. Now, he programs and prints Innovative Collaboration’s 3D parts!
The company carries this philosophy throughout, regardless of department or position. For example, after the organization’s bookkeeper (originally hired to manage the GSA schedule) discovered she had a passion for AutoCAD, she was able to take classes to learn more. As a result, she now serves as the AutoCAD backup when the engineering team needs assistance.
“It’s all about the people. We make sure we’re communicating what our goals are as a company and the direction we’re headed, but also take the time to listen to the folks who make up our teams to ensure they have a path for growth and are doing what they want to do,” says Sheppard.
There are many parts that make up the industry puzzle: In other words, it takes all kinds to build a truly outstanding team. Some talents may not directly relate to AV, but they can still play an integral part in company success.
Innovative Collaboration is shaking up industry norms by hiring, educating, and preparing the next generation of workforce professionals – and then training them to take advantage of their passions. This commitment to continuing education and professional development helps pave the way for employee achievement.
Check back as we continue to reveal how the 2019 NSCA Excellence in Business award winners made business changes to adapt to our constantly changing industry. You’ll also read stories from: