Employee Retention at Marsh Electronics

At the WHMA Summit last February, HR Consultant Cara Silletto gave a compelling keynote dealing with employee retention. Ironically, Scott Morris of Marsh Electronics was slated to hold a round table on the same subject the following day. “I thought folks would be HR’d out,” Scott joked. “But when I got to my table at the session, it had the biggest crowd!”

Clearly folks were energized by Cara’s keynote, but they also wanted to learn about the real-world employee retention strategies Marsh was employing—and so did we. WHN got some specifics of what they are doing at Marsh in a post-show interview with Steve Banovich, CEO, Scott Morris, Assembly Sales Specialist and Rachel Schoolcraft, HR Manager. The team shared some of the HR strategies they have perfected in recent years.

Rachel began with a notion that seems obvious but is often overlooked. “One of the keys to retaining people is hiring the right people in the first place. We do our best to find candidates who fit the core values that management has set forth.” Rachel begins this process with a phone interview, asking questions and listening for responses that line up with Marsh’s core values of honesty, accountability, trust and respect, and integrity. Upon clearing that hurdle, candidates are brought in to engage with people from different departments who they may or may not be interacting with in the position. “That way you get a cross-section of opinion versus ‘hey, you’ve got an IU Basketball shirt on; you’re hired.’” Scott said.

In her keynote, Cara stressed that every new hire is a flight risk. Rachel agreed, saying, “You cannot underestimate that notion, and you need to be paying close attention to new hires.” Marsh has an extensive onboarding process that can take a year or longer and maintains open communication and feedback during the onboarding process, especially the first 90 days. “When somebody walks in the door the first day most of the management team who were involved in the interviews have already established a connection with them. It helps that crucial first day go smoother and ensures they come back,” she said.

“We started a new review process last year,” Rachel relayed. “During that 90-day review, we really give the employee opportunities to be very open and honest as to whether the position is right for them. We also ask their manager to check in with them at least every two weeks during that onboarding time, so they don’t feel as though they have no one to talk to.” She stressed that a big part of this is coaching and development training to give the managers the tools they need to maintain that open atmosphere.

Marsh gets employees involved in training programs early on. It helps give them more buy in during the early days of a new hire where light schedules can lead to boredom and dismay. “One of the things we have added is the PACE training through ECIA (Electrical Component Industry Association). There are 10 models of education there for folks who are not familiar with our industry.” Rachel mentioned.

Scott mentioned the company’s referral program where employees can recommend acquaintances they think may fit the company culture. “So, I might say, ‘hey, you need to hire my buddy Steve because he’s really good with a drill press.’ And if Steve is brought on board, I get some cash.” Scott described. The referral amounts are paid on a scale as the employee moves through the onboarding process with a final award given on the new hire’s one year anniversary. “You can’t be afraid to tie some cash to that,” he added. “We’ve really boosted the dollars that we wanted to utilize for that program. It has helped create great results because our employees are the best people to help us find new talent.”

In the three years that Marsh has embarked on this journey, they have spent a great deal of time optimizing their benefits package. They’re constantly monitoring it looking for enhancement ideas. Steve stressed that they want to make Marsh a destination for professional and personal development. That led Rachel to discuss the wellness committee that they have implemented. “We’re just trying to get people engaged and get the word out there about things like wear pink day or diabetes awareness week. We do some activities but that’s really the first step. We’re also introducing what we called Facts and Snacks days where we will have some of our benefits providers on site.”

Marsh’s efforts aren’t just on physical health and wellness, but also employee’s well-being in general. “We’re working to implement initiatives that concentrate on mental health, financial health, and all those things that help employees be successful, not only here at Marsh, but also at home. We know if we give them that additional support, they are more likely to stick with us,” Rachel insisted.

If you would like to learn more, Steve and Scott would be happy to chat with you at the EWPT Expo in Milwaukee where they will be exhibiting at Booth 929.