Reprinted courtesy of SharePoint Acadamy.

At this time, SharePoint professionals are in huge demand due to SharePoint’s success at delivering value to organizations. These organizations spend huge amounts of resources finding and recruiting skilled employees. Wages are through the roof because employees know that with the right skillset, they can easily get a new job any time, and when they need a job, they will have plenty of job offers.

At the time of this writing, a simple search for “SharePoint” at gives more than 1,000 results for vacant positions. Filtering the results for jobs paying more than US$100,000 still leaves 163 available jobs. At US$150,000 and above, 35 jobs remain. This means that even if you offer new employees $150,000 every year, they can still pick from 35 available positions right now.

You can probably realize the challenge employers face in finding skilled labor.

To attract the right people, most employers offer incentives to employees, in the form of perks, higher wages, extended vacations, and so on. However, these types of extrinsic perks are pure expenses for the employer; they get nothing in return beyond the employee’s demands being met. After securing the momentary happiness and signature of the employee, the employer does not share in the benefits the employee gets.

Luminaries such as B.F. Skinner question the effect of such extrinsic incentives. The result is often reduced motivation because
employees come to expect these incentives and will be disappointed when they don’t get them continuously. In a famous study, a company started giving out turkey’s to all employees for Thanksgiving. Initially, all the employees were extremely happy about this, but after a few years, everyone simply saw it as a routine, so when the company decided to stop giving out these turkey’s, employees became extremely demotivated, seeing the annual turkey as a part of their regular benefit.

If companies that rely on extrinsic motivation wants to keep motivating employees, they need to continually increase the value of these perks, leading to a spiral of death where expectations increase every time a perk is offered. Paying people more isn’t enough to keep them motivated.

Besides, every other company that may be competing for your employees may also buy turkeys and thus remove your competitive advantage with the signing of a purchase order with their local Turkey farm.

Keeping Employees Happy

Finding and recruiting SharePoint professionals is difficult enough, but hanging on to them and making sure they don’t leave the company is an even bigger challenge. After all, paying employees the high salary is only part of the cost. The cost of recruitment is also a factor and can easily reach 20-30% in commissions to headhunters alone. For a $100,000 job, that’s $30,000 every time you need to get a new employee. It’s an investment you don’t want to lose.

But how do you actually retain those hard-earned SharePoint professionals? You do that by keeping your employees motivated and satisfied, which begs the question: What motivates employees? Even basic research will quickly tell you a few key points:

  • § Feeling of job and task mastery
  • § Healthy work environment
  • § Work/Off-work balance
  • § Varied and challenging tasks
  • § Community and social aspects

Extended training directly affect many of these points. Increases in skill means that employees feel they master their jobs, feel less unhealthy stress, can perform their work faster and thus get more free time, and allow the employees to tackle a wider range of tasks.

As for community, well, one thing is the community that the employee meets during their training, but even better is the community building effects of training groups of employees in the organization. People who share more than project deadlines tend to bond better through shared experiences and skills.
Employees that feel valued by their employers are likely less concerned with what other employers may offer. Employers that help employees master their jobs are more likely to keep skilled employees. Increasing the feeling of job satisfaction and mastery is far more important than increased salary or other extrinsic benefits.

The final benefit I’ll talk about here, which makes training as a perk an absolute no-brainer, is that the employers will also gain from having skilled employees. As I have discussed previously in this column, skilled employees help the organization deliver what they promise, when they promise, and within the expected budget. Skilled employees will affect also other employees and further increase their skills, multiplying the training effect.

In short, it’s a win-win situation. Investing in training benefits both the employees and the employer. When you know that getting these benefits for
the organization also benefits the employee, I really can’t understand why you’re not right now planning the next training course for your SharePoint