How To Use Incentives To Improve Data Center Staff Retention

By David Boston  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: How to Minimize Human Error, Prevent Data Center DowntimePt. 2: Operations Objectives Should Drive Data Center Staffing DecisionsPt. 3: Develop Comprehensive Work Rules, Procedures To Minimize Human Error In Data CentersPt. 4: Site-Specific Infrastructure Training Can Help Limit Data Center Human ErrorPt. 5: This Page

7. Incentives for staff retention. Experience with unique system configurations in a data center contributes greatly to continuous operation success. Managers should implement methods to help retain valued, dedicated staff members, whether in-house or outsourced. Each year of experience gained increases the likelihood an individual will make the best decision in a crisis and effectively follow the appropriate procedure when performing a scheduled task. The following ideas have worked successfully for others, though not every method may apply for a given organization:

  • Benchmark with other critical facilities owners to ensure your organization's compensation and benefits are slightly higher than most in your area.
  • Offer monetary incentives and public recognition for group and individual accomplishments, such as continuous operation milestones.
  • Rotate ownership of individual processes and infrastructure systems every two to three years to increase the knowledge level and confidence of all team members.
  • Actively solicit innovative ideas from all team members, with a focus on systems reliability and efficiency.

Involve each team member as a trainer for the rest of the group, when a system they are responsible for is reviewed as part of the training program or when a new staff member is being oriented to the facility.

Require that valued incumbent team members be hired by the incoming provider when a transition to a new outsourced staff provider occurs.

Clearly, a concerted investment of time is involved in effecting a highly reliable operations strategy. Yet each strategy component outlined above is achievable with an expense budget investment. Once in place, time required to sustain the program is substantially less. Those who have successfully implemented these practices have seen their continuous facilities operation record extend exponentially, to upwards of five to 10 years without a single computer device interrupted — truly a multi-million dollar savings for many owners.

David Boston began his critical facilities career as Facilities Manager for GTE Data Services from 1985-1995. With the Uptime Institute, he assisted data center management teams for 14 years in two roles: Site Uptime Network program director and facility assessment consultant. Since 2006, his firm has independently provided assessments, staff plans, and the development of comprehensive procedures and training programs. He may be contacted at dfboston@DavidBostonConsulting.com.

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  posted on 8/16/2013   Article Use Policy

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