Overcoming Technician Drought
MSP business practices can have disastrous effects on employee turnover. There are many operational aspects that keep jobs from being filled and make it distasteful for tech professionals to remain with a given company too long. This is perhaps most dramatically demonstrated through contemporary colloquial slang.
Tech people today are often pigeonholed into a static position. They call themselves “mushrooms” and the term makes sense. They basically process error detritus comprising the operational forest floor and nothing else. But people weren’t meant to be mushrooms. Such situations contribute to almost 600,000 tech jobs which remain unfilled for 90 days or more.
There are more reasons than just poor management which contribute to lost productivity. There’s skill and the technological shift which is today making start-up companies an economic sector unto themselves. The solution? Retain good employees. Here are several things you can do to reduce turnover:
- Invest in staff
- Collect operational data
- Give feedback— positive and negative
- Institute benefits
Investing In Staff
Your MSP business will likely be comprised of industry professionals with a passion for what they do. If they’ve got passion, that means they’re likely to have the right kind of attitude. If that attitude changes, it’s your MSP’s fault. To maintain passion, you need to reward excellence. Staff investment means giving raises where raises are due. Many tech employees quit due to under-representative compensation: they can make more with the “other guys” than you, and after a few years treading water realize your MSP is wasting their time.
Another way of investing in your staff is to give them paid time off to learn new things or pay them while at work to take online courses pertaining to new technology. Technician training helps tech professionals grow and you’re going to need to provide it anyway— the tech market is always in forward transition. So, get ahead of the curve by investing in employee education preemptively.
Company Data Pertaining To Operations
Your employees are going to be liquidated and acquired at statistically predictable rates. You need to keep an eye on those numbers to determine whether your retention measures are working or not. Additionally, you want data on individual employees for rewards. Many businesses have systems that reward good attendance, but it’s a sort of negative reinforcement system, i.e. the reward is not getting punished. You want a system that will mete out bonuses, time off, break time, or whatever’s most desired by employees should they do well.
Feedback, Positive and Negative
Your technicians need to know when they’re doing good work. You don’t want to just plant them like fungal mushrooms in some hangar full of servers 20 floors below management. You need to periodically look at their performance and reward it when it is good. This can also help you know whether they’ve got the right tools at their disposal or not. Sometimes, an employee can’t get a job done right not because of attitude or motivation, but because they’re not properly equipped for it by management. Regular positive and negative feedback can help you determine where your employees are at and how to best enable them for success.
Are there any snacks available? How about beverages— do your techs have a coffee machine? Don’t be cheap. Give them coffee or tea, have somebody bring in some snacks once a week, or maybe even daily if that’s affordable. Put a ping pong table in the break room. Diminish the pain of the daily grind. These things can go a long way toward retaining technicians.
Last but not least, you need to communicate with employees. Don’t just plant them in a tech closet, interact with them. This helps communicate value in a subconscious way, it gives you information acquirable no other way, and it builds a relationship between you and your technicians which can lead to loyalty.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Happy employees with benefits who can communicate with their superiors will do better work, stay with a company longer, and ultimately be an asset which is more valuable. Your employee investment is actually an investment in your MSP business as a whole, so don’t neglect it.