Q: We’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers, and our MSP business is doing well. I want to make sure things are going just as well internally so we don’t start seeing lots of turnover. How can we keep our employees satisfied and excited to come into work?
Keeping employees engaged with their day-to-day can be difficult, but focusing on company morale is extremely important. Truth is, your employees’ attitudes are transferable, and if employees are unhappy, it’s likely that your SMB customers will have a bad experience, too. Think about it. Wouldn’t you rather be on the phone with a support person who is happy to help than with one who’s just going through the motions? A positive company atmosphere can boost employee morale, create better customer experiences, and keep employees engaged at work.
To give you advice on how to build a positive work culture at your MSP, we consulted Quiana Roy, the HR coordinator at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda. She shared advice on how even the smallest changes in your organization can have a big impact.
Investment keeps people coming back
In any job, you can expect to get a paycheck at the end of the day, but what you cannot expect from every company is a strong and positive workplace and culture. This begins with managers who are genuinely invested in employees’ well-being and career—as well as what they can do to ensure that the employee continues to be an asset to the organization. That level of investment is what keeps people coming back and stops career wandering eyes. The only time employees start to look is if they feel like they’ve outgrown their role, are dissatisfied with how things are progressing, or certain circumstances that they face tell them it’s time to move on. But, if they’re engaged, invested, and believe in the work they’re doing, and they can meet the job’s challenges and demands head-on, then they won’t go anywhere.
Managers have the ability to determine the path they take to help their employees grow. Most individuals do well in a high-energy, high-touch environment where managers are very involved with the everyday operations of their teams. Whether you’re in an MSP business or otherwise, I think it’s important to have a level of awareness in your employee base and have managers who have their ear to the ground and know what’s going on. Managers should build relationships with their team members to develop goals and understand what their aches and pains are on a daily basis. Keeping employees engaged in the company with their own personal goals will ultimately keep them motivated and coming back.
It also makes a difference how employees feel about themselves and their work on a daily basis. Most of the time that is how they determine whether or not they are happy at the company. Building relationships with employees starts on day one and determines how bumpy the road for new hires will be. Will they be paired up with different individuals to learn the ropes, or will they have to get up to speed on their own? Think about the level of investment you put in your employees, from the beginning of day one to years down the road.
Celebrate success, no matter how small
If you can’t identify even the smallest things as being successes, how can you identify when big things happen? It’s important for managers of all levels to have some level of articulation for their appreciation within their teams. No matter what department, employees make sacrifices to meet their deadlines and goals. For sales, it’s a quota. For the marketing team, it might be leads, and even the HR department has a head count to fill. Everyone within the company has something to deliver, so it is important for management to show some level of gratitude for what their employees have accomplished.
It doesn’t need to be a monetary compensation to show your appreciation. To let employees know that their contributions are valued—just say it. Something as simple as vocalizing your appreciation for your employees can go a long way. It’s unfortunate that there are some managers that have trouble vocalizing appreciation for their employees. For me, it’s the easiest thing to do, to say thank you and acknowledge things when they’re done well. Otherwise it’s difficult to recognize the larger successes.
Staying satisfied at work
A positive workplace environment, cross functional departments, and employee-to-manager engagements help employees stay satisfied at work. However there are a few additional things you should look at when assessing employee satisfaction. Are your position and your compensation levels well aligned? Are there clear paths for employee growth and development? Without well-aligned compensation levels or paths for personal growth, employees get to a point where they feel like they have outgrown the role. This is when they start to look elsewhere.
To help employees develop their careers, dedicate time to work on it on a regular basis. This time can be used to get employee feedback or develop achievable goals. You might be surprised to find that your employees will be vocal and honest. But, it’s important have dedicated time where employees and management can have an open conversation. Both parties should focus on what they can do and follow through on those action items. Employees know when their employer is making an effort on their behalf—and they’re more likely to respond positively if there is a clear destination or goal in mind.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.