Are you having trouble finding and keeping the staff that you want for your MSP? If so, you are not alone. Many MSPs have the same issue. At Support Adventure, we’ve run a successful staffing company since 2016, which has allowed us to pinpoint the practices that have the most impact on attracting and hiring the best staff.
The type of talent MSPs need is actually very rare. These candidates are some of the brightest people on the job market, thus they have many options. To attract them, you will need to create the type of environment they are looking for.
What are the requirements an MSP should fulfill in order to attract and keep the best staff?
An MSP should create a great environment if they want to attract and keep the best staff, regardless of whether they hire locally or rely on an company providing outsourced MSP staffing services. To do so, recruit slowly and over staff. When you get to interview your future employees, don’t rely on an interrogation style of interviewing. Hire only the people that fit your culture. Build your brand around caring for the wellbeing of your staff and having a commitment to structure. Use that structure for your staff’s career advancement by clearly defining expectations and holding your staff accountable. Finally, allow your employees breathing room by adding variation to their roles.
What is the best way to recruit and interview to get the best staff?
Recruit slowly. Don’t just bring anyone onboard if you have an emergency to fill a role.
Also, overstaff. Hire all the talent you can find. Make sure you always have one or two more people than you actually need because unfortunately, people can call out sick or quit unexpectedly.
From our experience running an MSP staffing company, we see tickets coming in everyday from people calling in sick. So make sure to interview lots of candidates. At the same time, don’t be in such a hurry to hire just anybody until you are sure they will fit your environment.
If you don’t enjoy interacting with a candidate on a personal level, don’t hire them. This is why we preach that you shouldn’t be so dependent on resumes alone.
Speaking of interviews, there is no room for an interrogation-style interview. You and the candidate need to sell it both ways. Build a vibe with the person you’re interviewing because that reflects the rest of the relationship. Present your environment in the best way. The potential candidate should see that your staff actually enjoys working with you. Don’t forget to be personable and talk about their hobbies, their life situation and what they do for fun.
Also, let them talk to several people from your company to get a feel for your MSP’s environment. If they see that your staff seems pretty content and relaxed, that will make them want to be a part of the team.
If you both enjoyed the interview, there is a much higher chance that they will take the job. Even if they have an offer for a job that is higher paying, they still are likely to choose to work with you because of your positive, supportive and stress-free environment.
Create an image that attracts the best staff for your MSP
You must have a brand identity that includes your values and the wellbeing of your staff. First, decide if you are a premium provider or not. If you want to be the former, you must provide a distraction-free environment for your staff. Making money is great, we know. But being overly preoccupied with just that can be detrimental for your image.
If an MSP exhausts their staff and makes them work in a stressful environment for the sake of money, it is going to reflect on the quality of their service.
The most important thing you can do to be the best MSP is to have a commitment to structure. That is afterall what an MSP is–a structure of:
- Ticketing systems
It is your prerogative to evolve your structure constantly. Put a lot of procedures in place and hire people responsible enough to support those structures. You can use employee feedback to improve and update them constantly.
You also need to set clear expectations and a system to hold your staff accountable. This goes for:
- Requirements for filling out tickets
- Changing ticket statuses
- Escalation procedures
- Communication procedures, etc.
Enforce a system of rules that explain to your staff what is expected of them if they want to contribute and be a good employee. It helps to have everything in writing to avoid ambiguity, and feel free to check in with your staff regularly. Hear them out, see how they are doing with procedures and if they need something that will make their job easier.
It’s important to make the first move of checking in because when good technicians aren’t communicating their needs, there’s a strong reason. It’s often because they feel like there is no point in communicating their frustrations, as they’ve lost all hope that something will improve. Don’t let it get that bad.
Invest in your staff to keep the best employees
It’s important to create a structure for how your staff can build a career in your company. Allow your staff to improve their skill set, and pay for any learning material they need.
Knowledge they acquire during their working hours will be useful to you and improve your MSP. Make them feel like a valuable part of your organization and not like a disposable employee.
Also, let their roles breathe and vary. This is not only very important for your staff’s career advancement, but for peace of mind in general. If everybody’s doing the same exact tasks for months, it will burn them out eventually. So give them space to breathe and engage in different aspects of your company so you can see what they do best according to their skill set and talents.
Your staff are all unique people with different abilities. Listening to their feedback and being sensitive to their needs will make them better at their job and improve the MSP as a result.
Mentor and manage your staff the right way
It’s crucial to have a management team that knows how to lead by example and consistency. Avoid micromanagement as it just creates more tension between the managers and staff. This tension results from managers neurotic looking solely at numbers and ignoring customers until a problem escalates.
You also need to have a strong training program, where you can teach people through procedures, about the structure of your business.
Building consistency through accountability is also a must. This will make your staff advance faster and feel comfortable with the work they are doing.
One last thing… make senior techs mentors rather than managers. There is a point where certain members of your staff will advance so much that they’ll want a bigger position. They need to choose to either become a super-tech that helps junior techs, or a manager. It is not always the case that they are fit for both. Management is more about improving and maintaining a strong connection with customers through service delivery than it is about solving technical riddles.
But whichever they choose, they need to prioritize training and helping junior techs. This is what ties everything together and creates a great environment.
Incentivise documentation keeping
Documentation is the structure that makes an MSP organized. When MSPS get busy or are short-staffed and disorganized, documentation is the first thing to fall by the wayside. Massive holes develop in this area when everyone is too preoccupied with putting out fires.
Do not fall into this trap. Documentation upkeep needs to be a group effort. Incentives will help establish this by rewarding those who are good at finding missing documentation.
Pay attention to these crucial points if you want to hire the best staff for your MSP:
- Recruit slowly and over-staff
- Hire culturally compatible staff
- Understand and define roles better and add variation
- Implement commitment and structure
- Train rather than micromanage
- Invest in people
- Create accountability and set good examples
- Prioritize documentation
With our expert knowledge, we’ve helped over 50 MSPs hire the best staff and improve their MSP through consultation. Apply to become our client here!