What can MSP business owners could do to appreciate their techs and reduce their turnover rate? We all know that employee turnover is a business killer in the IT industry, but why is that? Bottom line: there’s a shortage of IT talent and a widening skills gap.
There are about 593,500 IT jobs in the United States that have remained open for 90 days or longer. That equates to 50,000,000 days of lost IT productivity each quarter! So, what can be done about this? In the final post of our How to Do More Rewarding Work as an MSP Technician blog series, we'll focus on some key ways MSP technicians can improve job satisfaction, reduce turnover, and ultimately overcome the challenges of scaling business.
1. Increase Pay and Have an IT Budget
In Dice Tech's recent Salary Survey, out of 39 percent of tech pros that expressed interest in changing employers this year, 65 percent listed higher compensation as their reason. Although increasing salaries isn't always possible, it's worth understanding that pay level is a leading contributor for technician turnover rate.
2. Offer Telework as an Option
Consider if you have any employees that might benefit from telecommuting. One popular reason for telework is to cut down on travel time and the expenses associated with it, such as gas and parking. Some of your staff may live over an hour away, and commuting in each day is costly and time-consuming. Do they have families they need to be home to take care of? When you show employees that you care about their work-life balance and offer more flexible work hours and/or options, they'll feel like their needs are being listened to. In effect, they'll likely become more loyal towards your company. As long as your staff is able to do their job remotely and productivity doesn't suffer, you should think about approving telework.
3. Stop Micromanaging
Have you empowered your staff enough to let them own their projects? Micromanagement is a poor management style in any industry, and IT is no exception. Remember that skilled employees take pride in the work they do. The way technicians become skilled leaders is by being able to test out their strengths and learn from their mistakes. You do want them to learn and improve, right? That brings us to our next point...
4. Invest in Technician Training to Help Them Grow
By sending your techs to get certifications or paying for their training, you'll send the message that you care about their growth within the company. They're not just your worker bees looking to check off items on a task list. The more you lift your employees up, the less they'll feel replaceable, and the less likely they'll be to leave you.
Sometimes the boring L1 tasks just have to get done, and they can eat up an entire work day. It's hard to advance your tech talent when you only have so many hours in the day and tickets for password resets keep popping up. One solution is offloading these lower level jobs to a smart-sourced team of certified technicians that acts as an extension to your own in-house operation.
Failing businesses often find themselves having put their best resources on their biggest problems. Comparatively, successful businesses put their best resources on their biggest opportunities. That means you cannot put the technically skilled labor in your organization on low-level network operations center (NOC) and help desk work. That creates high turnover, poor customer service and asymmetrical business models.
Instead, you need to redeploy your best people away from that lower-level work and onto high- impact customer-facing opportunities—such as re-platforming, three-year IT strategies, cloud deployments and security strategies. This requires a combination of automation and the leveraging of a lower-cost but still highly skilled workforce; in other words, outsourcing.
5. Equip Techs with the Right Tools
Do your employees have everything they need to do their job well and efficiently? I understand that certain expenses just aren't in the budget, but techs will appreciate bosses who are receptive to their needs. Don't just dismiss employees when they make requests. Follow up and ask them which tools will help them be more successful and how. Then, listen to their rationale to see if it makes sense for your business to spend the extra amount. Do the benefits outweigh the costs?
6. Be Mindful of Tech Time and Bandwidth
Ideally, you’re leveraging a help desk solution so your techs don't feel as overwhelmed and burdened by end user demands. Still, their time is precious. Even if they're using a Network Operations Center (NOC), which is different from a help desk, and are able to save time resolving issues often before the end user is any the wiser, you have to understand that they can't always drop everything they're working on without advance notice.
7. Offer Work Perks
Sometimes, the simplest measures can go the longest way. Remember that for many of your employees, the office is their home away from home. They're spending at least 50 hours/week there, so what can you do to make it more inviting? You could hold monthly team lunches to boost morale, for example. They'll provide the opportunity for you to get to know your staff on a personal level and will encourage employees to get to know one another. This socialization will pay off when they're dealing with clients directly!
8. Reward Employee Efforts
Maybe you don't have it in the budget to increase everyone's salaries, but I'm sure you could spare gift-cards or tickets to a sporting event. When an employee goes above and beyond and scores a big win for the company, recognize their efforts! One thing we do at our quarterly meetings is honor an employee from each department that excelled and pay tribute with a certificate and Amazon gift card. When employers give back to their employees, those employees tend to give back to the company.
The Continuum platform anticipates and tackles MSPs’ next challenges—enabling them to grow with confidence. Learn more about how to avoid technician agitation, pain and burnout in our new eBook, which you can download here!
By Meaghan Moraes
By Gretchen Hoffman