Making Room for Employee Engagement is Critical for MSPs
There’s simply no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to sustaining employee morale and engagement. You’ve got to take the individual route.
You hear a lot about how company culture is important, but what if you’re in the business of helping to run other companies? That’s the dilemma faced by many MSP companies. Employees spend their time solving problems and putting out fires for many different companies.
Most MSPs are so busy changing their virtual hat to match the company with the current emergency that they don’t have time to recognize the great work done by their employees, and the small daily wins that should always be celebrated. It doesn’t take long before the crew starts to feel overworked and underappreciated. Here’s how to steer away from that problem.
The right tools
When was the last time you checked with your team to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed in serving your customers? Aside from the “if money was no object” requests, are there upgrades or equipment you can provide that help your team raise productivity.
Not only does it help them to do a better job for clients, it makes them feel better about themselves. You’ll raise engagement when you remove the barrier to getting things done.
There is no “I” in TEAM
Big deal. There is one in INDIVIDUAL. Your team is not a squadron of clones. They’re likely multiethnic and even multigenerational. There’s simply no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to sustaining employee morale and engagement. You’ve got to take the individual route.
Keep it simple. If you want to know what will motivate your employees, ask them. And, while it’s possible that you’ll get a wide range of answers, you’re bound to find some recurring themes. There are many ways, for example, to ask for increased autonomy. How flexible can you be when it comes to certain organizational procedures? Is there room to allow for individuality?
You may think you’re doing the right thing when you announce policies and procedures that apply to everyone. What you may not realize is that nobody is interested in being treated equally. They’re not clones. They would prefer to be treated fairly.
Return on investment
Your MSP will see higher employee satisfaction and engagement when you increase your commitment to continuous development. What you’re saying is, “I’m investing you’re your ability to do a better job by improving your skills.” What they’re hearing is a reason to stay and grow.
You don’t need a massive training budget to provide training and coaching for your MSP staff. Some of the best trainers and coaches might actually be among your staff. It gets back to asking. You might be surprised by the response you get if you put out a request for training or coaching volunteers.
This leads to another important element to increased employee engagement. People tend to listen and learn better from each other than outside sources. Coaching sessions work better when handled by peers who demonstrate the ability.
You’ll see a remarkable change in your team when you show them that you don’t just pay them for their work, but you also are investing in the elevation of their skills.
No, that doesn’t mean start a Facebook group. Your objective is to help your team feel more emotionally vested in their jobs – and that’s even more difficult for MSPs because the facets of a job change with each client. An app isn’t going to help here.
You’re going to have to go low tech, and it’s got to start with you. How can you show that you personally appreciate your team? Beyond the paycheck, the training, and the right tools, how can you demonstrate you value them as people?
Do you have a small team? Invite them all over for a backyard barbecue. If the team is too large for that, switch venues to a nearby park. Contribute the main things, like the burgers and hotdogs, as well as the refreshments. Ask your team to bring the side dishes. Food is an amazing social bonder.
The objective is to foster ways to make your employees feel more emotionally invested in their roles. Engaged workers have closer connections with their colleagues. You can help this happen by creating opportunities to socialize.
Help your clients say thanks
It isn’t that they don’t express their gratitude. Often, the words of praise just don’t make it past the person who receives them – and unfortunately, it’s seldom the person who did the good deed.
Rewards and recognition will increase employee engagement. You must do this. In the case of MSPs, there’s a second level of recognition that’s just as important. Do you make it easy for your clients to pass along appreciation to the people on your team who put out their fires?
Invest in a way for your people to receive a steady flow of input from your clients. Take the lumps with the sugar. It’s better to make it easy to receive complaints than shield yourself from information that you can use to make improvements.
You and your team have an interesting dilemma. You work mostly for other companies, and yet it’s important to find ways to foster a sense of your own organization’s identity. Recognizing your employees is crucial if you’re an MSP. You’ll increase engagement and trust, and you’ll help employees remember that they represent your organization. We all need to remember – and appreciate –who we work for.