Managing Your MSP Business: What is a Human Resource Strategy?

MSP BusinessThe thought of implementing an HR strategy seems daunting for your MSP business. It often looks to be an over complication of a rather simple thing. Your employees come in, they do their work, and business carries on. Human resources are not needed for this simple process. However, things often don’t work that way. When you have staff, you need to remember that human nature is a powerful thing. It makes even the simplest things complicated, and you need to deal with it effectively.

Why Your Company Needs a Documented HR Strategy

Simply put, you need to spend time and effort developing an HR strategy because it makes your company run better. This saves you time, money, and effort in the long run, even if the upfront work seems frustrating.

There is a host of difficulties that can be mitigated just by having a simple (but written) policy regarding expectations. Think of this scenario:

Joe’s child is sick, but he has worked a lot of overtime lately. He figures that taking off early should be fine; he has worked extra hours after all. Jack sees Joe leave early. Jack feels used because he does not get to leave early, even though he has extra hours.

While it doesn’t seem like much, these types of scenarios chip away at moral. It makes any attempt at team building difficult and leads to a very negative culture. A simple policy outlining the acceptable uses of accrued over time ensures that employees are treated in a similar manner.

These things happen all the time in working environments. The lack of documentation leads to assumptions and unfair treatment. It is the not so simple reaction that people have when they interact. A human resource strategy helps give your employees the tools to navigate this in the best way possible.

What Needs to be Included?

Deciding on your human resource policies and procedures is important. You are really defining your MSP business when you put this on paper. While most of these seem obvious, it is important to remember that common sense to you might not be common sense to all of your employees.

This documentation is the tool that you and your managers will use for any human resource issues. It is what your employees base their expectations off of. It is also a great way to demonstrate what aspects of the business are the most important.

This needs to be at the forefront of your mind while you craft your HR strategies. For a basic starting point, your policies should cover these topics:

• Employee Time Expectations – From hours worked, overtime, to vacation planning, time expectations are one of the largest concerns for a human resource strategy.
• Office Behaviors – What is and is not appropriate in an office varies greatly. Covering this with your documentation takes the guess work out of it. This creates an office environment with fewer conflicts.
• Work Quality Expectations – Topics that focus on this aspect of human resources include deadlines, required results, and other measurable topics. Many help desk employees have call times monitored and customer satisfaction data. The thresholds for acceptable numbers need to be documented.
• Conflict Resolution – This is the final part of a human resource strategy. It needs to outline how your managers react when other policies are not followed. Inside this policy, you need to dictate what breaks in policies are met with what consequences.

A completed strategy covers most of the different interactions that happen in your workplace. It lets your employees know what is expected of them and empowers your managers to deal with conflict in an appropriate manner. With the right tools in place, your MSP business runs smoothly and it is a great environment to work in.

About our Contributor

Stefan an IT support provider in Knoxville that is actively involved in ministry at Friendsville United Methodist Church, and has a passion for people, technology, and finding ways to make the two work together.

He began providing computer support in 6th grade at Alcoa Middle School near Knoxville. He loved the responsibility, problem-solving skills, and the “Oh my gosh you fixed it!” reactions of my teachers. At 14 years of age, he was the youngest A+ Certified Technician in the state of Tennessee at the time (unofficially). He graduated Magna Cum Laude from UT’s College of Business Administration with a degree in Enterprise Management with a Dual Concentration in Information Management (it’s rather unfortunate that my diploma only says, “Business Administration”).

Upon graduation, I decided to start providing computer repair and managed IT services to home users and small businesses in Knoxville, Maryville TN, Oak Ridge TN and Alcoa TN under the name “SJW Tech Services” (my