The technical skills that are the hallmark of engineers in an MSP company come with personality types and character traits. These traits may appear to be rooted almost totally in an objective logical thinking.
To a certain extent, this may be true, but approaching the management and care of your IT staff with a clear human touch can reap huge benefits. Happy, contented technical staffs are a boon to any company and can drive real success in the managed services space. They foster the growth of your company.
Success in the art of managing highly technical staff with an EQ-engaged approach can cultivate real devotion. However, it is a two-way street. IT staff can quickly become disillusioned if they feel they are not truly appreciated.
Fortunately, some very basic steps can be implemented to help in strengthening your IT staff as both individuals and as a team. The very same steps will also help to retain your super-charged staff. Consider the following:
True communication in both directions, between management and technical staff, can drive huge growth and strength. Do not pay just lip service to notions of communication. Ensure that management really listens to engineers. Undertake both formal and informal approaches to this communication.
By ensuring that key corporate messages are communicated to all technical staff, you can foster a sense of belonging to the staff. Furthermore, when your technical staff perceives something as not being aligned with bigger objectives, ensure that they have the ear of management. Their feedback should not just be ‘valued’ but acted upon, or at least, responded to in a way that clearly appreciates their communication. That way the entire organization can operate in a more effective way.
Investment in the skills and knowledge of technical staff is an obvious way to strengthen your operations. Furthermore, by providing your staff with a clear framework within which they can bolster their technical skills, their value to the organization increases. This is not just because they know more, but also because they will feel more inclined to deploy that knowledge where it helps their employer.
Do not forget about certification. Support staffs toward attaining recognized industry accreditation and certification and this can underpin your MSP company to industry standing.
This point works hand-in-hand with the communication we discussed earlier. We are talking about more than just positive words or a pat on the back. It is also a corollary to providing opportunities for training and certification. By supporting staff when they have novel ideas when they raise points to be addressed, or in their efforts to optimize operations, you build their sense of value and recognition.
Remember there are both positive and negative incentives. By providing positive incentives, in concert with clear-cut metrics or goals, staff who may often struggle to visualize how they can make progress in their work can easily focus on ways to build both themselves professionally and their roles within the organization.
Beware of the danger of negative incentives. Encouraging staff to try novel approaches to their jobs or communicating but punishing them if things do not quite work out is a very effective way to lose staff. Try to see ‘failure’ not as having failed, but as providing the opportunity to analyze and assess, and to learn from mistakes. Rather than seeing it as having put the wrong foot forward, communicate the message that the range of viable options has been narrowed and the ultimate solution is, therefore, easier to find.
Keep It Fun
Try to keep things fun as much as possible. Sure, there are times when nothing but a serious dedicated approach is required. However, at other times, the more a job can be both effective and pleasant, the more that job will provide non-financial reasons for technical staff to want to continue working at a given company.
It is difficult to find reliable and trustworthy employees. As an MSP company owner, try to nurture your employees and do everything in your powers to retain them. That way you will build a strong company and all the benefits will be in your favor.