Making the right hire is a challenge these days for IT services providers, but keeping workers engaged and productive can be even harder.
That’s where Kam Kaila wants to make a difference. The president of MSP talent solutions firm IT By Design, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field, sat down with ChannelPro to talk about why services like those offered by her company are so crucial. “Ours is a best-in-class program. It’s our secret sauce.”
Kaila shed light on the unique approach of IT By Design in addressing the shortage of quality IT support, and the importance of investing in the development and retention of MSP talent.
Addressing the Talent Gap
It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of quality IT support in the industry. That is due, in part, to the inability of MSPs to keep up with competitive salaries offered by larger corporations. Kaila outlined IT By Design’s role as a provider of talent solutions, with a focus on finding, retaining, and growing talent.
She emphasized the importance of building a culture that not only attracts but also retains top-tier talent in the competitive MSP space. Much of that starts at the top, as leadership plays a critical role in shaping that culture. Kaila emphasized the need for MSP leaders to invest in their own growth, which results in buy-in at the employee level, she said.
“People leave bad managers, not companies,” she said. “We have to build the right structures where we’re supporting our managers, too, because again they haven’t been trained to be managers. We need to give them the right tools to be better managers. Invest in your own training first. You are probably the bottleneck.”
Investing in Talent Development
MSPs should focus on the development and upskilling of their most important resource: their people, Kaila said. She highlighted the considerable cost associated with onboarding new team members, and stressed the value of investing in existing employees.
“It costs about nine months of salary wages to bring on a new team member and get them fully onboarded,” she explained. “Well, if we take someone who’s an existing employee, a great rock star, and we invest to reskill them for another role, that will add more value to us as they’ll hit the ground running. They’ll know two different parts of the organization, and so they’ll be able to collaborate better and innovate more.
By providing ongoing learning and development opportunities, MSPs can create that path for their employees, fostering a sense of passion for the company as well as the industry, she said.
A Unique Approach to Education
IT By Design’s approach to education features a 60-day boot camp for every professional. The program not only focuses on technical skills, but also instills a service-oriented mindset, Kaila said. Part of the training includes training engineers to handle challenging situations with resilience and professionalism, ensuring they can deliver exceptional service to clients, she explained.
“We put every single employee through this boot camp training before anybody gets presented to any MSP. After they’ve been with us for at least 60 days, we assess them to make sure they meet the caliber and standard we’re looking for. If they don’t, they continue their training until they get to a point where we think they will be successful.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants to be successful and to feel good. If we know that the engineer’s not there yet, we’re doing them and ourselves a disservice by presenting them to an MSP.”
Mindfully Managing Employees
Kalia recommended that MSPs to consider human resources tooling to help them build positive work culture. As an example, she spoke about IT By Design’s Team GPS software, an all-in-one solution that allows MSPs to strategize, engage and manage employees. The software is designed to highlight the employee’s achievements, goals, and personal aspirations, and easily track their progress by producing a scorecard.
The emphasis on transparency and equity in the workplace helps employees understand the impact of their work on the organization’s growth, which thereby makes them more engaged and productive, Kaila said.
“You need visibility into the entire employee to make sure they see that the work that they do matters. It requires effort and a lot of collaboration, but it’s worth it.”