IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

How to Hire and Retain Techs – Culture Matters

Savvy MSPs look for a cultural fit and soft skills over tech wizardry, then nurture both professional and personal needs to increase retention. By Colleen Frye
Reader ROI: 
PRIORITIZING CULTURAL FIT over technical skills when hiring techs ensures your customer service aligns with your core values.
AN ONBOARDING PROCESS that reinforces your culture and sets expectations will help new hires be successful.
RECOGNIZING AND REWARDING employees, along with helping them to achieve professional and personal goals, will boost retention.

This article is based on the Technician Management Issues and Answers session at ChannelPro’s Cloud and Managed Services Online Summit in January.

Esteban Blanco hires technicians with the knowledge that they will be providing the care and feeding of his customers, so he wants them to be as passionate about that as he is. “I try to find people that think like me and that are obsessed with customer service,” says the owner of Blanco I.T., a managed service provider in Arlington, Texas.

Not that tech skills aren’t important, but Blanco and other MSP leaders like him are prioritizing a cultural fit for these front line workers. Here are some tips for finding the right techs and then nurturing them for long-term retention.

A Mindset That Fits the Culture

Your technicians are the first voice customers hear when they have a problem, so it’s important they feel like they are in good hands. “I can teach the technical part, I can teach it all day long, but I need to find somebody that, when they're in front of the customer, the customer feels comfortable,” Blanco says.

Esteban Blanco

As the owner of the business, Blanco sets the tone for a culture that values customer service and seeks technicians with the same mindset. “I'm looking for people that think like me when it comes to customer service and ensuring that we're giving absolutely stellar customer service every single time we have an interaction with a customer.”

For Joanna Mirov, founder of MXOtech, an MSP in Chicago and now part of national MSP Ntiva, an extensive pre-screening process provides a good picture of an applicant’s technical aptitude prior to an in-person interview, and she has applicants take a DiSC personality profile as well. Once an application advances to an interview, however, Mirov likes to keep it conversational rather than have it feel like a test.

“I think through that conversational interview, you're able to get a good read on the cultural fit of the person,” she explains. “Reviewing the outcome of that interview with the people that they might be interacting with that are already part of your company is extremely important as well.”

Benjamin Pearce, president of ACP Technologies, takes a similar approach, with his team initially vetting candidates. When it comes time for them to interview with Pearce, “I'm not asking technical questions. I just want to see if they will be a good fit within the organization.”

Indeed, ACP recently hired a pizza shop manager, someone whose resume Pearce initially passed on but took a second look at after receiving a referral. “His aptitude and his personality was he wanted to be part of the team. He had great customer service skill that he learned somewhere else. And he is a great employee.”

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