IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Retaining Talent: Strategies for MSPs

When you create the right culture and onboarding process, people will go out of their way to become part of it. By Joe Rojas

THE PROBLEM: The No. 1 issue MSPs complain about is talent acquisition and retention—as in, it’s impossible to retain talent. They say there aren’t enough qualified people, or their work ethic is bad, or people can’t be trusted to do the work. 

And the pain is real. You find someone who is trainable and invest a year or two in making that person great, only to have them move on to another job, often not giving you notice. This leads to scrambling to cover the gap. People come and go, the company stays in flux, and this limits growth. Worse, since you can’t find people, you work harder, and end up a slave to your business.

This is the perceived problem that I hear from everyone. The real problem, though, is not the shortage of people. Rather, it’s the failure to identify the right people and create the structures, culture, training, and environment to retain them.

The Real  Problem—and What to Do About It

In other words, it isn’t them—it’s you. When you create the right culture, like Zappos or GoDaddy has, people will go out of their way to become part of it. The downside of this fact is that it means you can’t blame others for your retention challenges anymore. The upside is that this issue is 100% in your control. If you make the right changes, you will retain people.

Here are the top three things you can do for your business to address the retention problem:

Clearly define your core values, vision, and mission. Doing this means putting together a leadership group for your organization, even if you only have five employees. Pick a couple of them and put them on your leadership team. Go away for a weekend and do the work to define the ethos of your company. I’ve written a little bit about this in my 2018 book, How Entrepreneurs Thrive.

Create a clear-cut, systematic process for onboarding your staff. Start by reinforcing and indoctrinating people in your core values and then take them slowly through each system, solution, and process in your organization. It may take as long as 90 days to onboard a new hire, but that’s OK. By the time you are done, that person will be an expert in your systems who is also steeped in your culture.

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