Here’s a potentially controversial idea: the success of your company isn’t down to you.
Not an easy thing to hear, right? Whether you’re a one-man shop or a multi-million-dollar MSP, you probably think where you are today is because of your grit, your determination or your passion. And you think it’s those very same things that will help you grow.
In reality, however, it’s down to your team. Whether you have 1 or 1000 employees, your success will be directly linked to the team you pick. It can be a scary thought. Acquiring talent is a challenge, and the competition is mounting.
Sourcing channel talent has been a perennial challenge, and then the pandemic hit. Now, the state of the workplace is at a breaking point. Economists are calling this time The Great Resignation. Add to that labor shortages and accelerated digital transformation with your customers, and you need to rethink your ability to scale your teams’ technical capacity and capabilities.
The competition for channel talent is cutthroat
Solution architects, system administrators and security specialists are no longer just nice-to-haves for managed service providers (MSPs). Demand for these workers comes from a greater emphasis on cloud technology, data storage and information security—none of which comes particularly cost friendly.
However, to support your customers through their digital transformation these roles have become business critical. You need these people on your team for your business to grow.
The recruitment process can sometimes feel like you’re rolling the dice. While there’s an element of luck to it, I prefer to think of it like a game of poker. You need to have a strategy; you can’t just be at the mercy of the hand that you have been dealt.
Not many MSPs specialize in hiring, and have been learning and making mistakes as they go along. Previous hiring practices can no longer be relied upon. Bringing in a friend’s nephew to work L1 support while he studies and subsequently having him stay with your business for 15 years is no longer a reality. One reason for that is that you’re not just competing with other MSPs, or even local companies with internal IT teams anymore. Research shows 67% of organizations across the US are adding new roles and functions due to greater cloud investment.
New hiring best practices for sourcing channel talent
In today’s competitive labour market, MSPs will have to adopt new strategies to attract the best talent. Start by looking within. Focusing on your own internal culture, networks and company policies will build your desirability for job prospects, and even help bring them to you.
Be the company that great talent wants to work for! Identify your company culture and be sure you communicate with potential hires an authentic representation of your organization’s lived experience. Current employees need to live and breathe your company brand, as they are the ones that work with your customers as well as relate your culture to prospects. If you don’t think you can compete on salary, company culture growth opportunities, benefits and flexibility are all important factors you can appeal to.
Be honest and open about your culture throughout the interview process. Ask questions about how prospects like to be managed, their ideal work environment and how would they tackle particular problems. Involve other team members to show your team’s culture in action.
It’s also helpful to structure interviews into a conversation. You may feel comfortable going with the flow for each candidate, but if at the end of the process you can only rely on the fact that you liked someone, you might be misled. Interpreting through the lens of personal experience is not the way to predict someone’s ability to do a job. Using various tools such as culture indices and recognized personality tests can help you determine if a candidate is actually a good fit, and ensure that you build diverse teams.
Build strong talent networks and leverage employee referrals
Your current employees should be your greatest advocates, and will have their own networks that you can tap into. Build a referral program if you don’t already have one.
Hearing people refer to hiring a great candidate as simply the right place at the right time can feel like you aren’t in control. Don’t wait till you need to fill a role, and things will feel less up to chance. Build a pipeline of potential candidates for what you’ll need in the next few years. Go out of your way to look for more diverse employees. Remember that technical skills can be taught—focus on soft skills and attitude!
Understand WFH is here to stay
Flexibility is key, now more than ever. Offering remote or hybrid options to all employees is in your business’s best interest. Remote work is projected to rise to 300% of pre-COVID levels, making it another nice-to-have that’s transformed into a must-have if you want to attract top talent to you organization.
Fill talent gaps by outsourcing through a partner
Implementing these best practices can understandably take time. But many MSPs need these positions backfilled as of yesterday. So while you work on that, teaming up with a with a partner that can offer you outsourced tech support, expert pre-sales guidance, on-call solution architects and resources to help your business grow can make a big difference.
The success of your company isn’t down to you alone. Attracting and developing talent that will ensure your organizations continued success, however, is indeed down to you. Putting policies and procedures in place to realize talent acquisition can help take chance and luck out of the equation. In the meantime, a value-added cloud solutions partner like Sherweb can help you grow by acting as an extension of your team, while you assemble a super squad of your own.