As thousands of MSPs all over the world begin planning for the new year, growth is going to be on everyone’s mind. Besides having cash, process, and technology, people are one of the most valuable resources MSPs can have. Accessing new talent is one of the most challenging facets of a growing managed services practice, but there are tips every MSP can follow to overcome this challenge.
Solve the MSP Staff Recruiting Problem
MSPs need to have identifiable sources for new human talent. Positions requiring highly trained individuals are typically the hardest to fill for obvious reasons. Training and experience in managed services is a valuable commodity, especially for higher level technicians. In a time when tech unemployment is very low, highly technical people can find work within the managed services profession with relative ease.
Besides high-level talent, which comes at a high price and is difficult to find, MSPs have an even bigger problem in finding and keeping qualified lower and mid-level technical and operational talent. Numbers are the chief problem here as the lower level help desk and NOC technicians must be plentiful and constant for an MSP to grow and sustain growth over a period of time.
Focus on Training, Not Hiring
If one of the challenges MSPs face is finding qualified candidates, then a different tactic should be employed, one focused not on the identification of a candidate but one focused on the training of candidates. Here is the reasoning behind this argument.
MSPs have no formalized training curriculum in either the vocational schools or in higher education. Besides general technical training, IT degrees generally do not teach the broad-based skills required in most MSP practices. In speaking with many MSP CEOs, even degreed or experienced IT professionals need additional training by the MSP before they can be truly effective in their new position.
This means that regardless of experience or training MSPs will always (or almost always) have to do training to make new hires useful to the practice. MSPs, therefore, who have an existing training program have a much higher chance of success and sustainability. Furthermore, when MSPs have a training program, they ensure new employees are set down a path unique to the MSP and will be following policies and procedures designed by the MSP.
To establish a managed services training program, MSPs need the following elements:
- A plan outlining the business objectives for the training
- Documented policies and procedures for the managed services department
- Training documentation
- Training policies embedded within the HR department to ensure all relevant personnel receive and abide by the training
These elements are similar to apprenticeship programs used by other trades for thousands of years. The education and training for a trade and the passing of that knowledge to others are essential for the ongoing success of any profession. MSPs need to take this lesson to heart and begin implementing an internal training program today.
If the MSP takes these steps they can make great strides towards solving the talent shortage in the market, and even creating a path for under-qualified candidates to become valuable members of the MSP team.