Strategies to Engage Your Employees to Get the Most From Them

Managed Services

To get the most out of talented employees, we want to retain them for as long as possible. It only makes sense. But, despite all that’s been written and said about the issue, employee churn continues to persistently plague the IT channel, leaving companies short on talent and achieved goals.

As a remedy, it’s probably time to revisit employee engagement, the root of most retention strategies, including communications, development and training, motivational incentives and perks, and clearly defined expectations and goals, to name a few.

Finding and retaining talent topped the list of major concerns from almost half of the 1,560 senior C-level IT executives who responded to TECNA’s 2014 National Survey of Technology, Policy and Strategic Issues. That’s up 17 percent from the year before. MSPs feel the same, according Charles Weaver’s MSPAlliance blog post earlier this spring. Clearly, something isn’t working.

Before developing or refining some of the more well-known engagement strategies, it’s worthwhile to try out some of the less talked about or forgotten basics. All of these have given employees reasons to stay with a company longer than expected and work above and beyond to deliver some of their best work. We’re forever thankful to the bosses and managers who took the time to use them.

1. Make Employees Feel Important

The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to feel important. There’s a    reason Dale Carnegie based most of the advice in “How To Win Friends and Influence People” on that principal.  When was the last time you told a valuable employee how important she is to your company? Back up that praise by assigning her to a project or a team where she can take that talent to new heights. The results will pay off.

2. Know What Your People Do

Too often, managers don’t know what certain members of their teams actually do. That lack of insight is one of the leading causes of employee discontent, something we touched upon in an earlier column. How do you  find out what someone actually does? Take the time to ask. Chat about what they’re working on, if there was a recent project they wanted to be included on but were overlooked, what they’d love to work on next.  Ask why they want it and what they’ll contribute. Keep them in mind for the next big IT rollout or marketing initiative. You’ll be glad you did.

3. Celebrate Them

Buy lunch or after-work drinks for the team responsible for a big sales win or completion of a tough project. Do the same for successful teams throughout the year (keep in mind those working out of branch offices and removed from the action at headquarters). It’s a cheap, effective and fun way to build engagement. Make sure to attend.

4. One-On-One Involvement

Don’t ignore employees with potential because you think they’ll continue to perform no matter what. Individual attention will keep them engaged and help them grow. Include them on an important sales call or out-of-town consultation. Let them give the company presentation at an upcoming industry event or represent the company at a trade show. Single them out for special training or certifications. Make them feel important.

5. Build A Positive Company Brand

Engaged, satisfied employees will spread the word about your company without being asked to do so. Positive word of mouth about an appreciative management team and caring company will attract new employees.

Given the nature of our business, MSPs constantly need an employee roster packed with sharp, committed, enthusiastic talent. A few basic gestures can keep it full. Here are some links with a few other suggestions on how to get the most out of your employees:

To access more information about best practices in managed services, download our free guide, MSP Matters: A Roadmap to Enduring Business Success. 

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