Solve Hiring, Retention Challenges With Strong Employee Experience

Author: Kam Kaila, partner and president, IT By Design

Low unemployment is typically a good thing. Few people out of work. Right? Not for MSPs looking for top talent, especially in cybersecurity. Low unemployment reflects a limited talent pool from which to hire and shows that available candidates are quickly being scooped up by competitors. Even existing top talent isn’t immune either in such a job market because they can jump ship and quickly find an attractive new gig at a higher salary. 

So how low is the unemployment rate? As of this writing, MSP channel unemployment sits at around 1.5 percent and is lower for cybersecurity roles. Which is why hiring and retaining the best candidates is a major pain point for MSP owners. The aspirin to reduce that pain is in providing a great employee experience.

First, what does employee experience encompass?

A couple of key things. The employee’s perception of the company. Confidence that their voice is heard and that they play a part in the bigger picture of the organization and its future, and that the company is invested in their professional growth.

Why, you ask, is it important for job candidates and current employees?

Look, it’s much easier to retain employees than find new ones.  Right? So creating and maintaining a great employee experience for existing team members is critical.  Likewise, due to the competitive job market I noted earlier, creating a great employee experience for prospective hires helps weed out the competition.  Some candidates may accept a lower salary or endure a longer commute if they think you will provide a great overall experience in return. 

Don’t believe that last one? Here’s a true story of how a good employee experience helped an MSP hire a strong candidate over a competitor – even when that other MSP was offering more money and was a shorter commute for the candidate.

An MSP very much wanted to hire a young tech engineer, so they brought him in for an interview. But they didn’t conduct a standard interview. They sincerely wanted to learn about him – not just his skillset. They gave him a tour of the workplace. They introduced him to current employees with whom he would work if hired. It was a terrific employee experience. They made him an offer and he went on his way.

Then the same candidate interviewed at another MSP. Only here it was a standard job interview. No employee experience at all. However, this opportunity offered a higher salary and was a shorter commute to work for the recruit. 

Which gig did he accept?

The one that offered the better employee experience. Even though it paid less and was a longer commute. This is a true testament to the power of recruiting with a memorable employee experience. It’s also solid evidence proving the importance of the first impression you make on a job candidate.

Here are some valuable “Do’s and Don’ts” of employee experience:

Do:

  • Have an open door policy with leadership.  Not just a “policy”, but a culture that fosters open communication regardless of role.
  • Make sure the employees understand how their role impacts the organizational goals. 
  • Develop a career development plan collaboratively.  Don’t just tell the employee what their next step is; discuss their future interests and to which other departments they can apply that knowledge.

Don’t:

  • Have a culture that doesn’t support policy and vice-a-versa.  It’s important to practice what you preach.
  • Let your employees think that a set of tasks and responsibilities is their career.
  • Plan company events, additional trainings, etc. during off-work hours whenever possible.  This is an easy way to show that your organization really does promote a work/life balance.

Employee experience – when done right – can solve many of your human resources issues for both internal employees and external job candidates.


Author Kam Kaila is a partner and president of IT By Design. Read more guest blogs from IT By Design here.

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