Breaking ‘Bad’: How to Replace Bad Employees

The end of the year is a great time to “clean house” of any team members who may be underperforming or simply “bad” employees. But it’s understandable that, with the talent shortage haunting the MSP channel, you’re hesitant to lose any talent at all. That thinking isn’t just with MSPs. Wall Street’s Goldman Sachs recently announced that it, too, will reduce the number of laggard bankers it typically shakes out each year – which is about five percent – due to its own industry-wide talent shortage. 

But MSP owners need to get over it. Why? Because retaining a bad employee can have a long-term negative impact across your business ― from culture to client retention – while finding the right candidate can have a positive impact and incur long-term success for you and the employee.

A bad employee is defined by the disruptions he or she can cause in your organization. That individual can be divisive, arrogant, or racist. They might possess poor tech skills or don’t work to keep their skills updated. They might have poor bedside manners when dealing with clients. Or they’re simply a bad fit. These attributes and others can prove detrimental to your organization.

But how do you fill that talent gap once you relieve the undesirable employee of their duties? There are a number of effective ways, including adding short- and long-term third-party team members, as well as improving your recruiting process to reduce the odds of hiring another full-time bad employee.

Short-Term Third-Party Help

Consider hiring a talent recruiting specialist that specializes in the VAR and MSP channels. Because they specialize in the MSP industry, they understand the challenges you’re facing. So it’s their job to help identify the most viable talent that can satisfactorily fill the gap in your team. Additionally, with the ever-growing remote workplace, these recruiters help erase your talent search from any geography constraints.

Or consider partnering with one of your friendly competitors to help fill a hole in your operations – if only temporarily. Doing this successfully will strengthen the relationship with your rival and may lead to future collaborations when needed. These relationships typically begin at trade shows/industry conferences like the popular Build IT LIVE from IT By Design (ITBD), which encourages peer-to-peer networking. Today’s MSP staffing shortage is a textbook example of how healthy relationships with competitors can prove beneficial to address business challenges.

Long-Term Third-Party Help

While hiring a talent recruiting specialist can also help here, there are other options that specialize in long-term talent placement, like ITBD’s Dedicated Engineers staffing service. Why? Because with ITBD being an MSP itself, it knows the tool stacks and every day needs of MSPs. With this, it cultivates a bench of talent by putting them through an intense 60-day “boot camp” where the recruits learn “the MSP way”. So they emerge with a thorough understanding of MSP tech tools and operations, eliminating any learning curve, and allowing the talent you choose to deliver immediate value to your business. 

If you’re very satisfied with the candidate, they can remain a part of your team for years to come and not just be a temporary fix. This eliminates the need for you to conduct yet another talent search down the road and your good experience builds your confidence in the staffing agency.

Enhance Your Recruiting Process

There’s no way of knowing which new hire is going to work out or be a bad employee. You’re not a prophet. But you can improve your own recruiting habits to reduce the odds of hiring someone who simply won’t fit into your organization’s culture and operations. Here are some valuable tips to do just that:

  • Ask key questions to learn about the candidate. What is their interest? What is their desire for their life? What is their vision of success? The responses will give you a deeper dive into the individual and help determine if they are a good fit.
  • Disregard recruits who want to work at a large tech company, like Amazon or Google. If that’s what they desire, then they won’t ever be truly happy at your small MSP. 
  • Strong branding will help attract better candidates. How strong is your online branding? What does your website look like? What’s on your Twitter page? Do you have a YouTube channel and, if so, what kind of videos does it have? 
  • Consider conducting automated IQ testing as part of your hiring process. Some MSP owners have found that candidates who score well become successful IT engineers.

Of course, instead of losing a bad employee, perhaps you may want to consider turning that individual into a productive and happy employee. Why are they “bad”? This falls into creating a strong culture for employee engagement. Talk to and really listen to your employees, help them grow in their careers, and act on their feedback. It’s a great way to reduce the number of undesirable employees and makes your entire team happier.


This guest blog is courtesy of IT By Design. Read more IT By Design guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.

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