Getting Real About MSPs Labor Challenges
In honor of Labor Day and in recognition of workforce challenges like the tech skills gap, the Great Resignation, and the latest concepts of quiet quitting and quiet firing, we’re discussing how MSPs and technicians can both still win. On one side, we have Labor Day – a federal holiday since 1894 that pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. On the other side, we have shifts in the workplace status quo that indicate where and how people invest their professional lives. The balance companies need to strike with employees is both celebrating and honoring their impact while also fostering an environment that delivers mutual benefits.
Table of Contents
In this article, we’re examining how MSPs can meet that balance for their technicians.
- What is the impact of tech stack complexity on labor costs, workplace satisfaction, and service quality?
- Are you considering the economic climate employees face, and how are you addressing it?
- How can MSPs overcome the tech skills gap to attract and retain the right talent without breaking the payroll bank?
Leverage Solution Automation and Standardization
MSPs are not required to hire a fleet of high-earning, top-tier technicians to secure client data and deliver best-in-class services. Standardizing and consolidating your stack with a vendor that utilizes innovation, automation, and usability for management ease reduces an MSPs need for highly trained technicians. With these tools, you decrease the time required for vendor management and the level of expertise that techs need. Instantly, your applicant pool widens as payroll costs narrow. By streamlining your tech stack, you can rely on fewer and lower-skilled technicians while delivering the same quality of services for clients.
Take Cygnus Systems, for example…They’re saving $12,000 every month after moving from Datto to Axcient for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR). Rising costs, expensive hardware, and the amount of engineering time required for support motivated Cygnus Systems to explore other options in the channel. Scott Kube, VP of Sales and Marketing at Cygnus Systems says, “It’s not a managed service if our team has to manage it and fix it. The more we have to get involved, the more costly it is to us, and the more we’re unable to do other things.” Looking to drive operational maturity through stack consolidation, Cygnus Systems standardized on x360Recover to satisfy a variety of use cases with just one solution.
Since making the switch, total costs have been down 50% due to a 70% decrease in tickets and at least a 50% reduction in labor costs. While cost-efficient hardware had much to do with the initial savings, the critical capabilities built-in to x360Recover deliver the rest:
- Multi-use case deployment: Endpoint backup, no-hardware BDR, full-service BDR, and public or private cloud options are all available with just one vendor.
- Proprietary Chain-Free backup technology: Solve for data bloat and eliminate the pains of legacy, chain-based backups – no chains to break, no reseeding, and no consolidation.
- Unlimited storage and retention: Made possible with Chain-Free backups, MSPs can ensure long-term compliance, increase management efficiency, and ensure security for all clients regardless of vertical, size, or budget.
- AutoVerify: Intelligently and automatically performs daily backup integrity tests to ensure the health and bootability of backups without any manual intervention.
“The numbers speak for themselves, which goes straight to gross profit. It’s a drastic move of the needle from a business perspective, and it’s pretty phenomenal what we’ve been able to achieve with Axcient in terms of lowering the cost of the solution itself and reducing the amount of time our engineers have to spend on tickets.” – Scott Kube, VP of Sales and Marketing at Cygnus Systems
Take Note of the Changing Professional Landscape
Today, attracting talent and retaining employees is harder than ever. People are struggling with record-high inflation, a historically expensive housing market, and long COVID while coming out of a disruptive pandemic that left many questioning their work life overall. As these realities challenge both employees and employers, fresh perspectives can provide insights for both sides.
Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing
Quiet quitting is a new buzzword to describe setting time and effort boundaries at work based on current compensation, and the responsibilities agreed to at hire. Basically, not going above and beyond – i.e., working past 5 p.m. and on weekends and taking on tasks outside the job description. Quiet firing, which some believe is the catalyst for quiet quitting, describes companies that fail to reward employees for going above and beyond at work. Maybe there hasn’t been a raise in recent years, there’s no upward mobility, or the company hires externally rather than promoting from within. While commentary peaks on the internet, the reality of today’s workforce is that people who leave their jobs make way more money.
The Grass is Often Greener
According to a Pew Research Center report, 60% of people who switched jobs between April 2021 and March 2022 saw an increase in their real earnings. This is especially poignant because of surging inflation which has eroded real earnings for many employees. Fewer than half (47%) experienced an increase in real earnings among workers who stayed at the same job. What these statistics tell us is that the Great Resignation not only continues, but it’s paying off.
“Roughly one-in-five workers say they are very or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next six months, but only about a third of these workers think it would be easy to find one.”
– Pew Research Center
Invest in Your Tech Team
Knowing that employees are financially motivated is not breaking news. However, suppose you couple automated solutions in a standard stack, with one-in-five workers looking for a new position where getting the job done is appreciated and rewarded. In that case, you can appeal to the technicians you need. First, compensation needs to meet the market according to the skills and expertise you seek. With that said, you can sweeten the deal with non-monetary incentives that provide ROI for the MSP without exceeding operational costs. These perks, benefits, and investments are important to workers when they accept a job and foster loyalty for long-term employment. Don’t quiet fire, and you’ll avoid quiet quitting; it’s a win-win situation.
It’s not all about what a technician can do now – especially if you’re standardizing your stack. Technicians must also be trainable, invested in the industry, and eager to grow and learn. Hire for the long-term by providing educational resources and a path forward. Your MSP benefits from their developing technical capabilities and tribal knowledge, while employees enjoy free or low-cost upskilling that they can apply as they move up with the company. This is a great way to avoid losing good employees to quiet quitting.
Consult Technicians on Solution Choices
Unreliable, hard to use, slow, legacy solutions frustrate technicians and decrease job satisfaction fast (while also increasing costs). Technicians are valuable subject matter experts when evaluating your stack, and you want to use solutions they love. Include them in decision-making to ensure that expected outcomes can be achieved for the MSP and your clients. If a solution is holding techs back with poor support, backup failures, time-consuming manual tasks, a user-unfriendly interface, or complicated recovery processes, technicians will walk away, and so will your clients.
Post-COVID, employees are less keen to schlep to an office and back, battling traffic, eating out of lunch boxes, or paying to go out every day. Of course, that’s not all employees, so a hybrid work environment best accommodates different tastes. In addition to a flexible environment, you might also be able to rethink a traditional work day. Is it mandatory for employees to be on nine to five, five days a week? Could you offer the option of a four-day work week – ten hours a day? For parents, people caring for loved ones, or people battling long COVID and other types of illness, is there the possibility to work off hours or in blocks? This depends on the unique needs of the role and your MSP, but inviting employees to adapt their work schedule to their personal life – instead of the other way around – could mean more than a higher salary.
Standardize. Automate. Accommodate.
Now that you know what you need to lower labor costs and appeal to attractive candidates, it’s time to celebrate your workers. In honor of Labor Day, reevaluate the professional environment of your MSP to identify potential quiet quitters and your role in quiet firing. Examine the value of your expectations on employees and consider how those might impact job satisfaction. Ask technicians how they feel about the solutions in your stack and identify opportunities for improvement in usability, performance, and overall costs. Celebrate your workforce by putting yourself in their shoes. How can you help them and, in turn, help your MSP grow?
We Can Help You…
…With a free 14-day trial of Axcient x360 Recover for BCDR with automation, usability, and ease of management. See how much you could save each month with Axcient!
About the Author:
Liz Mellem // Technical Copywriter, Axcient
Liz Mellem has been a freelance copywriter for over three years in the technology, education, and alternative medicine industries. She produces content, sales collateral, and email marketing campaigns that contribute to digital marketing strategies for sales growth and brand awareness. In her free time, Liz enjoys reading, exploring Austin, and Netflix with her cat, Harlem.