During an interview about the labor shortage and how to attract and keep top talent, Mike Rowe, star of Dirty Jobs and founder of Work Ethic Scholarships, said, “If you don’t have a story about what your business is about, all you have to offer is a paycheck.”
But isn’t a paycheck enough?
No, not in today’s tight labor market where we have more open jobs than people to fill them. Just as our customers have infinite choices when it comes to what we sell, employees now have infinite choices as to where they can go to work. And just like marketing to customers, if all we can offer is to “do the job,” that’s just not enough to give us a leg up. Today, we need a better STORY, not just a better product.
This brings to mind a question all CEOs must be able to answer if they want to attract (and keep) great people, and it’s the same question I ask our MSP members to develop a great answer to when attempting to attract HVCs (high-value clients): Why SHOULD a talented, hardworking and successful person choose to work for you over any and every other company offering a paycheck?
As someone who swore I’d never have more than 10 employees, made a LOT of bad hires and spent countless hours angry, frustrated (and scared) over “damned employees,” I’ve come to realize that all my misery was my own fault, founded in a host of bad beliefs, fueled by ignorance and lack of skills.
I’ve also come to realize that if I am going to attract and keep the BEST people, it’s MY responsibility to create an organization that is attractive to them in a number of ways. Just like marketing, if we want to attract and keep the BEST clients, we need to work at our “irresistible offer.” Here are 5 key “musts” to building your “A Team.”
- Pay them enough to take money off the table. Obviously, if one of your people can get a 20% to 50% increase in salary and compensation, they’re going to leave you – and you cannot blame them for wanting to take care of themselves and their family. You would too. Yet, despite the fact that most MSPs intellectually understand this, I still see them bitching about having to give people raises to keep them, creating jobs that pay at the low end of the range and/or looking for commission-only salespeople. Folks, top talent needs to get paid what they are worth.
- Grow! Winners want to work for a winning company, period. If you’re not growing, improving, expanding into new territory, either physically by location or with products, services and business lines, you’re stagnating – and what type of employee would want to take a job at a company that is stagnant? Someone who is stagnant themselves. Someone who doesn’t want to be challenged. Someone who won’t be pushed to improve. Someone who likes what’s known and comfortable. Of course, GREAT people want to learn, expands their skills, be challenged and be given more responsibility for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and if you aren’t serving up a path for them to grow their skills (and earn more), you’ll lose them to someone who can offer that.
- Don’t tolerate bad behavior. Nothing kills a productive workplace faster than drama, backstabbing, politics and people with shi**y attitudes. If you allow someone to create dissension, you’re allowing a cancer to develop that will spread and drive your best people out. But the FIRST person to start with is YOU. Are YOU excited about your business and where you’re going? Are YOU clear on what the goals are? Are YOU fully committed to making them happen? Are YOU taking full and complete ownership for the results being produced? Are YOU getting things done – or making excuses and giving yourself time-outs? Are YOU grateful, saying please and thank you? Nobody wants to follow a frustrated, finger-pointing, irresponsible crybaby who blames everyone but themselves for the problems happening around them.
- Have a mission-driven business. Mike nailed it – if you don’t have a “story” (meaning mission, purpose) for your business, all you can offer is a paycheck. Years ago, I worked for Tony Robbins for a brief period of time and discovered that most of the people running his events are volunteers, getting zero pay for the long, hard hours they put in at the events, and all his salespeople in the division I was working in were commission-only. Why would they do such a thing? Because it’s TONY. His passion and drive to help people is very real and runs throughout the organization. Dave Ramsey runs another powerful, mission-driven business that has some very impressive people working for him who are there as much for the mission as for the paycheck. At TMT, our mission is to “create a community of success-minded entrepreneurs that inspires excellence, encourages collaboration and expands the capacity of all members to achieve great things.” Our “North Star” is the development of RAVING-FAN members.
- Give them a role in your story. I interact with a lot of the marketing and sales teams of our members and cannot remember even one situation where they were crystal clear on what they were hired to do (mission of their position), how they are being measured or what their top priorities and responsibilities are. When I ask, “What were you hired to do?” they provide vague answers like “To do marketing.” What does that mean? How do you know if you’re doing it right? How are you contributing to the company’s mission and vision? Folks, this is Leadership 101, yet so many just don’t do it. If someone is not performing well on your team, you need to start with making sure they know what their job IS and how you are measuring their success.
Recently at Boot Camp, I encouraged the MSPs in the audience to implement marketing strategy, assets and plans to become THE trusted authority for their chosen target market and work on becoming a specialist vs. being what Zig called a “wandering generality.”
I would add this: Find, clarify and communicate your mission and purpose to your team. Have a reason for being in business that goes beyond making money to being a force for good in the world. Have a North Star that you align around and that rallies your people. Of course, you must be profitable. That’s a given. But you can make money AND contribute to the betterment of your people and your clients at the same time.
More than ever before, people are desperate for genuine, honest leadership and a place where they truly enjoy working. Build that, and you’ll find it much, much easier to attract top people who will, in turn, make you a lot of money AND make the process of getting it a hell of a lot more fun and friction-free along the way.
For more insight on how to build an “A” team in your company, visit https://www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com/blog/5-keys-to-building-an-a-team-in-your-msp-business