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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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5 Non-Monetary Compensation Strategies Your MSP Should Be Using

Posted May 25, 2017by Dave Boulos

5 Non-Monetary Compensation Strategies Your MSP Should Be Using

Money is many things, but it isn’t everything. It can be tough out there for managed IT services providers who want retain top talent, but don’t always have the means to pay them. Luckily, there are several non-monetary ways that you can offer your employees compensation that actually help to enrich your staff’s daily work environment. Incorporate these non-monetary compensation strategies, and you could see a more positive company culture, more engaged employees, and a more loyal, productive workforce.

Improving the Employee-Employer Relationship

Non-monetary recognition helps to strengthen the relationship between employees and their employers. Primarily, it sends the message that employers care about their workers’ work-life balance, which in turn helps build long-term loyalty along with improved motivation and workplace satisfaction.

For example, which option is likely to be more appreciated by a family-oriented worker: making a dollar more an hour, or receiving a discounted day-care membership through work? These may cost your business the same, but can have large impact on their satisfaction. By providing day-care benefits, it shows you care about their life and their values beyond work – it’s not just a means for them to earn an income.

It’s this type of creative compensation that helps entice a higher caliber individual to your company, and encourages them to commit for the long haul.

Research shows a number of sobering statistics when it comes to the cost of disgruntled employees in the workplace:

  • Unmotivated workers cost companies approximately $300 billion in lost productivity every year.
  • Only 29 percent of employees describe themselves as engaged with their job, or say they feel a deep commitment to their place of employment.
  • 76 percent of employees describe themselves as unsatisfied with the level of recognition they're currently receiving.
  • 77 percent of workers say they would work harder if they felt their efforts would be better recognized.
  • Just 18 percent of employees say they would prefer a monetary reward compared to the 59 percent who would rather have morale-boosting motivation or praise and recognition.

All of this adds up to a high number of workers who are on the verge of seeking employment elsewhere, and the price of finding and training new workers to fill those spots is one of the largest hidden costs for MSPs. Finding the right compensation structure can help build greater workplace stability by strengthening existing workplace relationships.

Non-Monetary Compensation Strategies

Here are five non-monetary ways you can show employees your appreciation and help incentivize your employees in positive ways. Remember, these are just a few ideas to get started as there are plenty of other strategies for non-monetary compensation.

1. Recognition

An award ceremony or company-wide recognition is a great way for employees to feel valued. Even a public announcement of praise can count for more than you may realize. Don’t ignore your employees’ wins, and make sure they know how much their work is appreciated and contributes to the team and the organization as a whole.

Overall, people want to feel valued. Don’t underestimate this as a means of compensation.

2. Reward

A physical award, such as tickets to a show or a gift card to a local restaurant, is another great non-monetary incentive. You can also think about offering a reserved parking spot for a month, or offering discounts on gym memberships. Even just a nice bottle of wine goes a long way.

All of these gestures are a whole lot cheaper for you as the business owner than increasing an employee’s salary – yet can go just as far.

3. Opportunity

Sometimes employees are just looking for more trust from their employers, and increased responsibility indicates that employers do feel their workers can take on a more significant role. The chance to lead teams or tasks, mentorship programs and educational opportunities all show that you feel your employees are worth investing in.

Learning opportunities are another great way to compensate employees. Pay for online courses your employees might be interested in. Send them to conferences (these can be local so expenses aren’t huge) where they can learn about the industry and talk with peers.

Not only do people value learning, but you also get a return on your investment by making your employees more knowledgeable. This will help make your employees feel like you’re investing in their success and their growth, which again, goes a long way in helping them feel satisfied in the work that they do.

4. Flexibility

A healthy work-life balance is absolutely essential for keeping employees happy today. Moving away from the traditional nine-to-five mindset and toward creative options like telecommuting and flex vacation time helps employees feel less trapped by the workplace.

This can be tricky in the MSP space, given the unpredictability of IT systems. There may be times (at potentially odd hours) where you need your techs on the clock. However, this may be a good reason for outsourcing components of your tech staff, like your help desk or by utilizing a network operations center (NOC). This will allow your technicians to focus on more meaningful issues, and less on daily maintenance and mundane support tasks.

5. Challenges

Going along the lines of our previous strategy, your employees actually want to feel challenged in the work that they do. Sure, this may sound counter-intuitive, but problem solving is an important component of work satisfaction.

Take someone who’s interested in cars – do you think they’d rather work on an assembly line at Ford or work as an engineer designing a new line of high-performance vehicles? Chances are, they’d rather be the engineer.

The same goes for your technicians. They don’t want to work on daily maintenance tasks, but rather work to solve complex business problems with IT solutions. Make sure that they’re being challenged in the work that they do and working on issues that are actually helping your clients meet business goals – not simply called upon to help them connect a new iPad to Wi-Fi.

Main Takeaway

It’s crucial that employers recognize that their employees are humans who want and need to feel valued for the efforts they put in every day. In addition to financial incentives, every SMB should look at ways to incorporate non-monetary compensation, which further engages employees and can help them feel more invested in your company’s long-term success. It’s also much more cost efficient for your company to compensate with non-salary based incentives.

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Meet Dave! Dave has been with Continuum since 2011, providing training and support for existing partners. He now serves as Assistant Director of Partner Success.

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