How to Manage Remote MSP Teams & Build a Strong Company Culture
A Fireside Chat: Emily Glass and Vera Tucci
Emily Glass is the President and CEO of Syncro. They’re an all-in-one RMM, PSA and remote MSP access tool that helps managed service providers – MSPs – run more profitable businesses.
Vera Tucci is the co-founder and CEO of T-Consulting, an MSP and COMIT. They provide co-managed IT and cybersecurity support to SMBs without an internal IT department, as well as larger companies looking to improve their teams.
They have both appeared as guests on TubbTalk. This fireside chat was recorded virtually in September 2022.
Dealing with Post-Pandemic Changes
Today’s MSPs face a number of challenges, says Emily. They’re looking to attract talent, build a positive business culture, serve customers and be profitable. But on top of that, employee needs have changed since the pandemic.
Firstly, more people are working from home, making it hard to create a unified team. And, Emily adds, there’s a “Blend of personal and professional lives – people want to have fun in their work, while finding purpose or meaning at the same time.”
Vera added that there’s added pressure now with more people needing cybersecurity support, which has coincided with an increase in criminal activity. “We need to be reactive, prepared for anything and stay calm. A human-friendly approach is more important than ever.”
The Difficulty of Recruiting Talent for Remote MSPs
Hiring the right people has always been hard for tech companies. But now, Vera says, there’s a shortage of applicants, and the great resignation has had an impact too.
Many MSP (managed service provider) owners have seen rapid growth over the last two and a half years, which is great. However, they can’t recruit people fast enough. “You need a bigger team, too, because you need to be flexible around hours and time off.”
Emily says that the vendors have the same problems too. “We have to think about profit versus quality of life. Because tech support can be a high stress role, there’s a high turnover of staff. And doing the same things every day makes them keen to move to new roles.
“We have to make sure tasks don’t stay the same, there’s increased complexity and variety. So that way, we can retain great people we’ve invested in. And as well as keeping them interested, we reduce their risk of burnout.”
Communicating Clearly with Clients
Building trust with your clients is vital. Often, Emily says, the customer starts to feel like the technician is part of their business, not yours. Of course, this can lead to increased demand on the tech’s time and skills, which results in the client’s fee increasing too.
Clients need to feel free to ask their IT partner for additional support, and the partner should be comfortable in saying that there’s a cost to that. Vera said: “This can affect all areas of the business. But having the communication channel always open makes a big difference.
“It allows you to give them what they need, without second guessing their requirements. The clients feel more positive about the relationship, because they can come straight to you with questions or problems.”
How to Create a Strong Company Culture When You Run a Remote MSP
Emily’s team at Syncro are 100% remote, so creating the right company culture is a priority for her. One of the benefits, she explains, is being able to hire talent from more cities and countries.
However, this means you also have to recruit people who’ll really be happy working remotely. “Not everybody is suited to it. We have a list of personality traits that we look for in potential employees. Are they self-motivated and positive? Can they ask for help when they need it?
“We also keep the culture focused by having clarity of mission, vision and values. Because we can’t physically bring them together, they have a common cultural space to define what we do and keep each other accountable.”
And things like team retreats, away days and social events where team members can meet in person are essential. Think of ways to replace physical aspects of the workplace in a virtual setting to support your remote MSP team.
What Different Generations Want from Their Employer
Many of the workers coming into the tech space are from a younger generation who are digital ‘natives’ – they’ve grown up with the internet. So, they have a different frame of reference and a different approach to work. They’re searching for purpose.
Younger people have found ways to derive meaning in their lives without face-to-face interaction; this is good, but they do still need human connection. By not having a physical office, they lose out on learning how to behave in a work environment.
“In-person working helps you learn how to manage your time, how to interact with co-workers and how to respect each other”, Vera says. And when there’s hybrid working, find out what people want.
For instance, Vera says her older colleagues appreciate a well-stocked break room, whereas the younger team members bring in their own protein shakes. “This is another example of good communication. Ask what you can provide to make them feel more engaged and enthusiastic every day.”
Why We Should be Ourselves at Work
With an increasing focus on finding meaning in our work, Emily and Vera agreed that we need to think about ourselves as a whole. That means not having a ‘work persona’ and a ‘home persona’ but being more authentically ourselves. Vera explains:
“Of course, there are social constraints at work and we don’t talk to colleagues the way we talk to our friends. But we’re the same person. And if you have problems at home, it’s hard to come to work and forget about them. People need to be comfortable enough to say that they’re struggling.
“Although I might not be able to fix your issue, I need to be aware that you’re distracted and not working at your best. Then, we can find the best way for you to operate until things are less stressful.”
How to Connect with Emily Glass
How to Connect With Vera Tucci
- Follow T-Consulting on LinkedIn
- Follow T-Consulting on Facebook
- Follow T-Consulting on Twitter
- Connect with Vera on LinkedIn
How to Connect with Me
- Subscribe to TubbTalk RSS feed
- Subscribe, rate and review TubbTalk in iTunes
- Subscribe, rate and review TubbTalk on Stitcher Radio
- Subscribe and rate TubbTalk on Spotify
- Follow TubbTalk on iHeartRadio
- Follow @tubblog on Twitter
Mentioned in This Episode
You Might Also be Interested in
- Podcast: Syncro: Why a More Human Business Better Serves MSPs
- Considering the Challenges and Opportunities of Hybrid Working for MSPs
- Podcast: Co-Managed IT, Cyber Security and Imposter Syndrome: Top Tips for MSPs