4 affordable ways to recognize and reward MSP employees

| By:
Jen Locklear

Add to that everything else that 2020 has brought with it, and the challenge grows exponentially. Employees, managers, and customers are feeling a new level of fatigue that can’t really be compared to years past, and no one can be sure when relief will come. With that in mind, as we continue showing up and succeeding at our jobs, it will take some creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to keep morale high.

Being a successful managed service provider (MSP) today means something different than one year ago and will mean something new next year, but success always starts and ends with your employees. Having the right team and business goal alignments in place better positions your organization to drive meaningful results.

Here are four ways to incentivize your employees to keep meeting big goals as we move into a new year:

1. Keep recognizing exceptional performance

Positive reinforcement goes a long way in terms of boosting employee productivity. In fact, in a 2009 study, 67% of respondents rated praise and commendation from their manager as an extremely effective motivator. 

It may sound too simple but getting recognized and appreciated for the hard work that is being done can keep an employee engaged and motivated to exceed expectations in the future. It’s human nature to want to succeed and share the joys of success, and recognition serves as a way to come together as a group and take pride in each other’s accomplishments. 

In a year where we’ve all suddenly had to become remote workers, homeschoolers, caretakers, and non-social creatures, outward recognition might be more critical than ever before. 

With remote work on the rise, companywide visibility is declining, and some colleagues may not be getting any facetime with executives. Public appreciation and celebration of everyone’s wins can give those colleagues the extra boost in visibility that they rightly deserve.

So, go ahead and send that mass email or group message on Microsoft Teams, or hold a virtual awards ceremony. Just make sure that your team members know how valued they are. 

2. Provide growth opportunities

Growth isn’t something that should only happen when you get a big raise or promotion. While those are things all employees want, most are also seeking opportunities to expand their knowledge and develop their skill sets further. Often, these opportunities to grow are significantly more valuable to someone than an increase in their paycheck. 

Task your rising star with leading a big project or starting a new initiative. Investing in the development of your employees can result in lower turnover and a more productive team. 

At the heart of it, finding the right growth opportunities is a way to recognize your employees for their efforts and declare: “I see your potential, and I want to help you maximize it!” 

3. Offer flexibility to employees

Let’s be honest, 2020 has thrown more at us than we could have ever imagined. Finding work/life balance has always been tricky, but now that’s taken on a whole new meaning. Many of us are working in our bedrooms-slash-offices around the clock while dealing with a slew of intense non-work-related challenges. It’s been hard. Everyone’s feeling burnt out. 

Now is the time to offer your employees more flexibility in their day-to-day schedule. Obviously, it’s important that work and productivity don’t suffer. However, shifting hours to meet your employees’ needs or letting them continue to work remotely could positively impact their mental health.

We know that MSPs face the challenge of needing techs to be available 24/7. Consider outsourcing part or all of your service desk to an expert services team, thereby allowing your employees to gain the flexibility they need. 

4. Get creative with reward systems

For many of us, end-of-year bonuses aren’t feasible this year. Of course, taking care of employees and clients remains a key priority. So, as we wrap up one wild year, MSPs might start thinking about creative ways to reward their employees for all the obstacles they’ve overcome in the last several months. 

Unconventional employee reward ideas to consider:

  • An extra day of PTO
  • Early release on Fridays 
  • A gift card for your tech to use at their favorite restaurant
  • An activity they love (It can be as simple as sending adult coloring books to your creative colleagues or something a bit more indulgent, like a wine tasting event.)
Reward behavior you want to be repeated

It’s been a rough road! While we remain optimistic about the coming year, we can’t ignore the efforts and endless hours employees have put in throughout 2020. As an MSP, maybe your plans to reward your employees have changed a bit, given all the circumstances, but it’s still important to incentivize and motivate your team to keep up their hard work. 

Putting in the effort to incentivize your employees year-round can lead to a more productive, happier, and loyal workforce. Make sure to let your team know how much you appreciate their contributions this and every year.