If you’re like many businesses, the strong economic climate is bringing you all kinds of growth opportunities and new business. However, with unemployment rates right around 4 percent, a lot of great people are already happily working. Bringing on new staff isn’t always as simple as posting a few ads in the local classifieds or on Indeed or Monster. Tech talent is in high demand, which might mean you have to hire recruiters to get people in front of you. Moreover, that’s before you find out a new tech will cost an arm and a leg in salary and benefits because the demand is so high. So before you decide to embark on the expensive journey to find new talent, consider whether you need a new person or whether you can increase the output of the staff, systems, and processes you already have. Improving the productivity of each worker by a small margin can ultimately account for the work a new hire would complete. Plus, with more solid processes, you’ll be in a better position to get the most of a new hire when you genuinely need one. With this approach in mind, here are a few ways you can find that extra yield.You may or may not regularly work on larger scale IT projects. If you are, keeping track of every staff hour, task, and deadlines is a great way to improve efficiency. Project management tools keep everyone on the same page by making all tasks, deliverables, and deadlines visible. This kind of clarity helps align everyone in progress, sheds light on bottlenecks, and enables you to determine where your strengths and weaknesses are. With this knowledge, it’s much easier to develop a plan for increasing your speed on all future projects. A few popular options are Asana, Airtable, and Smartsheet.Most MSPs of a certain size are already using remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) tools. If you’re thinking of hiring staff and you’re not already using these tools, take a look at these first. Just by making it much easier to automate various tasks through these solutions, you can improve efficiency massively. Plus, with active management tools, you can see problems coming before they happen. This means you won’t get a ticket for some issues because you’ll prevent them altogether. How’s that for efficiency? Here’s a great piece that breaks down when and why you might use PSA or RMM tools.
Consider Alternative Labor Sources
Outsource supportOutsourcing is a dirty word depending on whom you ask, but if you're looking for ways to improve efficiencies and reduce costs, it’s an option. Instead of having your own in-house staff solving fundamental support problems, you can outsource support. This also gives you the option to move your internal support staff into more hands-on positions. They get more responsibility and opportunity, and you get a more capable worker while also reducing your costs for support.
Hire contractors or consultantsInstead of a new full-timer, you can hire someone to help out or to offer consulting time temporarily. Depending on your specific need (the tech side or the business admin side), there are a variety of contractors and consultants you can hire. Here are a few areas you might consider:
- General business consulting
- General systems administration or integration
- Project management
- Backup and disaster recovery consulting
- Storage specialists
- Remote monitoring specialists
- MSP management specialists
Use Project Management Software
Reduce Support TicketsIf you’re thinking of staffing up to handle more support tickets, you might be thinking about it all wrong. Instead of thinking of how you can solve each of these problems, you should be finding ways to prevent them proactively. You could be getting tickets for a variety of reasons, but if you notice a trend (maybe multiple users have the same issue), you’re looking at a more significant problem. Here are some ways you might be able to lower your number of support tickets:
- Provide clients with self-help resources – If you provide easy access to videos, how-tos, blog articles and other digital content for users, you might find that end users tackle fundamental problems on their own.
- Schedule regular on-site training – When it comes to security and other critical concepts, consider training end users on-site, so you can avoid all the effort associated with fixing malware infections, phishing scams, and so forth.
- Establish clear boundaries – You should make yourself available to help – even with the small things – yet there’s a point where end users must be self-sufficient, or you’re less of an IT provider and more of a babysitter. Make sure the leaders at your clients’ organizations know what kinds of help best use your talent, but make sure end users always know where to get help (even if it’s not from a one-on-one phone call).
Invest in RMM and PSA tools
ConclusionThere are times when more efficiency can solve your staffing problems and times when they can’t. If everyone on your team is at max production, any small improvement won’t account for the work a new hire would do. Whatever the case, it’s always beneficial for your company to explore how tools and processes can help your team get the most out of every work day. This lets you be laser-focused on solving your client’s most significant problems and improving their experience wherever possible.
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