Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Culture Killers

This is a Guest Editorial by long-time community leader Rayanne Buchianico:

The Great Resignation, Quiet Quitting, and Culture Killers

By Rayanne Buchianico

I started my career in a different world. I was grateful to have a job during a recession. I quickly learned the rules of the road and performed my work to the best of my ability, and most times, I went above and beyond what was asked of me. I had some great employers in my early career. I also had some awful bosses. I took lessons from all of them to build my leadership skills into the person I am. I purposely built my company so I could be the boss I always wanted to have. I thought, “If I make this a great place to work, everything else will fall into place.”

That worked for a long time, until it didn’t.

My company offers competitive salaries and an exceptional benefit package, flexible hours, extensive PTO, a stocked kitchen for lunches and snacks, company outings, and countless opportunities for personal and professional growth. I wondered who could possibly hate working here?

Two people decided that what I offered them was not good enough. They bonded. The gossiping and whispering began. I ignored it. The gossiping and whispering got louder and started to include other people in the office. I ignored it some more. The work was getting done. The clients were happy. I didn’t much care what they thought about me. I continued to work to make it a great place to be and pretended not to notice. After all, no one came to me with a concern or a complaint. 

To be fair, I had a lot going on during this time. It was busy season, my workload was off the charts, I purchased a building, and I had some personal issues that needed attention. I was not as present in the office as I typically am.

Then, it got worse. Some of my co-workers stopped communicating with me altogether. If I asked a question, they answered. If I asked them to do something, they did it. But, the underlying tone and lack of camaraderie was clear. You could feel the tension in the office. The forced laughter when they were in groups. The quick hush when I walked nearby. I should have put an end to it right then. You know how hindsight goes.

Instead, I sent one of the instigators to work from home full time. That kept them out of the office, but not off text messages. I began coaching another team member into a leadership position. I was sure I could turn this around. The more I did to improve the atmosphere, the worse it seemed to get. I called in a culture coach. I hired a leadership coach. I read books. I listened to podcasts. I organized company events. I thought I was doing everything right.

I met an MSP owner at a recent event. She went through the exact same scenario and took all the same steps I was taking. We had a good long talk about this, and I want to share what I learned. 

Make sure you are not the problem

This was the main takeaway for me. I was so sure the problem was not me, that I never stopped to double-check. Employees need a clear path to success. 

  • Set goals for each team member
  • Provide timelines and budgets
  • Be sure you can measure their progress – and actually measure it!
  • Review their work
  • Written procedures are great, but training sessions are better
  • In-office games
    • Sports pools
    • Contests
    • Friendly competitions with prizes

Your employees need to know what it means to be successful at your company. Just coming to work and completing tickets and going home does not help to bolster morale or pride in a job well done. Be specific in your expectations and review them regularly with your team. What are they doing well? Where can they improve? Set goals for improvement and follow-up in 30 days.

Talk to your teammates one-on-one. No one likes to be called out in a team huddle. You need a one-on-one relationship with each member of your team.

Reward your team

Not all rewards need to be monetary. Sure, your co-workers will not turn down extra money, but that may not be their primary motivator. Ask them what they like to do. What are their interests? Can you do something meaningful for them? Gift cards and money are nice but so impersonal. Try stepping up your game.

  • Buy a local adventure for them, even something touristy in your own town 
  • Get a gift certificate to the best restaurant in town
  • Movie passes
  • Family adventures
  • Performance bonuses

This is something you can bring up in a team huddle. You’ll hear each person shout out something they like to do. Make notes and choose rewards accordingly.

Trust your gut

If you feel dissention in the ranks, take charge immediately. One or two people can bring down half the company. They will create a toxic culture then blame you for it. If you let it continue, don’t be surprised when they all walk out because you let one of them go. 

No one ever said, “I should have waited longer to fire that person.”

If you can feel the tension, imagine what the other employees are feeling. No one person, or even five persons, are worth losing a valuable employee who wants to be part of your organization. 

Quiet Quitting

I did not know this was a thing until I started reading articles about it. After The Great Resignation hit my company, many of the players offered to stay on until their replacements were hired and properly trained by them. They cited concern for the clients. 

Against my better judgment, I allowed some to stay. Their work was not being done. Training was sloppy. Documentation mysteriously disappeared. They had two-hour giggle-fests in the office while I continued to pay salaries for them and their replacements. I put an end to that and on the day they left, they took two more co-workers with them.

When someone resigns, send them home. You are not saving yourself any work by allowing them to stay. 

Once the office was free of the employees, the atmosphere immediately lightened. We collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief. I ordered lunch for the staff, and we talked openly about the events leading up to that day. Then, we all banded together, picked up the broken pieces and got to work. 

By the end of that first week, I looked back and thought, “This is what a team looks like. THIS is the culture I have been building.”

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Rayanne Buchianico is the owner of ABC Solutions an MSP accounting expert. She is also a PSA consultant and podcaster, M&A expert, author, instructor and speaker, and a board member of the National Society of IT Service Providers. She’s won awards for her work and community involvement from every organization that matters in our industry.


Monday, September 12, 2022

The ASCII Group Creates Pivotal Industry Study on MSP Services and Vendor Selection

From my friends at ASCII sent over this missive:

The ASCII Group Creates Pivotal Industry Study on MSP Services and Vendor Selection

Bethesda, Maryland – September 12, 2022 – The ASCII Group, a large membership-based community of independent North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers, is pleased to announce the creation of ‘Rate My Stack’, a comprehensive industry study focused on MSP services and vendor selection.

For nearly 40 years The ASCII Group has provided programs, services, and resources for MSPs to better run their IT businesses. With the vast expansion of vendors in the IT channel, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are continually evaluating which vendor partners serve the needs of their customers the best while helping the MSP build a competitive services offering. To help with this, The ASCII Group saw a need to embark on this one-of-a-kind study. With community in mind, the aggregate data will be used to offer insight while providing peers the ability to share and rate each other’s ‘stacks’ anonymously.

Led by a committee of 12 ASCII members, the ‘Rate My Stack’ initiative was built on providing the individual Managed Service Provider deeper intelligence on what their fellow peers are doing in the market. In aggregate, the data will provide insight into the following areas:

What components do MSPs typically provide as part of their service offering?

What are the most popular components of the service stack by category?

Which vendors are on the rise or decline and the reasoning behind it?

What are the most popular products/services MSPs are using to run their internal operations?

What services are typically not offered compared to their peers?

“The ‘Rate My Stack’ endeavor is the first step in providing intel in helping our community build a better service offering,” said Jerry Koutavas, President, The ASCII Group. “Learning from peers is the best form of business education and knowledge sharing is the backbone of our group.”

To learn more about becoming a member of The ASCII Group, please visit www.ascii.com

About The ASCII Group, Inc:

The ASCII Group is the premier community of North American MSPs, MSSPs and Solution Providers. The Group has members located throughout the U.S. and Canada, and membership encompasses everyone from credentialed MSPs serving the SMB community to multi-location solution providers with a national and international reach. Founded in 1984, ASCII provides services to members including leveraged purchasing programs, education and training, marketing assistance, extensive peer interaction and more. ASCII works with a vibrant ecosystem of leading and major technology vendors that complement the ASCII community and support the mission of helping MSPs to grow their businesses. For more information, please visit www.ascii.com



Sunday, September 04, 2022

Check Out the NSITSP Candidates - Voting Starts Sept. 15th

We did a blog post over at NSITSP.org, but I thought I also post here.

NSITSP Members Campaign season is underway. It’s brief, so make sure you read up on the candidates as you prepare to VOTE, starting September 15th.

Check out the Elections Page Here and meet the candidates.

You can view all candidates or just the ones for a specific board or committee. This is the e-version of our voter pamphlet. Each candidate has their picture, plus a candidate statement, and links to their social media, so you can see how they present themselves to clients and the public at large.

Candidates: Don’t forget to share your candidate profiles with your clients. Let them know that you are investing in our industry and helping us to transform the industry into a profession. And don’t forget to monitor the Elections Forum and respond to posts.

Members: Join the Elections Forum, post your questions, and engage the candidates.

Note: All paid members are eligible to vote. So don’t worry about letters of reference. If you’ve paid, you can vote.

If you have questions, send us a note.

Thank you for all your support!