When I first arrived in America from India as an 18-year-old boy, I barely knew how to speak proper English and certainly didn’t know what a culture of community was. Then, as I received my computer science degree and started my own tech support company in New York City, I barely knew anything about running a business. But I achieved all those lessons during the 20 years of owning an MSP.
I also learned that 40% of the nation’s workforce is unhappy at work. Why? Leadership issues and a lack of personal and career growth. People leave managers and bad culture.
So I had to learn how to build a culture of community. It was as foreign to me as the English language. It’s a positive, healthy environment where your team members can grow and succeed. It’s a workplace where happy, engaged employees – both remote and hybrid – remain long-term with your company and make a lasting impact on your customers who become loyal brand ambassadors. The result? Continual business, more referrals, increased employee retention rates, and higher profits.
What I learned about implementing a culture of community has been instrumental in the tremendous growth that my company has experienced in terms of scaling and profitability since its inception in 2003.
I want to share the six elements required for building a strong culture of community from which I believe all MSPs will benefit.
- Team First mentality – MSPs must transform from a tech-centric mindset to a people-centric mindset. Your team members are the lifeblood of your organization, so you must treat them as such. Invest in them. Help to educate them. Grow them to become the company’s future leaders.
- Positive Focus – Your leaders must be intentional in presenting a positive attitude at all times. They can do this in team huddles, during general conversations with employees, etc. If you develop your teams so that they are engaged in a positive way, then they will make the right impact on the customer. It’s simple: Happy employees = happy customers!
- Collaboration – Implementing effective team collaboration cross-functionally is important, especially when dealing with remote and hybrid workplaces. My teams are spread across multiple continents, but they work very effectively daily. Advances in technology have certainly contributed to this success, but I also implemented other resources – such as The Collaborative Way ― to further improve upon our collaborations.
- Growth for everyone – I put a strict focus on Career Development Plans (CDPs) for employee growth paths as well as developing and implementing our own Team GPS employee management platform. To retain team members – especially the high performers – you must keep them happy and show how their efforts are vital to fulfilling the company’s goals.
- Psychological safety – I don’t hear much talk about this, but it’s important to give your teams the confidence to take risks to innovate and transform your company. In a safe environment, employees can take risks and fail, but shouldn’t be penalized for taking an entrepreneurial approach.
- Winning and learning – One of my own personal passions that I’ve tried to impress on my teams is lifelong learning. I want my teams to learn something new every single day. Education makes everyone a winner. In my mindset, no one is on a losing team; you’re either going to be on a winning team or on a learning team. Take an experience, reflect on it, learn from it, and adopt those lessons so that you can win the next time.
Building a culture of community is cultivating and sustaining a positive environment that believes in the value of engaged employees. Remember: Leaders have a choice about the workplace environment that they want to create. A healthy, thriving culture attracts great people, great leaders, and great clients.