Is it better to work with a technology company or hire employees internally for your technology support needs?
Like many difficult puzzles, the solution is influenced by a number of factors. This article's objective is to aid in the identification of some of the important considerations.
There are a number of indicators that an organization has arrived at the stage where adjustments to the IT services sector are required. These frequently manifest in the following ways:
IT frequently causes managers and employees to become frustrated
Clearly reduced productivity (staff spending time dealing with IT issues)
Headaches and stress related to technology
Security lapses or flagrant disregard for cyber security measures
Regular downtime, including unavailable servers, tools, and computers
The IT department and resources are always changing
The choice of whether to create an internal Information Technology (IT) team or to utilize a partner for that service is one that many small to mid-sized businesses find difficult. In the following cases, we observe discussions:
It appears that an IT professional is required to rush around putting out daily IT fires
An existing IT employee isn't working out well, or that IT employee has departed or quit
The current IT division has consistently had trouble retaining staff or performing well
A persistent impression that the IT environment has to be improved or cleaned up
Paths companies might be tempted to take with internal hires:
Option 1: Hire a single, L1/L2 technician to handle day-to-day IT issues (computer problems, email, printers, etc.)
Option 2: Recruit a “mid-level” L2/L3 Sys Admin-type person to oversee the IT environment, backbone, and deal with day-to-day issues.
Option 3: Bring on a full-stack engineer to cover architecture, backups, security, networking, computing, software, and tools.
We have seen that these extra issues need to be taken into account when selecting whether to hire domestically or collaborate with an IT firm, in addition to the cost of attracting and keeping an internal IT staff.
Problems seen with hiring a single “L1” IT person:
IT specialists typically perform better in teams because they receive better accountability, experience greater job satisfaction, and benefit from collaborative problem-solving.
Since there is little to no documentation and the individual technician has all the expertise, they will burn out because they feel accountable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
They typically depart when they become irritated in that situation. This specialist will require management, as well as higher-level IT architecture, security, and back-end systems.
This approach is extremely reactive and will appear to be firefighting (dealing with the urgent issue at hand). The proactive work necessary to address underlying, root cause problems is frequently disregarded. When combined with the additional supervisory help needed, this resource will run an organization $7–$9K per month.
Problems with hiring a “mid-level” L2/L3 IT person:
When you hire an L2/L3 IT professional, they will typically be skilled in one area of the IT environment, such as servers, networks, or security, leaving holes in your strategy and maintenance.
They favor higher-level jobs over daily reactive work because they find it boring. Costs associated with these more expensive technicians range from $9000 to $11,000 per month.
Problems with Option #3 (Full-stack engineer):
A full-stack engineer is capable of designing whole environments and managing almost any problem, but they are expensive and exorbitantly difficult to maintain if they are not backed up by a team of L1/L2/L3 technicians. They typically won't be content providing daily help for a long time.
They are pricey, alone costing between $11,000 and $13,000 a month. Additionally, you are looking at $17,000 to $22,000 per month when you take into account additional workers for day-to-day assistance.
Hiring statistics in the IT industry around hiring and retention:
Average days to fill an IT position – 30 Days
Percentage of employees looking for new work within 6 months of being hired – 33%
Cost to replace a salaried employee – 6 to 9 months’ worth of salary
Annual Turnover Rate – 57%
Average time until turnover in IT industry – Median tenure is 1 year
While there are some costs associated with luring and keeping an internal IT team, some intangibles are more difficult to quantify but undoubtedly have an impact. Let's use a real-life example to illustrate.
Example: 250 Employee Organization
Recently, we collaborated with a company with about 250 users that had a 4-person internal IT team in the past. Every time an internal IT employee left, the company was left with a knowledge gap because they lacked a documentation procedure and a systematic approach to IT assistance. The firm has struggled to attract and retain IT expertise.
They were in a panic since three of their four IT support staff members had abruptly departed when we were called in. Forward three months. Although the environment is far from ideal, a documentation system has been established, and the main business procedures have been documented and are reproducible by all of our technical people.
We suffer the same issues that any business does when it comes to luring and keeping IT talent, even though we are a technology company. Since this is our main area of business, we have had to hone our ability to handle these personnel difficulties.
How do we entice and keep workers? We are very willing to share our procedures for doing this in the interest of openness.
Because so many other organizations offer them, many of the perks we once used to entice talent are now neutral.
IT workers desire competitive salaries, a clear and difficult career path, ongoing training, assistance from a larger team, and flexibility in their work schedules and environments. The need for flexibility arises from the possibility that what reinvigorates one employee may not do so for another.
Does this reduce the rate of staff churn in the IT sector? Nowhere near. Planning for it, we've discovered, is the key to keeping the business flowing in a high-turnover environment.
Our business has been active in this sector for more than 20 years. Like every growing organization, RCS experiences turnover, but the way we see it, not all of it is detrimental to either the person or the business.
For instance, the majority of our clients are businesses with between 10 and 300 people. To cater to that audience, a certain amount of technicality is required. Rising star technicians are aware of the need and desire to advance in their field.
Top talent will eventually outgrow the work we undertake, and we accept this. We consider our collaboration with them to have been successful if we can find, develop, and work with this kind of talent for three to five years. We wish them luck.
In certain cases, where it made sense for their career path, we have even assisted top candidates in finding more demanding enterprise-level jobs.
How do we maintain everyday operations knowing that the IT industry has a higher-than-average turnover rate?
First, we have established a sharing and documentation culture. The task gets done even when a team member quits when we openly disclose and precisely record the environments we support.
Then we divide the task into teams. We can swiftly add junior technicians as needed by grouping support technicians into teams.
We are aware that hiring new technicians takes time. We cultivate and develop ties with the local colleges for technology interns, with an average time to hiring of 30 days (we have discovered that it takes a little longer in our area).
We train for technology and employ personalities. Since roughly 50% of new recruits quit within the first year, we frequently hire two techs.
Research studies have shown that ongoing training and career advancement rank higher than income as the main factors influencing technicians' decision to leave (or remain) in a profession.
We have discovered that our staff members are more committed to their work and that knowledge is frequently shared with the team, leading to a net improvement in the team, when we give training opportunities and requirements to them.
We can extend the tenure of good technicians by fostering a culture of learning, growth, and positive change. We can also celebrate the addition of new team members while also saying goodbye to those who are leaving or graduating without materially affecting our ability to offer highly responsive helpdesk support.
Partner with RCS for IT Services:
You receive a full team when you work with our group, including full-stack engineers, L2/L3 Sys Admins who handle all IT domains, and L1/L2 Technicians for routine troubleshooting. Along with decades of expertise and knowledge, you also get extensive documentation and continuity.
Approximate Costs for Partnership Model:
$125 - $175 a month per user depending on the plan
By partnering with our team, your company can focus on your core competencies and avoid the hassles and downtime associated with attracting and retaining IT staff.