If you manage an IT service desk, you don’t always have the opportunity to put together your “dream team,” due to limits on resources, availability (or lack thereof) of job candidates who meet your particular needs, and other restrictions. But there are plenty of ways to make the most of the skills mix on your IT service desk team.
No doubt you have encountered stereotypes about IT professionals in the media, or perhaps among non-tech colleagues, but you know better. Understanding the individuals that make up your IT service desk team can help you motivate them to want to excel.
Ian Connelly and Gregory Bayliss-Hall, of the BCS Service Management Specialist Group recently gave a talk that looks at the IT service desk team in a way that may be different from how you’ve thought about your team before.
Don’t take for granted those team members who hit well against any pitcher.
Looking at Where Workers Are in Their IT Career
Connelly and Bayliss-Hall suggest not stereotyping your workers by interests or quirks, but taking a look at where they are in terms of career path. You have your newer workers, the ones who may stay for the long haul, or who may go elsewhere as interests, opportunities, and obligations demand. Journeymen IT service desk workers who are the ones you depend on most for day-to-day operations, and your specialists, who constantly think outside the IT service desk “box.”
New IT Service Desk Workers Who May or May Not Stick Around
New people are often assigned Level 1 help desk duties, and this makes sense. They may be fresh out of school and new to the professional workforce, and they need to develop not only technical skills, but people skills. These workers may need more coaching and development on the job, and you may wonder why you should bother when they’re young and talk about going back to school. But the time you invest in developing these newer workers’ skills pays off right away in terms of IT service desk effectiveness, and that’s valuable even if they choose to move on in a year.
Your “Utility Players”
These are the people who have been around long enough that they’ve “been there and done that.” They’re your Bert Campaneris, in that you can put them into the game at any position, and they’ll get the job done, and done well. Your biggest risk with these mid-career stalwarts is undervaluing them, because they’re human, and can get stuck in a career rut that ultimately does nobody any good. By regularly allowing these IT service desk pros the opportunity to do something different, like making presentations, writing technical papers, or being in charge of support for a new device that’s being rolled out, you can keep these professionals engaged and make the most of the value their experience brings to the IT service desk.
The “specialists” on your IT service desk team are the ones who are highly engaged with the rest of the organization and with whatever industry you’re in. They’re the ones who realize that wearables are going to be big, so they start figuring out how to incorporate them into your IT asset management program and what kind of support the team should offer. They’re the ones who can lead change management initiatives and apply the lessons learned to everyday IT service desk operation. You want to allow them adequate scope, without turning them into prima donnas.
A well-balanced IT service desk is going to function better than an IT service desk made up of people with uniform skill sets, experience levels, and temperaments. IT service desks have been around long enough that you can often choose among professionals with varying backgrounds, interests, and experience levels to create a team that handles day-to-day tasks reliably and effectively, and that is ready to meet new or unique challenges that inevitably crop up, no matter what industry you’re in.
When you use Samanage to power your IT service desk and IT asset management provision, you have both the power and the flexibility to allow your team to meet challenges ranging from the mundane to the unexpected to the transformative. With the right tools, like those offered by Samanage, every team member will have the ability to bring his or her unique skills to bear on the range of IT service management challenges every organization faces.
About Laura Miller
Laura Miller is the Senior Director of Sales Operations, ITSM at SolarWinds. She works one-on-one with customers ranging from SMB to Fortune 500, providing them with a modern way to look at service management. Laura's ITIL experience and ITIL v3 Foundations certification provides her with a unique understanding of the service management industry. Her guilty pleasures are anything chocolate, ice coffee, and reality TV.
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