Help Desk Training and Development Program: Are They Worth It?

Help Desk managers know that company success is a result of knowledgeable and engaged workers. To develop and keep top talent productive, you need a comprehensive Help Desk training and development program.

Help Desk Training and Development Program

Question 1 – Do you have a Help Desk training and development program?

Investing into a help desk training and development program can save money while improving the customer experience. Help desk agents also benefit through improvement of skills and increases in pay. A Help Desk training and development program will also improve your help desk first contact resolution and average handle time. In turn, a reduction in the cost per ticket will follow. It’s a win for the Help Desk agent as well as the Help Desk manager.

Help Desk Trainer

Question 2 – Do you have a dedicated Help Desk training and development program owner role defined and staffed?

Trainers are the specialists that plan, schedule, and administrator of the training program for new or existing employees. Trainers will also ensure that the curriculum is refreshed and is still relevant. After performing training and on completion, trainers will update and maintain employee training records. Trainers typically will not have a fear of public speaking. They excel at providing information interactively with audiences. They are adept at recognizing when the audience is engaged and when their message is resonating with the audience. Typically, trainers are part of or have a close relationship with the human resource department.

In some cases, trainers can be directly embedded in the Information Technology department or the Help Desk team. For smaller companies, having a fulltime trainer may not be possible for budgetary reasons. In these cases, a production employee may perform training duties as a secondary role.

Help Desk Agent Skill Assessment

Question 3 – Have you performed a skills assessment of each employee to determine their strengths and improvement opportunities?

Employee development is to advance an employee’s skills and knowledge beyond what is required for their current job position. Many people describe employee development as a career path development. Assessing the skills of your staff will help identify what areas the employee development is needed for their current role. It will also help identify what areas the employee development may be of interest for a future role.

Training and Development Plan

Question 4 – Do you have a training and development plan created for all your employees based upon the skills assessment?

Mature Help Desks do not just happen. There is a lot of technical and process knowledge every member of the team must understand. Help Desk managers and trainers work together to identify the required training a Help Desk agents should receive. Then this training goes into a plan for all Help Desk agents. Over a course of a year, there could be 20, 50, or 100 required training topics added to a Help Desk agent training plan. A plan must be auditable to determine who has received what training and when. At a Help Desk, staff must be rotated off the phones to receive training. It could take a week or a month to have all agents receive specific training on one topic.

Ongoing training and skill development

Question 5 – Do you allow at least 5% of staff time to be devoted to receiving training and development?

Wayne Schlicht author of Help Desk Management states, “It is important to allow Help Desk agents to log at least 5 percent of their time towards training.” An ongoing training program is important for employees to refresh their current required knowledge of work practices. Ongoing training will also assist employees to incrementally improve their skills. Companies will use ongoing training to keep up with industry changes and the latest technology to stay ahead of competitors. This training will also reduce skill gaps and allow employees to more successfully meet the requirements of their job description.

Training and Development curriculum

Question 6 – Do you have a diverse training curriculum plan that includes multiple delivery methods such as classroom instruction, web training, and training manuals?

The training outline and content to achieve the objectives of the training program is referred to as the curriculum. The curriculum includesHelp Desk Training and Development Program teaching aids, handbooks, visual aids, webinars, and computer tutorials. When developing a training curriculum, you must ensure the curriculum is effective, is the lowest cost possible and results in an increase in employee effectiveness. Training can be designed to occur in different settings, such as the classroom, on-the-job, self-study, web-based, workshop, and software-based simulations.

New Hire Help Desk training

Question 7 – Do you have a formal new-hire Help Desk training and development program?

It is important that the first impression for your new employee to your company is positive. Proper onboarding will affect their initial engagement, integration, and set a positive expectation with their new positions. A new hire onboarding training program should include the following.

  • An agenda and checklist of onboarding tasks for the first week.
  • Dedicated time to complete required paperwork and training
  • A tour of the building and services available
  • Plan a manager’s meeting, such as lunch for the first day.
  • Cover important work processes and safety procedures as applicable.

New Applications or Services Training

Question 8 – Is a training and staff development component incorporated into your company’s change management process to ensure that employees know how to support new applications or services?

When things change at a company, employees need to have the training to succeed. When a company implements a new complex policy or if a new enterprise application is to be introduced, specific training may be needed.

The training should cover what the new process or application with the following items.

  • What is the scope of the change?
  • When will the change be implemented?
  • What are the expectations on how it will be used?
  • Where does the Help Desk go for additional assistance?

Hard and Soft Skills Training

Question 9 – Do you provide training and development for soft skills?

Help Desk agents are the first contact users have with the technology department. If needed, they should have access to receive training on typing, writing, call handling, and call documentation skill improvement training. These are some of the basic hard skills needed to be successful at the Help Desk. Also at the Help Desk, agents need to have above average soft skills such as customer service and communication skills. Soft skills are tough to train since they are more of a person’s personality traits. However, soft skills can be incrementally improved with development classes and coaching. Investing time, money, and energy into soft skills development is a worthy goal.

Help Desk Professional Certifications

Question 10 – Does your Help Desk training and development program include the opportunity to attain professional certifications?

In the world of Information Technology, there are many certifications that can be obtained. Many technology companies offer certifications for their systems and applications. These certifications focus on server administration, programming, security, ITIL, networking, customer service, and many other areas. Employee certifications recognize an employee’s accumulated training and experience in a subject area.

There are many benefits for obtaining a certification in information technology and more specifically in Help Desk related topics. We have outlined some of the benefits below.

Career diversity – Many technology related employees will hold multiple certifications. By holding multiple certifications, people can move to within a department to perform different roles. For example, there are many roles Help Desk agents can move into. These roles include incident manager, workforce manager, reporting specialist, phone administrator, and such.

Networking – By holding a certification, you can join an association based on the certification. Joining an association is good for your career path, sharing knowledge, and finding the next job.

Increased pay – Visit any certification website, and they always list one of the benefits of certification as an increased salary or pay range. Many employers will view a person with a certification as holding an above-average skill set in the area of expertise. This may allow you to obtain a salary in the middle or upper range of the salary range for the position.

Verified skill level – When you are interviewing a candidate, and you ask about the candidate’s experience with a certain subject, how can you really verify their skill level? Certifications are a way to establish a minimum skill level in the subject that you’re talking about. For example, if you are interviewing candidates for a project manager position and they have a project manager certification, you will know that they have a certain level of skills in that area.

Increase your marketability – Many job positions will list certifications as required or preferred. By holding a certification, you open the door to more job opportunities.

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