Posted by John Reed on Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 09:34
The last two weeks I had the opportunity to share technical support industry trends at HDI events in Dallas and Nashville. The foundation for my talks has been a new joint research project between RHT and HDI, “The Technical Support Professional of the Future.”
The research has been well received and I certainly saw a lot of common concerns among the audiences at these two events. That said, I found it really interesting that one individual tracked me down after one of my presentations and said, “John, a lot of these trends have been around for a while. We have always valued adaptable individuals with problem-solving skills.”
What Skills Will Technical Support Professionals of the Future Need?
His comments really brought home for me the opportunity for today’s technology leaders. Yes, we have always valued employees that have a passion to serve the customer, professionals that can help us solve our business problems creatively, team members that are adaptable and resilient, and tech wizards with excellent communication skills. But the difference is that while those qualities would have always been nice to have in the past, today and in the future they’ll be essential for technology professionals who support an increasingly complex technological world.
To make matters even more complicated, try finding technology professionals with both the technical and soft skills in a marketplace with a three to four percent IT unemployment rate. The jobs in technical support are becoming more complex, yet the available talent to meet the demand is insufficient. There lies our opportunity.
IT Leaders Must “Grow” Their Own Technical Support Talent
As an IT leader, are you investing in your staff by training and developing critical interpersonal skills. Are you creating the opportunity for your staff to participate in special projects and mentoring programs at your company?
Additionally, do you have realistic hiring expectations for the open positions on your technical support team? If you always have open positions, or positions remain open for a long period of time (longer than six weeks), maybe it’s time to reassess your hiring profile. Firms need to be flexible and willing to “grow their own” talent when a search for the perfect candidate has stalled.
I’d like to hear your comments on what you’re doing to develop the skills on your team to equip them for the future, and how you’ve changed up your hiring plan for those open seats.