There’s been chatter in the Human Resources world about ‘upskilling’ – and it makes sense. Training and helping existing employees achieve career growth is a more sustainable strategy than recruiting and hiring new staff in today’s post-pandemic market.
Upskilling is 100% in line with our brand and internal company culture. We’re committed to being People Who Deliver, and that means doing everything we can to ensure our team has the skills, experience, and ability to deliver our best for our customers.
Upskilling Two Positions Into One Customer-Focused Team
We maintained two teams focused on delivering a superior customer experience: an incredibly busy Service Desk team and an exceptionally dedicated Network Operations Center (NOC) monitoring team. Both strived to ensure seamless service for clients, but there was a distinct imbalance. The Service Desk was stretched thin, and the NOC monitoring team could take on more.
We saw two possible paths forward: recruiting, hiring, and training additional staff to support the Service Desk team, or cross-training, upskilling, and combining two roles into a single, customer-focused team.
The Lasting Human Resources Impacts of the Global Pandemic
Like many recent business shifts, the decision to look inward to build a better customer experience was certainly influenced by the pandemic. With so many people around the country self-selecting unemployment for a myriad of reasons, it didn’t make sense for us to dedicate time and resources to talent recruitment – especially when the NOC monitoring team could fill the gap.
We created a new, higher-paying IT Support Specialist position and committed to working with each employee to assess their current skill set and create an individual training plan focused on learning and development over the course of six months.
“We’re really excited about the IT Support Specialist role,” said Sue Sedrel, our Vice President of Human Resources. “Combining in this way is helping us deliver on our customer experience by focusing on improving first call resolution and ensuring our world-class facilities are staffed for emergency response.”
An Upskilling Journey: How It Started vs. How It’s Going
We launched the IT Support Specialist transition in January 2022 and began working with employees on training plans immediately thereafter. Additionally, the former Service Desk team is helping train the former NOC monitoring team on responding to customer tickets efficiently and effectively.
These types of shifts never happen overnight. There are always growing pains, and it simply takes time to learn a new role.
“We’re seeing such amazing progress from our new IT Support Specialists,” continued Sedrel. “What at first felt like more work now feels like a full and supportive team that is rounding out its capabilities to take the best possible care of our customers.”
Our IT Support Specialists have been empowered to learn, grow, and accelerate their career trajectory. They’re exploring different areas that weren’t a part of their previous positions, and they’re shining. The teams are working together to build something new, and the model can be applied across our entire footprint.
Tips for Smart Workforce Development
We worked for several months to create the IT Support Specialist position. We evaluated the problem, explored several possible solutions, and landed on a commitment to our team’s development. It was a very worthwhile exercise, and we learned several key things about upskilling along the way.
1. Think Differently to See the Potential
In a world where digital transformation is changing the way we think, interact, and do business, it is increasingly important to explore the many angles of a challenge to find a solution. Sometimes it’s straightforward. Other times, thinking differently and pushing back on the status quo can lead to new ideas that benefit both the workforce and business.
2. Focus on Opportunities.
We often hear questions about career development and growth opportunities during interviews. How will I grow at Involta? The answer is simple: however you want. Successful employees want to learn and grow. As an employer, it’s your job to create opportunities whenever possible, and when you empower your team to take an active role in their development, everyone benefits.
3. Involve Employees in the Process
What is your team capable of doing? Anything they set their minds to doing. It often takes little to no convincing to set an employee on a path toward growth. Upskilling is part of the process. What do they want to learn? What problems could they solve simply by training and building skills? Again, if you make opportunities available, your team will rise.
4. Plan for and Embrace Organizational Change
Things are changing. Between technological advancements and the lasting impacts of the pandemic, the way we do business is changing at light speed. Remote work is here to stay, but technology makes it possible to be more efficient than we’ve ever been before. Employees need more flexibility, and employers who can deliver will stand out among the competition. Slight shifts to how an organization runs will help create modern, flexible, and productive work environments.
5. Use Technology to Your Advantage
No digital transformation is complete without technology. How can technology play a role in supporting your team’s growth? Where can you automate processes and enable teams to focus on more strategic work? There’s no sense in maintaining labor-intensive practices when technology can reduce risk and increase productivity. Where does that leave your team? With the capacity to do more – but different – things for your company.
6. Apply a Flexible PTO Policy
We’ve all heard the term work/life balance. More often than not, work takes precedence, but it’s easy to get burnt out. So, what’s the solution? A flexible PTO policy. Flexible PTO allows employees to take the time they need to balance work with their home life. It creates a healthier work environment and helps employees keep a healthy state of mind.
If you’re interested in exploring the role of technology in employee development, reach out to our team. We look forward to exploring the possibilities with you.