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5 Ways to Recognize and Reward Staff Performance on the IT Service Desk

By | June 26, 2018 in Service Desk

Recognizing and rewarding the performance of your IT service desk agents is of paramount importance. Why? Because an IT service desk can be a tough place to work – the negativity of end-user complaints, the monotony of churning tickets, and the constant need to adapt to changes and ever-increasing workloads can take its toll.

Reward Staff Performance on the IT Service Desk

Recognizing and rewarding the performance of your IT service desk agents is of paramount importance. Why? Because an IT service desk can be a tough place to work – the negativity of end-user complaints, the monotony of churning tickets, and the constant need to adapt to changes and ever-increasing workloads can take its toll.

Recognizing great and consistent performance is a key way to keeping your IT support staff engaged, motivated, and happy. However, a lot of the time, when we think about rewarding our staff, we immediately think of money. But, while pay raises and bonuses are a great motivator, money is really just one piece in the jigsaw.

Plus, often as a service desk manager, monetary decisions may not rest with you anyway. So, you need other ways to show your staff that you recognize and appreciate their efforts in delivering IT support.

In this blog, I offer 5 ways to better recognize and reward staff performance on the IT service desk.

1. Introduce Gamification

As an IT service desk manager, you’re probably already tracking the performance of your agents by measuring certain key performance indicators (KPIs). Examples include how many tickets service desk agents handle during their shift, the average handling time (AHT) on the phone, the number of calls they take, or the number of first-time fixes (FTF) they achieve over a monthly period.

Whatever targets you have for your team, monitoring KPIs can be an incredibly boring task for you and can sometimes make your agents feel like they’re not trusted to get on with their work. But performance measurements on the IT service desk doesn’t have to be dull. Add in gamification!

Gamification is a way to merge game-mechanics with a job role to create a fun and engaging working environment. This encourages healthy competition among your IT service desk agents and removes some of the stress of performance being tracked.

Your service desk can create challenges for your team and for individuals, for instance the first person to:

  • Deal with one thousand tickets
  • Reach one hundred first-time fixes
  • Meet telephony targets four months in a row
  • Exceed incident ticket targets three months out of six

The possibilities are endless – with each promoting and recognizing great work.

Not only do the challenges create a fun environment but, if they’re matched against your service desk agents’ objectives, they can help them achieve or exceed their performance targets.

The rewards for winning these challenges can be as simple as a (gamification) system-generated badge with a prize for the person who collects the most badges over a period of time.

But it’s not just about badges and prizes though. Praising individuals each time they gain a new badge is important. You can make it part of your team meetings to review the leadership board and use this as evidence to praise your staff to senior IT management too.

Gamification ultimately gives your organization the chance to make life on the IT service desk a little more fun and a little less pressured.

2. Offer Training and Development

Find out what your service desk agents want to do, help them to decide which career path they might enjoy, and then provide them with opportunities to explore this.

Your service desk might have a staff member interested in problem management, say. So, give them a day to sit with your problem management team and experience what it’s like.

If you have someone who enjoys knowledge management, assign them the role of knowledge creator and give them time to complete documentation to enhance your service desk’s knowledge base.

Allow your staff time away from the desk to complete training courses that can advance their career (plus their current job as needed). To help attract new high-caliber staff, the IT service desk should be seen as a “leapfrog role” – a place to learn basic IT service management (ITSM) and ITIL skills and gain experience in the industry that will help to set them on their chosen career path.

When your organization gives staff the chance to develop their skills in areas they enjoy, they will remain motivated – which can be particularly helpful during difficult periods such as organizational changes or period of heavy workloads.

3. Provide Feedback (Well)

Feedback to staff is incredibly important. People like to know when they’re doing well and when and where they need to improve.

Importantly, don’t wait to leave feedback to annual evaluations. You should be regularly speaking with your service desk staff to see what’s going well and what needs to change.

It’s important that your agents know that you appreciate their efforts – sometimes, knowing the appreciation is there is enough of a reward. And appreciation can get your team through the most difficult of times – so, work together and also encourage your team to praise each other when someone does a stand-out job.

Recognize when an agent performs consistently well too – it’s not all about exceeding targets one month if the next month performance dwindles. So, if you have a staff member who meets their targets consistently, month on month, this needs to be recognized and rewarded to encourage both them and others.

Feedback should be delivered via 1-to-1 meetings, team meetings, and also to senior management when your agents are doing an excellent job. A kind word of congratulations from a senior manager to a service desk agent can be a huge confidence booster and a great motivation tactic.

And don’t keep feedback hidden – to show true appreciation praise should be shared publicly.

4. Excel at Communication

Communication is key, but it’s so, so important that communication flows both ways. It’s no good having feedback sessions where you pat your agents on the head for doing a good job and send them on their way.

Instead, let your service desk agents talk to you about their ideas – they’re the ones in the thick of it day-in and day-out, so they’ll be best able to see where improvements could be made.

In doing this, it’s important to:

  • Use what they tell you when making your decisions and share their suggestions with the wider team.
  • Be thankful when you use their idea and carefully explain why an idea might not work if you can’t incorporate it.

You might also want to consider formalizing your workplace communications – I’ve previously written about communication planning and plans here.

5. Be Consistent

The final point to make – in recognizing and rewarding staff performance on the IT service desk – is to always be consistent.

If you start gamification, you’ll need to stick with it and build upon it systematically. If it's seen as inconsistent, then your agents will most likely quickly give up on the challenges.

Be consistent with training too. Skills development needs to happen throughout the year. It’s no good to promise it and then get caught up in a busy work schedule and forget to make it happen. If your service desk agents are not challenged or given a chance to develop, then it won’t be long before they start to look elsewhere.

Likewise, feedback needs to delivered regularly. Monthly review meetings with individual agents should be conducted to track progress. And monthly team meetings should be held to:

  • Show your service desk agents how the desk is performing
  • Allow agents to offload and brainstorm ideas for areas of improvement
  • Share team successes.

So too when it comes to communication with your service desk team – consistent, regular reminders of appreciation are needed in the hectic environment of IT support.

Recognizing and rewarding your staff’s performance can be done in a multitude of ways. The key is to show your staff that you appreciate them, praise their efforts, encourage them to work hard, and keep the work environment as fun as you can. It can take a lot of effort to keep IT service desk agents motivated all the time; but remember that a happy, motivated team is the type of team that will deliver you consistent results.

Sarah Lahav

About Sarah Lahav

As the company’s 1st employee, Sarah has remained the vital link between SysAid Technologies and its customers since 2003. Current CEO, former VP Customer Relations. Always passionate about customer service! Mother of three adorable children – she juggles work, family, and zumba classes with ease.

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