Finding good technical support candidates can be difficult. With a unique skill set that includes technical abilities, customer service skills, passion for technology, and excellent communication skills, it can sometimes feel like one is looking for unicorns. Add in additional skill sets like the ability to support another language or a willingness to work off-hours, and the complexity increases. Who knew it could be so challenging to lure top talent? Recruiting and retaining top technical expertise is not easy, especially if your organization is smaller and not well known. Here are five ways to attract and retain top technical support talent.
Finding good technical support candidates can sometimes feel like looking for unicorns.
1. Provide Access to Cutting-Edge Technology
People who are passionate about technology are naturally drawn to organizations that can offer them access to cutting-edge technology. It helps if they also can get hands-on with high-quality products that they can stand behind. Technically oriented people love the challenge of fixing (and sometimes intentionally, breaking) new technology or tools. As natural problem-solvers, they want to improve their skills with the latest offerings. Tech support professionals want a challenge that they can solve. When faced with new technology, who knows what they might uncover? Perhaps by getting access to new technology, agents can uncover continuous improvement opportunities proactively, too.
2. Ensure Good Culture Fit
The team environment is paramount to successfully retaining technical support talent. People spend a large percentage of their day at work. Everyone wants to work with people they enjoy being around. If co-workers can share similar interests, talking about a new video game, the latest technology release, or whatever, it can create common ground. When paired with the right organizational culture, with fewer layers of bureaucracy suffocating progress, real teamwork can flourish.
Cohesive teams and organizations can gain a real edge when they prioritize vital aspects of the employee experience, too. For example, providing the right physical environment and desk configuration can be pivotal in keeping top talent engaged and happy. Who doesn't want multiple monitors and an ergonomically designed workstation? It's cheaper to invest in the physical environment than lose talent out the door. If the team is remote, organizations need to ensure that the right collaboration software is in place to allow team members the opportunity to connect with one another easily.
3. Hire a Talented Team
Technical support professionals are intelligent, talented people. A team can achieve superior results when everyone is working at elevated levels of performance. When aligned around a similar goal, tech support teams in the right environment can demonstrate tremendous levels of engagement. Add in career paths that recognize and reward performance, as well as ongoing professional development such as opportunities to attend conferences or seminars, attracting and keeping top talent becomes easier.
4. Offer Workplace Flexibility
Depending on the culture of the organization, critical elements of workplace flexibility could be high on the priority list for technical support professionals. The more that team members can work when, where, and how they can be most successful, the higher the chances that members of the team are going to be appreciative. Between the dress code, flexible scheduling, and the ability to work remotely, employees in technical support or service management positions expect these as table stakes for any role they are interested in pursuing or staying in. Implementing a flexible workplace culture is essential to many employees. When leaders provide flexibility to employees, maximum effort is often returned by top talent, who go above and beyond because they are more engaged.
5. Provide Competitive Compensation
Money talks. Top talent is typically self-aware and knows the value they bring to the organization. In terms of total compensation, top talent should be paid at or near market value whenever possible. The total rewards offered to employees make a difference too. Ensure your organization is competitive with vacation and benefit offerings. Depending on the type of business and the service or products offered by the organization, an employee discount can be a tremendous draw and can go a long way in keeping tech support agents engaged and retained for the long haul.
Depending on your organization, maybe it's not feasible to implement all the ideas suggested. Admittedly, some of what's suggested may be harder to implement depending on what constraints exist. But if you know your team and what they care most about, it is possible to prioritize and select the options that provide the most significant value overall. The key is that leaders of technical support teams advocate for their people, to not only retain them but bring in other top talent to the organization, too.
Chris Hanna has built and led teams that support the customer experience across a variety of different industries, including a global technical support team. He’s passionate about developing high-potential talent and game-changing cultures, through continuous improvement efforts focused on enhancing both the employee and customer experience. As the founder of Evolving Management, Chris provides solutions to help leaders and companies rethink and evolve their approach to managing. Chris also hosts a business podcast—The Chris Hanna Show—where he shares ways for leaders to improve their impact, productivity, and performance. Connect with Chris on Twitter @chrishannashow, Instagram , LinkedIn, or at [email protected].