written by: Michelle Shuler Key•edited by: Ginny Edwards•updated: 12/1/2010
The logical, tech-savvy employees attracted to help desk work are motivated by innovative but practical incentives.
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Logical, Results-Based Incentives
Building a top-notch help desk team by offering a competitive benefits package starts you off on the right foot, but without the proper nurturing in the form of unique, dynamic incentives, your best employees can become frustrated or complacent. These folks are pragmatic, tech savvy and results-oriented. Their job is to solve problems and understand processes, so technical support fields attract logical thinkers. Show them that you have applied that same level of logic to your help desk employee incentives program and your company and clients will all benefit from a satisfied support team that offers friendly, qualified assistance.
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Flexible Reward Options
Support staff, particularly those in technical support and other help desk fields, must adapt to situations moment by moment. They value that same sort of adaptability in their employer, so provide options. A few simple ways to make your help desk employee incentives program more dynamic include:
Offering an equivalent cash amount for any gift-based incentives you offer. Your hardest worker might also be a homebody. He won’t be motivated by a weekend vacation.
Making flexibility itself the reward by offering adaptable schedules. For long-term employees, options even make existing benefits more enticing. As workers receive their customary bumps in vacation time for years of service, consider giving them more control over how that time is used.
Creating opportunities for employees to work at home on special projects like updating your help desk’s support database. The simple fact that you trust your employees enough to allow them to work unsupervised earns you respect as a manager and creates company loyalty.
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Even more important than flexibility is creating an incentive plan that is results-based. Your help desk employees already work in a world of cause and effect, and your office ideally has procedures in place to measure employee productivity and track results, including regular performance reviews. Tie your incentives to these results, but more importantly, make the process transparent. Analytical thinkers like those at the help desk are not moved by broad concepts, but by specific, attainable goals with logical steps they can follow.
Technical support help desks attract computer types who love gadgets and technology. If you include gifting as part of your incentive plan, consider portable devices or paid memberships to technology services. This shows the techs on your team that you understand their culture, particularly when these incentives are applied thoughtfully.
Fun items like handheld games or music players entice technology buffs, but often require subscription-based services. Include coverage of these fees, at least for the first several months.
For an innovative approach, tie technology access to your benefits package. Offer all employees a competitive mobile plan, with gifting incentives of higher-level devices for better performance.
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Motivate with Learning
Your best help desk workers were drawn to the field because they enjoy using their minds. Learning-based incentives particularly appeal to this type of employee. Tuition reimbursement is a popular choice, as well as offering stipends for attending job-related seminars or workshops. Help desks offering technical support benefit particularly from learning-based incentives. These fields are constantly changing. Your most valuable employees know this, and will respond to an opportunity to keep their knowledge fresh.
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Baschab, John & Piot, Jon. (2007). The Executive's Guide to Information Technology. Wiley. ISBN0470095210, 978-0470095218
Read, Brendan B. (2005). Designing the Best Call Center for your Business: A Complete Guide for Location, Services, Staffing, and Outsourcing. Focal Press. ISBN1578203139, 978-1578203130