Published on: October 25, 2019
Tsymmetry strives to provide meaningful professional development opportunities to all their staff, by crafting individualized career paths and applying their unique strengths to the clients’ evolving missions. The Global Service Desk supporting the INL/A Program (Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, Aviation Wing) in Melbourne, FL, is one team where employees take a leading role in guiding their own professional growth.
The Global Service Desk provides IT support not only to customers onsite, but also to INL’s support offices around the world, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Kenya. Its Manager has spent over ten years developing and evolving his staff development model to best allow his employees to excel.
“When a new employee starts, I’ll always tell them ‘This is just the start of your journey’,” he says. “I try to instill early on that we’re looking to grow them into professionals who can be contributors to other teams too, depending on their passions and strengths.”
The Service Desk Manager starts by training his new staff in basic service desk and customer service skills and takes this time to evaluate their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of interest. He then will maintain a constant line of communication with the employee and pair them up with more senior staff they can learn from, both at the Service Desk and on other teams. Since the Service Desk manages follow-up with customers on behalf of the engineering teams, he encourages his employees to not only be familiar with the other teams’ work but also to participate and contribute directly, allowing them numerous opportunities to discover where their interests lie. In addition to technical training, staff are encouraged to learn how to lead themselves and others on their team.
“We all work to create a knowledge-sharing culture on the program and keep a non-judgmental, safe environment to learn. Each of the teams have trust in each other and a willingness to cross-train whoever has interest.”
Once a Service Desk employee is ready to move onto their next role, they have opportunities to apply their skills in countless ways. The Service Desk Manager says that his staff have been promoted into a “full spectrum” of positions and teams, including Network Engineering, Cyber Security, and Enterprise Applications, to name a few.
When asked what lessons he’s learned from managing his team, he explains, “Training programs can’t be applied in one blanket style – everyone is different. You have to let them guide their own path, give them the support and tools they need, and never settle on your initial expectations because they’re always capable of more.”