The Help Desk Whisperer: Maintaining and Retaining Your Help Desk Team 

This is the first in a series of articles that will be focused on the importance of creating and maintaining a strong Help Desk to support your stores. In this first installment, we will be focusing on how to reduce and protect against the typically high attrition that most help desks see. The national average for attrition in the technical service and IT industry is 40% annually (  This is why it’s so important to have a solid foundation and well documented, repeatable processes in place to do all you can to retain the talent you already have.  

Given that your Help Desk is often seen as “the face” of the company to your store associates, it is critical that they operate at the highest level and provide the best service they can. Creating and nurturing a culture in your Help Desk organization that promotes accountability and gives the opportunity to fully engage in continuous improvement should be the guiding principle towards achieving that goal.  Below are several steps that you can take to maximize the effectiveness of your help desk and minimize any retention issues you may currently be facing. 

1. Employee Surveys 

A happy employee is one that is actively engaged and feels like they have a voice within the organization and are building experience in their career instead of just working a job.  Therefore, it is important to build a good feedback loop between the analysts and management to stay on top of the constant changes and improvements needed to make the Help Desk more efficient. 

One important tool that is not always given the emphasis it deserves is Employee Surveys. In addition to gathering feedback on each employee’s overall satisfaction with their job, these surveys should also include the ability for them to provide detailed feedback on specific cases they worked as well as the processes and procedures within the helpdesk – both positive and negative.  In order to avoid employees treating these as just a formality, it’s imperative to have thought-provoking questions within the survey and encourage your workforce to bring any suggested improvements to the table for consideration. Your help desk often sees issues internally and from your stores before they ever bubble up to visibility with corporate leadership.  A good help desk identifies leaders at each level and gives them the autonomy and avenue for communicating suggestions for necessary tweaks to ensure the help desk remains agile in supporting your stores to the best of everyone’s ability. Through semi-annual employee surveys, management will gain valuable insight into the areas and issues that need to be addressed most urgently. 

2. One-on-One Meetings with Support Leadership 

It is equally important to have regular one-on-one meetings between Help Desk Analysts and Support Management (we recommend monthly, but at minimum quarterly).  Each employee should be encouraged to feel comfortable talking with their managers about the things they are seeing both internally and with the stores and personnel they are supporting.  While some team members might feel more comfortable doing this anonymously using the Employee Surveys, others will prefer discussing things personally in a one-on-one meeting with their manager, so having multiple avenues for communication is helpful. This also allows for more timely communication of issues to be presented and solved.  

3. A Clear Career Path for Advancement 

In order to keep employees engaged, they need to have a clear view of the career advancement opportunities available to them. Regardless of the size of your operation, time should be taken during the initial onboarding process with each individual to explain the career path(s) available to them. By clearly outlining the expectations for each level of the help desk from Level 1 all the way up to Help Desk Manager, your team members will understand what is required in order to advance to each level.  For your employees who do have aspirations for advancement, clearly understanding how they can accomplish that is important. This helps ensure you don’t lose them simply because they think they have to move on to another company in order to advance.   

Taking the Next Step 

The importance of building and retaining a help desk staffed with empowered, fulfilled, high performing employees cannot be understated.  The effort to put in place the processes outlined above is not insignificant, but the payoff for doing so is tremendous. And while retaining good employees can be a challenge, it is far more costly and time consuming to hire and train new employees. 

That said, attrition is inevitable, so focusing on processes and structure that will help your organization withstand that attrition is also an important area to focus on when building a strong help desk organization.  In the next quarterly newsletter, we will dive deeper into that topic including a discussion on the importance of a robust knowledge base and new hire training programs, and we will highlight the latest technologies that can be implemented to aid in more rapidly onboarding new hires. 

As always, we offer a free one-hour evaluation where we can discuss your goals and the steps we can take to find and implement the right fit for your business. 


Josh Carr