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What Works in Professional Development: 21st Century Skills for Service and Support

Tue 19 Jun 2018 Company Author: HDI Support World Magazine Author: Kate Bloom

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workforce enablement , workforce enablement , support center , supportworld , training

 

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A Roller Coaster of Change and Innovation

Change is the only constant in life.

This statement was true when documented by pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus around 504 B.C., and it still rings true today. Living in the 21st Century is a roller coaster ride of change and innovation. You steadily climb to the top learning and mastering the latest and greatest device, app, software, process, etc., and suddenly a new and improved version comes to market, which rapidly drops you back down. You must steadily climb back up and master the new and improved product or service, just in time for the next latest and greatest change or innovation to hit the market and send you soaring back down. Change is constant. Innovation is constant. The technical skills you possess today will quickly become outdated.

Consequently, companies are evolving the way they are hiring. Technical skills are no longer the forerunner on making a hiring decision. Today, companies are putting a larger focus on hiring employees with 21st Century skills, developing these skills in employees, and creating a culture that embraces change and innovation. The table below, from HDI’s 2017 Technical Support Practices & Salary Report, shows the top 10 most sought-after skills for hiring and promotion in this era of change and innovation.

training, learning, skills

Peter McGarahan, a senior IT director, comments on the need for an updated set of skills: “We are expecting service and support professionals to be more well-rounded in their skill sets that goes beyond the expected customer service, communication, technical, and work ethics. We expect them to have the ability to problem-solve, be creative, work with other technical teams, be involved in projects, and select areas of interest in pursuing a subject matter expert (SME) status.”

Many of these 21st Century skills are characteristics of employees with an innovative mindset. According to SysAid Technologies, when envisioning the future of the ITSM professional role, innovation is one of the top 10 skills and capabilities that will be required.

Successful companies thrive on innovation. They embrace the roller coaster of change. When they slide down, they focus on climbing right back up.

What if you don’t have the budget to stay technologically innovative? Innovation is more than the technology side of things, as Doug Tedder, Principal Consultant with Tedder Consulting points out in the ebook Skills & Capabilities Required of a 2020 ITSM Professional. “Innovation is about taking existing capabilities and doing new things with those capabilities in interesting, thought-provoking ways….” The key to an innovative mindset is not just having ideas but turning those ideas into tangible products or services that create value. 

A service and support department full of complicated processes and short-term results is not in a position to be innovative. No matter how many of the latest and greatest technological products or services they implement, they won’t be able to climb the ride; they will remain in the downward slopes. As Lisa Bodell, author of Kill the Company, points out, “To create a company of tomorrow, you must break down bad habits, silos, and inhibitors that exist today. It’s probably the most innovative thing a leader can do.”

Attending training and webinars, participating in community support channels, reading blogs, and following social media of thought leaders is a great way to elevate your 21st Century skill set and to stay informed about new technological innovations and innovative thinking in service and support.

Change is constant. Innovation is constant. Be the leader in the front row of the roller coaster of change and innovation with your hands in the air, enjoying the ride.

To discover training options for technical service and support professionals, review HDAA’s course catalogue.

Kate Bloom in an instructional designer for HDI where she specializes in curriculum design and development for instructor led and virtual classrooms and works closely with subject matter experts and thought leaders in the IT industry. She also has a passion for developing e-learning courses and staying current with emerging technology and trends. Kate excels in taking complex topics and taming them into creative, interactive courses suited to fit the target audience. She also holds HDI Customer Service Representative and Support Center Analyst Certifications. Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.

 

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