Harness The Power Series: People Management

Posted on Tuesday 31 March 2020.

Harnessing The Power of Assessment – People Management


Harness the Power is a blog series written by ITSM experts and authors. The series will focus on the 9 concepts of best practice within a top performing IT service operation and explain how the Service Desk Assessment in particular, as a powerful transformation enabler will guide you on the path to global service excellence.
This is Part 4

By John Noctor, ITSM Best Practice Consultant & Trainer

Whilst People Management is a concept area in its own right, it is fair to say that it is a theme throughout Certification and is a critical component of the SDC programme. For the interview session we recommend that there is a representative from your company’s Human Resources department as some of the criteria relies on HR policies, procedures and approach.


There is an old adage that “people” are your most valuable asset, this remains as true today as it has ever been. As an auditor I laud the innovative and extensive use of technology, however my experience has been that true success has only ever been achieved if you have a motivated and dedicated workforce who feel cared for, who are well led, and are being trained and developed in line with their personal career aspirations.
This means that (in line with the Best Practice Standard), in this concept area we are looking for an IT organization to articulate how they assess the performance of their staff, address any skills/capability gaps, plan and enact training (both formal and ongoing), understand your staff personal objectives and ensure their well-being.
It is important to note that we also want you to be able to explain how you manage and develop your staff in line with overall business objectives. There should be a clear line between strategic vision and objectives, tactical approach and operational management. The link between these is most often demonstrable through the approach to the management of your people.
One key point is to understand that this should be much more than a yearly review with a mid-way checkpoint. We are looking for you to show that your leadership team puts the well-being and development of your staff at the forefront of their thinking on a daily basis.

What type of criteria do we look for in the ‘People Management’ concept area?

As with all concepts areas we take a comprehensive approach to get a true understanding of your capabilities, in summary for people management we look for:
  • Having job descriptions in place for every position/role within your service desk.
  • Are you able to describe, and do you actively manage the skills and competencies required for all service desk roles?
  • A robust and documented recruitment and onboarding process.
  • How do you train supervisors/managers to ensure they have the necessary recruitment competencies?
  • How to you assess the skills and competencies of your staff and address/fill gaps.
  • Do you have an understanding of the career direction preferences for your staff and a plan to enable these?
  • Do you have a performance review program in place?
  • How do you identify, manage and retain talent?
  • How is remuneration for service desk roles managed?
  • Is there an informal Reward and Recognition program in place?
  • How do you address unplanned absence?
  • Describe how methods of communication, procedures and governance are established and applied

Some tips for success!

  • Make sure your HR representative is aware of the criteria being addressed and the aims and approach of the SDC programme and specifically the Assessment stage.
  • User skills matrices should address soft skills and be linked to required business outcomes.
  • 121s should be held at least monthly, address performance, review formal objectives, training and development. They should also allow for 3600 feedback.
  • The best informal reward and recognition programs are driven by your staff!
  • Job descriptions and role competencies can be a single document.
  • Onboarding should address organisational and service desk levels, have clear milestones that are tracked and signed off buy the member of staff and their supervisor/manager.
  • Training plans for every member of staff and evidence of completion.
  • Training doesn’t always mean formal courses!
  • Ensure that there is a link between operational activity and organizational values.
  • Culture is key!

Benefits and value of following the People Management best practice

Putting people at the core of your operational and strategic thinking will ensure that you meet your objectives (which should be linked to business ones) and will mean that your customers not only value the skills of your staff, but also recognise their enthusiasm and commitment to customer experience.
We often hear the phrase “put your customers first”, well this can only happen if YOU as leaders put your staff first as they can then focus on the experience of the customer, knowing that they work in an environment of care, development and well-being. Forward thinking service desks don’t see staff development as a negative risk (due to valued staff moving on), but as a positive opportunity to develop the team and spread the values and excellence of a service-based approach to the wider organization.
A positive and vibrant culture needs good leadership, but in essence, is a very organic thing that has to be developed and nurtured. The People Management concept understands this and looks to make sure you have the building blocks needed for staff to feel valued and invested in.
Looking back and thinking about the businesses I have assessed (and taken through full Certification), none have achieved success without a strong performance in this area. Your people are your key to unlocking your success.

What businesses say about going through an SDC Assessment

“Now the dust has settled a little a bit I just wanted to say another huge thank you for your work with us, your recommendations, etc. Also for your kind words about what we do at Runshaw, to have that validation from someone with your level of experience and knowledge is brilliant.”
“You are held in high regard with us and I’ve really enjoyed the process, frankly from start to finish and your approach and style. Humour as you can probably see is a big part of our daily lives at Runshaw and I think the business loves it, so your style went down well with us.”
Andrew Gant, Service Desk Team Leader, Runshaw College

This is the fourth part in the Harness the Power blog series, which will look at each of the nine concept areas in the Best Practice Standard. Each part will detail how improvement and focus in these nine concept areas will make you a better service provider, bringing value to you and your customer.
Go to Part 1: Assessment >>
Go to Part 2: Leadership >>
Go to Part 3: Policy & Strategy >>


If you’re interested in finding out whether you’re ready for an Assessment, fill in your details below and we’ll arrange a call to chat about your current situation and determine the best next step for your service.





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