Working at an IT help desk is by far one of the most common tech roles in the world, in what’s probably the most stable industry. The job leads to very rewarding careers for many, but can also lead to burnout. Here at Support Adventure, we’ve been staffing IT support positions since 2016 and have worked with many clients to help them optimize their helpdesk to improve their clients, but most importantly their employees’ satisfaction. As we progressed through the industry we have seen and collected many examples of how not to treat people working on your IT helpdes. Let’s take a look at why the help desk has a negative reputation and so many people hate working on it.
The top reasons why people hate working a help desk job are:
- Monotonous tasks
- Being expected to work like a machine
- Not getting mentored or moving up an the organization
- Unclear expectations, roles and structure
- Management only caring about money
- Unreasonable or difficult clients
- Too much isolation
- Other tech jobs are easier
- A stressful, fast-paced work environment
There are many reasons why people hate this job and eventually quit. So how can you prevent that from happening?
You need to recognize the problems listed above from the start and work on solving them. Some things can be more easily fixed than you might think, and this article will help you understand these problems so that you can steer clear of them as a business owner.
Help desk jobs at MSPs
While running a staffing company for MSPs for over 5 years now, we at Support Adventure have learned all the ins and outs of the help desk and why some become disenchanted with it. Ultimately, business owners must provide a great place to work for help desk technicians by watching out for the following issues. If you’re looking for a reliable MSP staffing partner, please check out our MSP staffing page for more information about what we do. If you’re looking for an IT support job, check out our remote IT jobs page to see our always open remote IT support technician and Service Coordinator positions.
Monotonous tasks and stress
One of the biggest reasons why technicians hate the help desk is due to the amount of redundant tasks they are faced with. The position simply becomes too uninteresting and stressful. This is one of the main reasons why people burn out on the help desk so often. Like ground hog’s day, they are resolving the same types of tickets over and over and the days start to blend together.
Performing the same tasks doesn’t help techs grow in their career, and so they quit the MSP help desk. To be a well-rounded technician, one needs some variation throughout the day.
Nonetheless, it is possible to create a diverse set of tasks. They can:
- solve tickets
- work on some interesting projects
- update documentation
- help out at various other aspects of the business
- mentor others
For MSP owners, you’ll want your employees to find a balance in growing their knowledge and competency with tasks they perform. Technicians should get the opportunity to learn new things and contribute to the team in different ways so that you can see which team members are your key players and in which areas of your business. After determining these elements, you can designate tasks to people where they are best suited. In the end, you should want technicians to be fulfilled and get some satisfaction out of working for your MSP.
Techs are expected to work like machines
Technicians often express that they feel treated like an actual computer on the job, meaning they must:
- Perform according to strict metrics
- Fulfill exact quotas, such as closing 15 tickets a day
- Maintain perfect client approval ratings
- Log in every minute of their day with no breaks
Those are just the most commonly reported stressors they endure. Techs have also reported feeling like a bad performer for not logging every minute of their day or taking a moment to breathe. This makes them feel suffocated throughout the work day due to excessive micromanagement and feeling like their boss is breathing down their neck every moment of the day.
The pressure and expectations become too much to bear. Some people can handle this management approach but most professionals will quit for a better company that doesn’t treat them that way.
Lack of mentoring or moving up in the organization
Another reason why one might hate the help desk job is due to lack of mentorship or promotion in the organization. No one wants to feel like they are working hard, but their efforts are going unappreciated. That, or they don’t receive any help from the more experienced, senior colleagues.
If an entry level help desk technician doesn’t see an opportunity to move forward, they’ll most likely quit eventually. Management of IT companies and MSPs must provide mentors to all employees starting their careers. That way, they will feel supported and motivated. Without these elements, you won’t be able to hold your employees for long.
Expectations, roles and structure aren’t clear
One might hate their help desk job because expectations, roles and structures aren’t clearly defined in the company. For example, many MSPs don’t differentiate well enough the tasks of a dispatcher and those of a service desk manager. The responsibilities of both become blurred, making those in these positions confused about when their expectations start and end.
All procedures, role checklists, escalation policies and other standardized tasks should be clearly defined in an organization. If an MSP is well-functioning and organized, all of these elements should be written down, and technicians won’t struggle to follow them.
Vague guidelines will only make the job of a help desk technician more difficult because environments with no structure lead to burn out for even the best of the best. Having a structure allows techs to hold other people accountable and focus on their own clear responsibilities.
Management only cares about money
When management only cares about charging more and more money, they are out of touch with people, and no one likes to work for a company that lacks empathy.
The management might not care about the employees if they’re too focused on signing every client, whether it’s a good or bad one. They might not even care if they have a scarcity in techs to service the new clients. Moreover, such leaders would expect you to work like a ticket-crushing machine, and not as a human being.
When management cares about the employees first however, then the organization will be most successful and technicians won’t hate their help desk job.
A company has bad clients
Many help desk technicians hate their jobs and quit because they have put up with unreasonable and spoiled clients. Bad clients are people who complain about everything and call all the time for no reason. They are also a bad ROI because the money they pay doesn’t compensate for how much energy and time it takes to put out all the fires they create.
Too much isolation
Isolation is also a common reason why help desk technicians might hate their job. Working for an MSP can be lonely at times, especially if a tech is on the projects team.
Because some MSPs are too rigid in the way that they structure their help desk, some people become too busy and get stuck on the hamster wheel of working alone. Techs might consider quitting their help desk job to work in a company that’s more team-oriented.
Other tech jobs are easier
One also might quit their help desk job to transfer to an easier position. We all know how challenging a service desk can be, whereas some other tech jobs can be easier and even better paid.
However, the MSP environment offers a great opportunity for growth for technicians to be agile in solving all sorts of different problems and issues in a customer-focused way. One will as well get the gratification of helping people. So working in the MSP as a technician is a worthwhile experience.