Knowledge and Skills

“You gotta build a team that is so talented, they almost make you uncomfortable.”        Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb

For a short stint of my career, I worked on the Help Desk of a software consulting firm. The good news is that it was a great learning experience. The bad news is that initially almost every time I answered the phone, I had to get someone to help me with the Caller’s question.

If you have been on the receiving end when calling a Help Desk, it can be quite frustrating when you need to wait while the Customer Rep obtains your answer. Unfortunately, our impressions of a Company become less than stellar when Staff are unequipped to answer basic questions as part of their job duties.

As we continue our discussions this year on signs of operational effectiveness, one sign that must be on that list is providing adequate knowledge and skills to Staff in order for them to perform their jobs. Why is this important?

  • It improves the Customer Experience when issues are resolved quickly and effectively.
  • Staff become more empowered to perform their job with excellence.
  • It strengthens skills and expertise throughout the organization when Staff gains knowledge.  
  • It reduces the time it takes to address and/or resolve tasks.

How can you create an Organization where Staff have the knowledge and skills to perform their job duties?

  • Define the skills and knowledge needed to perform each job.
  • Ensure existing Staff understand what is expected of them.
  • Equip Staff with ongoing training to strengthen expertise.
  • Identify and resolve skill gaps.
  • Document tasks that only one or two Staff perform to mitigate the risk if someone leaves.
  • Create an environment that encourages Staff to step forward to learn and grow in their job duties.
  • Utilize external resources, as needed, if required skills and knowledge are unavailable internally.

As Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth said so well: “It’s wise to think of employees as a talent pool and treat them accordingly. They have talents and skills that can help the company to be successful. Some of those talents and skills may even go beyond the scope of their job description but maybe can still be utilized.”

Empowered, knowledgeable, and highly skilled Staff position any Organization for operational effectiveness.

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