I would hope it is obvious that your leadership team spends a good bit of our time and energy on strategic needs and the day-to-day operations – with the intent of ensuring our services are humming at top speed! Equally important as strategy and operations is ensuring that we have the right skills and staffing to execute our mission. I wanted to take this week’s update to share an example of just one of our staff development efforts, introduce you to a member of our staff, and share a bit of her student worker journey in ITS.
When student employees join the Customer Support Services (CSS) UT Service Desk, they are most likely looking for work that might fit their class schedule and maybe a bit of extra cash – not likely a career opportunity in IT. Then they arrive and find that the environment, the challenges, and the IT foundational skills they gain meet their developmental needs to grow into a career. Over the last five years, Kayle Daley, IT manager for the Tier 1 Service Desk team, has seen at least 14 students join and transition to the full-time ranks. Many began at the UT Service Desk and progressed upwards to the Tier 3, or advanced service teams, and beyond.
CSS provides training covering a diverse array of ITS services and an emphasis on customer service and communication. Student employees do more than help with customer issues. They participate in the development of technology services by identifying service and process improvements. Current improvement efforts that touch all of ITS and campus include internal knowledge usability and public knowledge enhancements.
Joining ITS full-time, these former student employees have shown the ability and interest in building their skillsets, diving deeper into their understanding of technology, and organization. They are major contributors to the family dynamic of the UT Service Desk and work to create a positive space to build customer experiences. As they have grown and readied themselves for new experiences, they continue to advocate for the customer’s needs and perspective and build the technological knowledge of the organization.
When we consider the overall investment in each student employee we work with, we must consider that we are grooming our possible future co-workers. A wonderful example is Morgan Burgess, who transitioned from a student to full-time employee, and has held the roles of Service Desk Representative, Specialist, Functional Team Lead, Technical Team Lead, and Information Technology Coordinator.
“The mentorship of women in leadership like Kayle Daley and Susan Roy has directly impacted my vision for achieving success here. In each role I learned the value in seeking guidance, setting expectations, being flexible, and a willingness to pull extra weight when necessary, which it almost always is” says Morgan Burgess about the impact of her mentorship. “In my current position as a Software Engineer and Office 365 support specialist, I’m thankful to have a leadership team in Trice Humpert, David Moss, and others willing to challenge and utilize my skillset to provide a strategic impact on campus.”
Morgan’s advice on developing student employees:
- Think about the way you interact with your student employees and colleagues; those moments shape how they think of you, your group, and how or if they choose to interact with you in the future.
- Invest time in meeting them at least once and offer yourself as a resource for training or additional information if it fits your role.
- Morgan says she received support for well-planned ideas and frank but gentle guidance for those that missed the mark. “These add up to countless investments of valuable time, attention, and organizational resources to ensure I was set up for success.”
- “The most meaningful interactions I’ve had with mentors here were focused on understanding how to leverage individual approaches or philosophies for the overall good of the organization. They sought to understand before seeking to be heard, which went a long way towards making me receptive to feedback early on,” says Morgan.
Thank you, Morgan, for some great advice and for your accomplishments and support of the ITS team.
Over the history of our organization, we have worked with hundreds of students. Students work in every department of ITS. Many use their time here as students and as staff to launch into the next phase of their career. And… once in a while we get the chance to retain some of the most talented for our organization. Seems like a pretty good deal!