by Meridith Levinson

Restructuring Without Pink Slips

Aug 15, 20032 mins
IT Leadership

Restructuring doesn’t always have to imply heads rolling. Last summer, temporary staffing company Manpower restructured its 40-person help desk organization—without handing out pink slips—to enable employees to do their jobs more effectively.

Before the reorganization, the help desk manager, not the staff, was solely responsible for service levels. There wasn’t a good process for routing calls to the appropriate person on the help desk, and the number of people monitoring the help desk never fluctuated, regardless of whether certain times of the day were busier and required more people.

With service levels stagnating, the help desk manager asked his staff for ideas on improving them. The employees incorporated their thoughts into a restructuring plan. Manpower’s approach resonates with most CIO 100 honorees; in a survey, 90 percent said most of the ideas for managing and using IT resourcefully come from IT staff.

Help desk staffers are now held accountable for service levels. Their performance is measured and evaluated based on typical help desk metrics such as the number of calls they’re able to resolve and how long it takes them to solve problems. If a call comes in to a help desk staffer who doesn’t have the expertise the caller needs, the staffer is free to pass on the call to someone else and pick up a different call. By rearranging schedules, the help desk is now staffed with the requisite number of people during peak and slow times.

Service levels have since improved with an increase in the number of immediate call resolutions, and productivity has increased by 22 percent. CIO of North American operations Peter Stockhausen says the restructuring also improved morale among help desk workers and made for a more collegiate environment. All that, and he didn’t spend a dime.