How do partners measure success?
Incorporating performance management practices into the operation of a help desk can help data intermediaries and NNIP partners to improve their services as they move forward. Whether this means adapting to a changing local social or political landscape, or adapting internal operations based on feedback from user request tracking systems, performance management is important in helping partners reach a new level of proficiency. Many of our partners are instituting performance management ideals by tracking requests to their help desk. As we mentioned in the Tracking section of this guide, four partners use a formal survey to gauge satisfaction for all inquiries, and the others use informal methods to learn how helpful their services have been. NNIP partner organizations have scarce resources, and they all want their investments of time and money to result in the most effective help desk system possible. To accomplish this, the NNIP network recommends their partners review their current practices to assess their help desk services and consider what improvements might be warranted.
Performance Management Best Practices
How should an organization measure the success of its help desk service? By first examining their goals for the service, and then tracking their activity to assess if they have met their goals. While most NNIP partner organizations do track requests, it is important to also track outcomes so that organizations can understand the influence they have on their communities. Useful questions for partners to ask would be how helpful the encounter was to the person who asked for assistance, or what the information was used for, but currently only one-quarter of partners follow up at all with their help desk users.
Our forthcoming performance management guide, Monitoring Impact highlights a few key points that partners can use to direct their performance management system. Firstly, performance management systems should look at whether the help desk reaches its intended users. This would involve gathering information from users about their affiliated organization and intended purpose. Second, partners should gauge whether users are engaging with the data, using it correctly, and extracting as much as possible from its meaning. Third, partners can examine whether users adopt a new or changed mindset. This would involve follow-up on the end products that users specify and estimating the influence that partners have on such an outcome. And finally, partners should see if their users are taking action based on the data given. This means asking the question of whether the data provided through partners’ help desks inspire any activity in other organizations? Without tracking, none of these questions can be answered. But with the data from the tracking section of our guide, you can follow these guidelines and those outlined in our Performance Management Guide to elevate the efficiency of your help desk.