Poll: What’s the Most Important Support Staff Quality?
People Skills Are the #1 Support Staff Quality
Last month, we discussed important questions for candidates and employers to prepare before an interview for an office support staff professional. This is part of our ongoing Interviewing Prep series to help you get the most out of your next interview (whether in front of the desk or behind it). So we were curious to hear what you thought was the most important support staff quality. We had a solid turnout of 15,488 votes this month!
Our winning support staff quality was People Skills, taking 27% of the vote last month. Support staff often interface with multiple departments, clients and vendors so their interpersonal skills are paramount for smooth operations. Tied in with our winner is Strong Communication, which took second place with 19% of votes. Time-Management (17%) and Flexibility (15%) were closely tied. These are both very important qualities for roles that often require juggling and prioritizing multiple, competing tasks. Similarly, Ability to Learn (13%) is key for any position involved in updating or reorganizing systems, implementing new programs or integrating new requirments and policies. Our commenters’ favorite quality of Integrity took 6% while the broad quality of Organization took the remaining 3%.
Here are the full results:
- People skills (27%, 4,246 Votes)
- Strong communication (19%, 3,001 Votes)
- Time-management (17%, 2,574 Votes)
- Flexibility (15%, 2,330 Votes)
- Ability to learn (13%, 1,999 Votes)
- Integrity (6%, 1,000 Votes)
- Organization (2%, 338 Votes)
Total Voters: 15,488 (February 1, 2022 @ 5:51 pm - March 3, 2022 @ 5:25 pm)
Some comments from y'all:
- “Small companies need to have staff who can fill multiple roles and be willing to take on tasks that are ‘not my job.'”
- “This was a tough question because all these skills work together. I ended up saying ability to learn because things are always changing, whether it is internal procedures, software changes, or a new product to support from a new vendor. Second is organization. As tech support for an OEM, I have lost track of the times I have offered helpful documentation to the support staff at our dealers so they have the answers at hand and won’t need to call me. But they usually tuck it away and forget about it. Much of the support job is having information and knowing where it is when you need it.”
- “The most important quality is integrity. Why? Because if you don’t see fit to pay competitive salaries (accounting for performance and inflation), the only thing that keeps those employees from striking out on their own (and taking your customers with them), is their integrity. If you don’t pay fair wages, you better hope you hired honest people. [Side note: You know what isn’t honest? Showing up to the office in a $140k car when you’re paying your staff the same wages you paid them back when you could buy a comparable car for $80k. We know you understand inflation because you don’t have trouble spending money on yourself – so why do you conveniently forget about it when it comes to our raises? That’s dishonesty.]”
- “Well, since I have virtually every one of your listed options but was still permanently laid off (most likely due to my higher pay since I had 24 years of experience and they chose to keep two low-paid ‘drones’ instead of me)… I’d say a lot of companies have a checkbox you didn’t include: Cheap labor/low pay.”
- “I chose time management because it seems like people are getting lazier and lazier. I work in what you would call a remote office with no management around. Some people seem to need a babysitter to make sure they do more than the bare minimum. That goes for everyone from my fellow coworkers through the office staff – we are pretty much 60/40. It’s only a few that bring down the whole rhythm of adulthood and responsibility. Thankfully I’m only in the office to submit paperwork and restock my inventory.”
- “These are ALL important skills and are really interwoven, or should be, into any staff position. But without integrity, do the other ‘learned’ qualities really matter?”
- “Without integrity, I don’t want to work with you, regardless of benefits.”