I really could use some advice before the stress of it all takes its toll on me any further and apologies in advance because its a long read, but I needed to provide context.
September 8,2021 at 9:32PM UTC
I manage teams typically in customer service environments and have worked in different industries. I currently work for a tech company and was brought in as a customer service manager--not a technical support manager in December 2019 to manage two teams, one in Vancouver, the other in the States where I reside.
Both teams provided technical support, however the product and services they supported differed. A month after I started I was told that the two teams would be merging and that each team had to learn the respective duties of the other.
There are/were no training manuals. In fact, the company (although very big) had previously acquired many different companies and often, departments worked in silos according to what company they came from. There was no in-house repository of documents from each company about any processes. While there is a training department, it is used for the sales teams and resellers only, not any of the support teams and again, my team provides technical support for all of our customers and we work 24/7/365--except my team in Vancouver.
Merging the teams wasn't easy but we did it and by the end of 2020, the team in Vancouver was no more and I was down to 7 employees versus the 10 (3 in Vancouver), who were handling level 1 technical support of our many products and services.
As mentioned, my team works 24/7/365 and at one point, some of my employees worked 21 days straight with no time off because we lost those other 3 team members despite the fact that they didn't work nights, weekends, or holidays (not fair right). My team is paid OT, however, they should be entitled to normal time off, vacations, etc.
More products and services are launching which means our workload steadily increases and even before Covid and a shortage of a "chip" we used, we've been told that we can't afford any additional headcount.
I have 3 peers that manage level 2 technical support teams, one in the US with me, another in Vancouver, and another in France. ALL of our teams are overworked, but MY team is the only team that works 24/7/365, the others have an on-call person for nights and weekends for emergencies only.
My peers in the States and Vancouver have submitted presentations at the advice of management in an effort to show that headcount is needed and despite all of the data they presented (case/ticket volume, backlog, etc.) each time, no additional headcount was approved.
My background is not in resource or workforce management, however, my manager (the 3rd one since I started in 2019) is asking that I figure out a way to showcase our volume (cases/tickets, calls, emails, chat) versus our headcount to make a good argument on increasing our headcount. I reached out to a former peer whose background is in workforce management (scheduling, forecasting volume, staffing, occupancy, productivity etc.) and he suggested that I time each task over an extended period of time, divide it by an 8 hour shift, include the number of people and try to get a baseline for both weekdays and weekends.
When I mentioned this to my manager, he didn't want to add another task to my team in terms of them tracking each transaction because he acknowledges that they have enough on their plates already.
I honestly don't know where to start or what to do, to determine our volume, versus my current headcount. I honestly don't think it matters since both peers have attempted to do so to no avail.
One of my employees is moving to level 2, so I will be down a person. Another is going on maternity leave in a month, so I will be down another person. We added 1 new person a month ago who is replacing the person going to level 2, however, his performance to date isn't promising and I'm not optimistic.
My teams is fully aware (and I've told them numerous times how much I value and appreciate them) that if a team member is out, they'll "have to" pick up more hours and that honestly isn't fair to them. They're not obligated to work these many hours, yet they do.
We need more headcount. There is NO way a team of 7 can continue to work 24/7/365 and not get burnt out. I want to prevent unnecessary work stress that can filter into their home lives and I don't want morale in the toilet. I already feel that our team in undervalued as it is.
As I mentioned, I started there in December 2019 and by April 2020, I knew I wanted to quit. I still do. In fact, I am giving myself until the end of the year to fully launch my coaching business and then I am quitting.
Before I do, I want to ensure the team is taken care of. I fear that when I leave, things will only worsen and to mitigate that, I'd like to figure out a way to convey the need for more headcount, but again I don't know how or where to start. I resent being tasked with this and honestly feel this is an excuse and a way to hold the need for headcount at bay.
I told my manager this isn't my area of expertise and he replied it wasn't his either (uh you think), but this task has been added to my performance plan for the 2nd half of this year (I wish you could see my face). He knows we need more headcount, but says we have to present data as proof. I call bullsh*t since my peers have done this umpteenth times and have been unsuccessful each time. My peers and I know we all need headcount but especially my team since we work 24/7/365.
I need help to paint this data picture to add headcount and don't know where to start, hence this post. I can tell my manager senses my frustration and I've been transparent with regards to our needs. I think back to when I first started and the comments made then, now make sense (you don't know what you signed up for, they set you up to fail, this place is a mess, sales is the fair-hair children).
I appreciate having employment that affords me the ability to supplement and sustain my livelihood and I also hate my job. These two feelings currently co-exist.
Counting down the days until I quit!
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