Transforming Support Services Career Planning for the Hybrid Work Era

Transforming Support Services Career Planning for the Hybrid Work Era

During the pandemic, businesses worldwide seamlessly transitioned to remote work, showing remarkable resilience. According to a TSIA quick poll conducted in May 2020, a staggering 95% of organizations experienced minimal disruption to their operations. The future of work had arrived, and it was digital.

Yet, as the tech industry witnessed a hiring boom, companies started grappling with unexpected challenges in employee retention, engagement, and overall productivity. The culprit? The absence of in-office interactions, a cornerstone of traditional work culture.

In the previous blogs in this hybrid and remote support services series, we delved into the nuances of remote onboarding and ongoing training, shedding light on their critical role in maintaining organizational momentum and employee satisfaction. However, employee development warrants equal attention.

In this post, the third and final in this series, we explore employee development for support services organizations in the hybrid and remote work landscapes.

Redefining Career Pathways in Support Services

Support roles are often viewed as stepping stones rather than long-term careers. 

Consider this: According to TSIA Benchmark data, support organizations experience an average annual attrition rate of 15.5%. This turnover disrupts operational efficiency and customer service quality.

While nearly 80% of these companies claim to offer formal career paths for support employees, the reality often needs improvement. In today’s support services landscape, traditional career planning tools like mentorship programs and job exchanges require a fresh perspective to align with employee expectations and aspirations.

Challenge Geographic Job Requirements

Embrace flexibility and question outdated notions regarding job location requirements. Do managers need to be in the office five days a week? Can product experts work fully remotely? Must readiness team members be collocated with a product team? It may be easier to accomplish a certain task in a certain location, but what is actually required for success? The pandemic demonstrated that remote workers can be very effective. By reevaluating where support tasks need to be performed, you can optimize productivity and foster more opportunities.

Think Wide

Break free from the constraints of traditional tier-based career progression models. Offer employees pathways to explore both within and outside support roles. Providing opportunities for skill diversification and lateral movement enhances employee satisfaction and retention and strengthens organizational resilience.

Define Clear Promotion and Transfer Criteria

Establish transparent criteria and expectations for promotions and transfers. A perennial grievance of team members is that they are not promoted as quickly as they think they deserve. While this issue is not unique to hybrid work, it’s made worse in hybrid and remote environments where it’s hard to directly witness other team members’ career paths or discuss them. Regular discussions between managers and team members are crucial for aligning aspirations with organizational guidelines.

Hold Regular Career Discussions

Foster a culture of continuous dialogue by offering regular career discussions between managers and team members. Regardless of their level of ambition, geographic location, or remote work status, every employee deserves a yearly or twice-yearly career discussion. 

Provide Development Opportunities

Empower managers to identify and facilitate development opportunities for their teams. Specialized training, mentorship programs, and cross-functional projects are essential for skill enhancement and career progression. Effective support services career planning in hybrid and remote work environments demands a collaborative effort between managers and team members that goes beyond climbing traditional job ladders with restrictive geographical requirements. Embrace flexible paths and innovative development opportunities to foster long and productive tenures.

How is your organization approaching career planning in the age of hybrid work? 


In the wake of the pandemic, businesses swiftly transitioned to remote work, but challenges emerged with remote employee development in support services organizations. Key strategies include embracing geographical flexibility in job requirements, expanding career paths beyond support, defining clear promotion criteria, prioritizing regular career discussions, and providing development opportunities. Active collaboration between managers and team members nurtures talent and drives success.

What’s Next? Join Us on Our Predictive and Proactive AI Support Research Journey! 

Gone are the days when users waited for products to show defects before seeking solutions. The reactive-to-proactive engagement shift redefines customer support and the entire user experience. That is why we have chosen to explore this topic in our latest TSIA Research Journey.

If you’ve ever wondered about the future trajectory of support and field services and the role of AI, this journey is for you. Join us, and you won’t just gain a fresh perspective; you’ll be equipped with strategic tools and a unique edge in understanding this transformative phase. Subscribe to the Predictive and Proactive AI Support Research Journey today and get industry insights delivered straight to your inbox.

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