Call Centre Recruitment and Employee Engagement 2023 Symposium

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Call Centre Recruitment and Employee Engagement 2023 Symposium

The launch event for ACXPA Victoria was recently held at the Red Energy Contact Centre, combining a tour of their amazing contact centre as well as the opportunity to hear from our local panel of experts who shared their insights to Call Centre Recruitment and Employee Engagement in 2023.

The panel consisted of:

  • Sarah Young  – Manager – Customer Contact Solutions, Red Energy (A multiple award-winning ~300-seat contact centre based in Cremorne (next to Richmond!)
  • James Witcombe, Director of Smaart Recruitment (and Author of Australia’s leading Contact Centre industry benchmarking survey and mentoring program)
  • Sharon Hoffman – Talent Acquisition Lead, Probe Group (Probe is the largest Outsourcer/BPO in Australia with hundreds of employees right here in Victoria)
  • Fazra Caleel, City of Casey – Organisation Design & Capability Consultant (One of the largest councils in Victoria, winner of numerous customer service awards)

James Witcombe presented a range of fascinating insights and led the panel discussion that covered a range of topics, including:

  • How to attract talent in the current market.
  • How to ensure hiring managers are ‘selling’ the role to the candidate.
  • What initiatives worked (and didn’t work) in trying to attract talent.
  • How technology is being used to help with employee engagement.
  • The unemployment rate trends.
  • Challenges with working from home.
  • The massive demand for ‘work from home’ jobs as compared to in the office or a split between the two locations.

We also provided the opportunity for audience members to ask questions of the panel. We didn’t get time to address all the questions so we’ve provided them below, along with the answers so we can all benefit.

What is the percentage of people dropping off during induction and what strategies are put in place to ensure that the recruitment is successful?

The 2022 SMAART Best Practice report revealed that 17% of people leave during the first three months, although depending on the size of the contact centre, this will vary with larger contact centres reporting higher levels of attrition, up to 30% in some cases.

Firstly, successful recruiting is not about filling a seat in training.

Think about the first 90-120 days as your onboarding period, where your new recruit learns about the culture and ways of working within your team, your goal should be to have a competent and confident employee who feels connected to your organisation.

How can you make your contact centre recruitment more successful?

Contact Centre Recruitment is certainly tough at the moment so to help you improve your success, we’ve got some tips below split into three key pillars.

1. Recruitment

  • Give your recruitment team plenty of notice to go to market, the shorter the time to recruit, the more pressure they will have to fill the roles and exceptions will be made on quality.
  • Make your job ad stand out from the crowd, and use language that reflects your brand, you want to attract people at this stage who have a strong alignment with your brand.
  • Involve people your front-line team members in the assessment process, they know better than anyone what you are looking for and they can help by setting the right expectations about the role and organisation with your potential candidates.
  • Set expectations clearly and accurately about the role, when new recruits have gaps in expectations it is a big driver of dissatisfaction and can lead to attrition

2. Training

  • Support people to come up the learning curve at their own pace, a safe environment for learning removes the pressure to perform.
  • Provide step targets over their first 90-120 days so people can build their competence over this time with realistic targets.
  • Give them a buddy to show them the ropes and help them learn about the culture.
  • Give them time to practice hands-on while they are learning in the classroom, practicing is a way to ‘layer learning’ and consolidate what is taught in the classroom.
  • Use tools such as Knowledge Management Systems to fast-track learning.

3. Leadership

  • Get new employees to meet their Team Leader as early as possible to start building a trusting relationship.
  • Set up weekly check-in to see how they are progressing and stay on top of any gaps in expectations.
  • Set up regular cross-functional feedback sessions between recruitment, training and operations so you are always learning and improving how you improve induction and onboarding.
  • Measure and review exit data and conduct interviews to understand why people leave and use this information to improve your processes.

Watch the video highlights!!!

How do you keep your current employees engaged when they are looking around?

It’s essential to recognise that the things that will engage and retain your current staff are the same things that will make them stay and not think of looking around.

So create an engaging environment by asking your teams what they need to be happy at work. And once you’ve asked, take action.

There will be different drivers of attrition in every team, however, outside of financial drivers, the majority of reasons for deciding to leave come from people not feeling seen, heard and valued.

Tips to create an engaged workplace:

  • Regularly ask your teams to understand what their pain points are.
  • Set up a rhythm to review their pain points and involve them in the solutions.
  • Build a strong internal network of stakeholders that can help you assess and fix the pain points such as HR, IT, and Marketing.
  • Conduct Skip Level interviews with teams, a Skip Level is a meeting between a team and their one-over leader to talk about what is working well and what’s not, and provide the team with a mechanism to provide feedback on their leader to support their development.
  • Communicate regularly about the progress of the solutions to keep everyone informed, there is no such thing as over-communicating around engagement.

Top reasons employees are leaving their contact centre jobs and how to address them:

  1. Career change – provide clear pathways into other roles within the organisation, make sure staff know what is required to get access to those roles, and if there are prerequisites, support them with coaching to build the capabilities they need as well as help to apply and interview.
  2. Lack of flexibility – offer WFH, offer the ability to shift swap and have some control to structure work around people’s personal lives.
  3. Leadership – poor relationships with leaders, invest in building strong personal relationships and invest in building leadership capability either through formal training, mentoring and coaching.
  4. Salary or Financial reasons – make sure you are paying enough to take money off the table, this will obviously be impacted by each organisation’s salary policy and what they are willing to pay. If you pay below the market rates and you can’t change this, look for ways to increase the variety and complexity of the work, people are motivated by more meaningful work and this can be a good counterbalance if you can’t change salaries.

What’s the best way to apply for the job of your dreams and how can we ensure a guaranteed call for an interview? 

If you’ve found the job of your dreams, here are four steps to increase your chances of success.

  • Use your Network

    Do you know anyone at the organisation? If you do, speak to them about it. Find out what they look for in candidates and what you can do to stand out.

  • Tailor your resume

    Every job is different and so should every resume you send out be. Make sure that your resume is achievement based, and matches the specific criteria listed in the advertisement. 

  • Tailor your cover letter

    A well written cover letter is a great way to stand out. It’s an opportunity to show off your writing skills, as well as highlight when you are a great candidate. Make sure you mention why you are so interested in the job.

  • Finally, be proactive – pick up the phone and introduce yourself. 

    Don’t sit back and wait for them to come to you. If you can find the right contact information, be brave and make a call. You’ll need to do some preparation first – a great way to go about it is to write down three questions that you want to ask.

    This will help to ensure you don’t freeze in the moment, and the questions can be planned to show your level of interest and also your skills.

In summary

There is no doubt that recruitment is going to continue to be a challenge throughout 2023 however, with inflation and the cost of living increases combined with challenging economic times for businesses, we may start to see a shift in attrition rates as employees start to place job security as a higher priority.

As for keeping employees engaged, it’s something that should always be front of mind in the contact centre so we’ll continue to bring you thought leadership, tips and insights to help you create a great contact centre for all stakeholders.

Finally, make sure you keep an eye out on our Events Calendar to make sure you don’t miss our next event and if you’re not an ACXPA member, view our membership options for individuals, businesses and vendors >

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