Published: July 05, 2021 | Comments
As more companies continue to struggle to meet current staffing requirements—or even retain the top talent they already have—a company’s recruiting brand can truly be the differentiator for success.
Companies are increasing their sourcing and recruiting dollars as they compete to find great contact center agents in this highly competitive and turbulent time, and to retain them. It seems that every contact center is competing for the same agents, especially in today’s work-at-home and hybrid models.
A great contact center agent isn’t just someone who can get 100% CSATs. The best agents love to serve customers, and realize that the service they provide is important; they have the KPIs that build a great company brand. Great agents show up to work with a can-do attitude, offer to help other employees, and professionally lead by example.
So how does a company compete for those hard-to-find agents? I believe the answer is to give agents what they really want. Capitalize on that as part of your recruiting brand to attract and retain great agents.
What Agents Want
First, let’s identify what agents really want.
Historically, contact center agents looked at the amount of money per hour they could make, what their schedule was, and who their manager was. All those are still important, but what agents also want is flexibility, faster career progression, and career development.
Today’s agent wants their ideas to be heard and to drive those ideas to success. If companies can provide that, agents will be more apt to work one day a week on a shift that isn’t their shift of choice, change their schedule, or work extra hours for holiday ramp-up. These heard and fulfilled agents will help new agents with a renewed and fervent passion that will help the new agent speed to competency.
For organizations that focus on work-at-home and hybrid contact center environments, offering more scheduling flexibility, more career progression, and a holistic approach to leadership development will provide a competitive edge. These types of organizations have a golden opportunity to incorporate this new environment into their recruiting brand to attract and retain a more professional agent.
Here are some suggestions for how to make this happen:
- Identify non-managerial-level leadership roles for agents, such as developing a training roundtable, helping in nesting, or assisting in training a module for new hire classes with an experienced trainer.
- Rotate your quality assurance roles each month.
- Have agents lead your team meetings together, with an agent to gather the items for the agenda and put it out ahead of time, an agent to take notes, and two to three agents to take part in announcements and training.
- Develop team captain roles within regular teams to give multiple agents on each team some time per week to assist in supervisory duties, such as analyzing team performance, listening to calls, or tracking attendance
- Build a robust virtual floor-walking program and the ability to do “agent side-bys” to drive the speed to competency with new agents.
Build Your Recruiting Brand
Your recruiting brand is how well your company articulates to prospective employees what their experience will be, how they will develop professionally, and what type of career progression they will be offered if they come aboard and become a top agent. Your recruiting brand is more than your culture. Companies that can demonstrate a stellar recruiting brand have a better chance of recruiting the best agents and retaining them.
There are a lot of moving parts to developing a recruiting brand, and it starts internally. It takes a total reworking of your formal and informal training and development programs, as well as the development of some new programs on your operations floor.
Companies need a program that:
- Identifies great agents who can help drive the operations floor
- Schedules agent development time
- Mentors agents
- Measures agent success at their new skills
- Moves agents progressively through the organization with smaller compensation steps
Having a robust recognition program that permeates the operational floor is critical, especially in a work-at-home and hybrid model where people can’t see each other. The goal is to keep things moving constantly so agents are afraid to miss a day of work because things are moving fast. This type of environment stimulates excitement on the operations floor. Developing and executing this takes imagination, creativity, and lots of organizational skills.
Be creative. Ask your agents what they want and how they believe they can help your company and customers. When people do what they love, they excel at it, and that can impact your contact center operations in a positive way.
A great recruiting brand is an offshoot of a great contact center operation. Give your company a competitive edge with a robust recruiting brand that will attract and retain top agents that truly perform for your company and your customers.