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Best of 2021 - #10 - Embrace Cross-Departmental Movement

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ICMI's Best of 2021 - #10

What makes me proud of contact centers is the plethora of talent found inside. Our team members’ talents range from practical, tactical skills to soft, interpersonal skills. Also, because of the inherent structure of contact centers, they are the best places to find extremely knowledgeable employees for other aspects of the business - services, products, processes, and customers.

I believe it’s a glorious thing when other teams look first at the contact center to fill recruiting needs. In my early contact center career, we had an executive who designed a plan to have all new recruits first work in the contact center. He believed that the contact center agent was the most knowledgeable person in the business, and he wanted the best foundation for all new hires before moving to their respective units. As leaders, we’re invested in the personal and professional success of our team members. If that professional growth continues in another aspect of the company, we should be delighted.

So, how do we encourage cross unit/department movement to help our team members grow and succeed?

Shift your mentality

We need to stop thinking that we’re losing a team member, and instead know that we’re empowering both our team members and the business to succeed. Strong, knowledgeable, skilled and hardworking team members are required in all units of the organizations for growth and success. Be proud that your team members are viewed as excellent contributors to the success of other teams and the business.

Include transferable skills training

Interpersonal or soft skills are transferable skills. Some transferable skills are communication, time management and organization, critical thinking, creativity, leadership, negotiation, and innovation. These skills should be a major part of any contact center training curriculum. They develop leaders within the contact center and enable cross-departmental movement.

Encourage team members to invest in trainings that help them follow their passion.

This needs to come from you. True leadership is helping your team members accomplish their goals and personal definitions of success. Talk with your team members, find out what they are passionate about, and encourage them to pursue their passions. Send related useful articles, training programs, or content. Be their cheerleader. Investing in your team members’ career/professional development only improves the quality of your team. It also improves employee retention, empowerment and engagement.

Advocate for your team members in the company

This was something I actively did for my team members. For example, once I knew you had a passion for business analysis and it was your professional goal, I would have a discussion with the business analysis team to find out if there was an available role, or at least what my team member could do to prepare for the next available role.

Cross-unit movement is one way to endear the contact center to the organization. When passionate, hardworking, skilled team members impact other units positively, they will value your team as a result. Before you know it, you’ll have other departments advocating for your contact center team in many ways.