Recruitment Policy to Reduce Attrition

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attrition reduction through wise recruitment policy
I want to know from the members some suggestions for reduction of attrition rates in call centres by devising good recruitment policy. Is it viable? are there any models adopted in UK and US linking these two issues?Are they linked or are they looked as independent issues?

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Reducing attrition in call centres
Vedula,

Interesting topic; I'm surprised nobody has tried to help here so far. Anyway, it's not my area of expertise so I won't pretend to be an expert, but there is always a lot to be said for looking at the process from the perspective of theemployee, rather than the employer.

Attrition rates can be tempered by looking at the overall package that is being offered as a whole, and seeing if it is less attractive than similar packages offered within the industry.

Obviously, money is a prime motivator - we all need it (like it or not) and so examining the rates offered by other call / contact centres in your geographical area and also in your market sector is worthwhile - don't pay too much over the going rate, but aimto be perceived as an employer who values the employee.

Other things to look at include working conditions (very important! ensure that people enjoy their work, or at worst do not feel particularly negative toward the tasks they undertake on a daily basis), career progression (it is often good to know that there is a career path within an organisation into which an individual can map their own personal and career development), respect from supervisors/managers (treat the employees with respect otherwise they will feel undervalued), challenge, training and so on.

People move on to new positions for a variety of reasons, and striking a good balance of the everyday factors leads to job satisfaction, which is essential if you wish to keep employees.

Recruitment policy should be tempered to identify individuals who are sound and dependable, show pragmatic approaches to work, do not have a history of moving on every year or so and so on. Don't reject anyone who has moved around, however, it can be a sign of someone gaining a lot of experience. However, be sure to identify the rationale behind such 'active' career moves. Listen to what potential candidates are looking for - do you honestly offer what they seek? If not, they may become dissatisfied or disillusioned and move on.

It's a science and an art in itself, and as one who sees things from the employee side more than from the employer side, it's crucial that you do try to pay attention to the basic needs of individuals - security, money, respect, challenge - and try to maximise good features and minimise bad features of the roles and work environment.

Hope this helps, and also stimulates some more responses...

Let us know how you get on!

John

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Reducing Attrition in call centres!!!
The obvious linkage....

The way we recruit is as important as the way we retain. If at the time of recruitment we can identify the attrition contributors- like interest in job, the constraints that are evident in the resume, innumerable breaks in service and too many functional changes in carreer, family background and additional information about personal life incidents which are highlighted by employee during interviewing.

The monotony of the job, lack of career options at workplace,non-supervision/over supervision, lack of recognition and lack of training and lack of business ethics at workplace also contribute to high attrition.

Motivation and attrition are interlinked and recruitment policy can be an effective tool to overcome manpower shortages.One example that I can give here is of short listing of 10 candidates for 5 posts.You know that within one month 2 or 3 more will or 5 more may leave therefore your database for prospective employees is always updated and readilyavailable for immediate replinishment.

In India where call centre industry is booming, the attrition ratio is very low compared to other industries. IN INDIA VERY FEW JOBS ARE AVAILABLE AND UNEMPLOYMENT IS VERY HIGH AMONGST THE EDUCATED CLASS.This is the main reason why people do not like to leave a job although they are unhappy.

I suppose even in UK/US with economic recession and massive job cuts across industries, call centres may be able to attract more people from other industries.Whether such a switch affects even call centres is already discussed in some other forum in CCV.

To sum up briefly Motivation/control of high Attrition/scientific Recruitment all are vital functions of management and a business which fails in these functions may also fail overall to deliver to its customers and shareholders...

Owner

Gately Consulting

An effective retention program starts before the job offer is made.
Increasing retention is not hard to do if we follow one principle;

Don't hire people who will not become successful employees.

The hard part is knowing which qualified job applicants are most likely to become successful employees. Even this isn't hard to do if we use job matching.



Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Effective retention by proactive recruitment?
Interesting idea, Bob. However, your idea doesn't address those individuals who might come across well in an interview situation, but subsequently become disillusioned or frustrated by their role. I've been in this situation personally, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

John

PS. Welcome to the community; I hope you'll find it useful and interesting!

MD

DND Services

Recruitment
Hi peeps.

Personally, I gave up recruiting specifically on skill some years ago.

My philosophy now is to hire people who can understanding and capability with software (if thats whats needed) but who are primarily people who, once again, can that they consider others in the executioon of their roles.

The reason for this is that I want people to understand that business life is in lots of way like chess. One can accumalate lots of individual pieces (what we in Britian call the culture - "Can't do that sir, more than my job's worth...") but still loose the game.

So, it's the end game that is important; hiring people who are sometimes willing to sacrifice their individual 'bit' for the greater good will ensure you win.

David

MD

DND Services

Recruitment - take II
Certain words completely disapperared from my first reply!!! John, for your note, they had the 'less than' and 'greater than' characters surrounding.

Try again.

Hi peeps.

Personally, I gave up recruiting specifically on skillsome years ago.

My philosophy now is to hire people who can understanding and 'demonstrate' capability with software (if thats whats needed) but who are primarily people who, once again, can 'demonstrate' that they consider others in the executioon of their roles.

The reason for this is that I want people to understand that business life is, in lots of ways, like chess. One can accumilate lots of individual pieces (what we in Britian call the 'Job's Worth' culture - i.e. "Can't do that sir, more than my job's worth...") but still loose the game.

So, it's the end game that is important; hiring people who are sometimes willing to sacrifice their individual 'bit' for the greater good will ensure you win.

David

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Less than or greater than characters...
Hi David, nice to see you back again.

Some characters are treated as html markup; it's how I can
>do this - however, the tradeoff is that sometimes the odd 'innocent angle bracket' gets caught in the crossfire. I *think* you need to type an ampersand followed by either lt or gt to do the less-than or greater-than brackets. We'll be looking into the issues surrounding markup fairly soon, and you're not the first casualty - I often get too fancy and end up getting it wrong, so it's a useful tool with
>BITE!

HTH,

John

MD

DND Services

enlightenment...
Thanks John.


>NOW I understand!!!

David

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Skill vs Understanding
Dear David,

I perfectly understand the importance of hiring people who can do "their bit" for company cause. What we normally tend to overlook when recruiting only for skill set is their attitude to job.

I was competant to take up an accounting job and had necessary skill, but my interest was lacking.In the same way many are competant to be CSRs but they may not have the right attitude to the job.Hence I feel attitude should score over skill.

Any takers?

Vedula

MD

DND Services

Reply
Thats exactly what I said Vedula.

When I say
>demonstrating capability (this is great John!) what I am referring to is simply ensuring that a basic skill set is in place to fully utilise software tools etc. It is
>not being highly skilled/expert. Its a pragamtic and realsitic approach to ensuring that the correct person can use tools that support them in a manner that deleivers best benefit to customers.

David

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Attrition Probability
Dear David,

Thanks for the reply. Do you think call centres should adopt a new metric &? What I mean is - factors that indicate that a prospective employee has a high chance of leaving the job in a short time.

Some important factors which I have encountered are -

1. Applying for the job as he is unemployed (lack of interest in job).
2. Residing far away from the workplace ( In India this is crucial as the public transport system is inadequate)
3.Frequent functional shifts
4. Overburdened by financial and family commitments- get 100 bucks more.. he jumps job...
5. Unable to adopt to change - frequent shift changes....
6. Lack of career options.
7. Emotional imbalance - takes work incidents personally (wrong perceptions).
8. Bad team player ( individualistic - impatient types)

These we can rate on a scale of 3 as Most important, important, least important. Then we can make a weightage of the factors and define a probability factor.

Will this work?
Vedula

MD

DND Services

Attrition Metric
Firstly Vedula the reasons people ‘leave’ companies are far more to do with the way they are treated (by the organisation) than money.

Whilst I can understand where you are coming from, if one were to adopt this metric it would signal to bosses that the way they currently treat employees is right and proper. We both know this is not generally the case.

Remember EVERY human being, regardless of race colour or creed, works initially for Security and then, when that is satisfied, for Happiness (Maslow).

So, while your idea is indeed possible, I feel that the practical may prove somewhat problematic. Firstly, one would have to identify the
>real reasons people leave. This in itself is difficult as it is very rare for people to be aware of the initial reason they decide to leave. Invariably 'money' takes over as the motive as it is the publicly acceptable face of change (excuse) as 'everyone' can relate to it.

Undoubtedly, money is a reason for some people as we go to work to pay bills (as mentioned) and if we don't earn enough to do that then we are forced to move on. The 'real' reason people leave is much more to do with how they feel they are perceived.

If you do not perceive you are adding 'value', your self-esteem (and feelings of security) drops - almost regardless of money. People then feel they are out of control and so 'jump' rather than be pushed.

The ‘real’ metric for a company to consider is, “What metric can I put in place to measure ‘joinability and stickability’ – i.e. “Why should a person join, and more importantly stay with, my company.”

If you can develop that one, what will happen is that you will then have a basis upon which to develop your metric; as you will then be sure it will add value to the Customer Experience.

David

CC Technical Consultant

Touchbase Communications

Response
I agree, money is not everything. From experience, one of my clients pay their staff pretty much the minumum however their staff retention is incredibly high. Although people talk about money as though it is the most important thing, enjoying what you do, the people you work with and the environment is far more so. People spend such a large part of their lives at work, if they can find a place where they are happy etc etc regardless of salary they are far more likely to stay.

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Happiness...
Annabelle is correct - it isn't just about the money - it's the whole package, a synergy between money, environment, convenience, security, challenge and a whole melting-pot of different factors.

Job satisfaction is a difficult recipe to get correct - no question, there!

However, to be paid a pittance can influence the individual's perception of their own worth (or their perception of what their employer feels is their worth - subtle difference ;-) and create negativity.

...andwe all know that negativity in the workplace is a BAD THING...

John

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Momentary State..correction
Happiness and satisfaction are the momentary states of mind. No person can ever be in a constant state of happiness or satisfaction. So devicing a metric which takes into account satisfaction and happiness is difficult. You are right David when you say that it is how the employer perceives attrition and ensures maximum retention by providing an environment in the organization which will keep attrition levels at manageable levels.But to device a metric on joinability and stickability is tough- as both these parameters are subjective.

Can you explain further how I can form the base on these by an illustration?

Vedula



Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Vedula's post
Vedula, I have taken the liberty of deleting your duplicate posts from this topic - hope you don't mind!

All the best,

John

MD

DND Services

Attrition Metric continued
Satisfaction and happiness are
>not momentary states of mind Vedula; if they were then loyalty as a phenomenon would not exist and even fewer people on the planet would ever smile… They are actually both
>long term states of mind based on feelings and cumulative experiences.

People can indeed be in a constant state of happiness or satisfaction as each individual has their own levels for constituting what makes them feel that way. I feel what you are referring to is that level of satisfaction or happiness that is characterised by what one might term ‘the silly grin’.

To devise a metric that measures ‘joinability’ and ‘stickability’ is indeed tough but not beyond the wit of man – or at least us. They are subjective I agree but so, I am still told, are feelings and yet we can measure those very easily (now we know how!)

Having thought about it, it seems to me that we would need to do to start is look at the ‘real’ drivers for people joining one company over another – what is described in the UK as making a company an ‘employer of choice’ (by prospective employees). Add to that the real reasons people leave and together one has the beginnings of a metric.

Couple that information with an ability to gain answers to subjective questions and you have a very very valuable tool.

David

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Thanks ...
Hi John,
thanks for deleting duplicate posts. that day I had some problems with hardware and I was not sure whether my posts were updated. Thanks a million for the right act at right time...

Vedula

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Attrition metric based on Joinability and stickability
David thanks for the suggestion. I will do some more thinking and probably when my metric is done I will discuss and share it with all out here.

Vedula

Resource Team Manager

Standard Life Bank

Attrition
While I agree with much of what has been said so far, the one factor that has yet to be mentioned is also the one I consider most important; integrity. If employees have constant cause to question this in their employer, chances are they won't be around for much longer.

On the whole I think this is a factor whose importance is on the increase, with ever increasing drives for efficiency/cost savings. If an employee sees their company choosing to lower/badly affect the service they provide for the sake of short term gain chances are they won't have much faith in their own job security no matter what assurances are given.

It's a topic that is often overlooked but one that affects most people; at the end of the day there's no satisfaction in performing well personally when you have no pride/respect for the overall end result.

MD

DND Services

Attrition Metric cont
Kirk

Whilst making your point about integrity you have alluded to what I term ‘stickability’.

This phrase, clumsy as it is, encompasses integrity, honesty, vision, sympathy and all manner of other measurables that form the core of theculture of the business.

It is about their ethos and values over time. Moreover, it’s about their ethos and values looked at in terms of rhetoric (the bit one is impressed at the interview) and the actuality of expression (the bit that reallyapplies day-to-day). A company that is highly ‘stickable’ is one where what is told to you at interview really happens, where people ‘walk-the-talk’.

A company doesn’t have to be ‘wonderful’ to have high stickability value. For me it’s the difference between a standard holiday brochure that waxes lyrically about the ‘sun drenched beaches and yards of perfect white sand’ when the reality is it rains quite often and the white sand is a bit two miles away… What you want is honest answers (hence integrity) to questions so that a balanced and objective decision can be made. We invariably don’t mind knowing but do mind unpleasant surprises.

Little do companies realise that creating this false impression is costing them millions through staff churn etc. If a person chooses to join ‘warts and all’ the likely hood of their staying is raised 100 fold.

David

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Strength of conviction
David, interesting points.

I think you're right about the mismatch between what is said and what is done - in a lot of ways the 'hype' of a new job can be deflated rather rapidly by the 'reality' of the role once started - but I can't really see HR departments going for the 'warts and all' approach.

After all, I have always viewed HR as a relation of the sales and marketing departments - where the truth is often slightly overblown, emphasising the good points and being coy about thebad points.

Any HR people out there care to comment on the 'official line' to such things? I think the concept of 'honesty' is something which is often at odds with the sales process - after all, in the shorter term the salesforce is expected to deliver and the pressure to sell can be such that many means, fair and foul, may be adopted to try to up the numbers.

I see it as a similar situation for HR - there is a skills shortage, and a retention problem. Rather than work hard to createan environment to keep people, HR departments seem geared up to attract people with a pseudo sales-pitch and to hell with the existing staff.

Discuss... :-)

John

Resource Team Manager

Standard Life Bank

Continuous....Strength of Conviction
Thanks for clearing that up David, to be honest I was slightly confused about the "stickability" factor - think I lost the plot when html etc. came into play (technological I ain't!)

I think John makes a very good point about HR being associatedwith the sales process, they are after all selling the company to prospective employees who they hope will want to buy into the brand they're presenting. Personally I think this is an attitude to be encouraged; employees should feel that they are valuable commodities that the business does not want to lose, because in most cases thats exactly what they are - above and beyond any million pound computer system etc.

If management was able to keep this focus when the prospective became the actual employee then I think the "churn" would be reduced greatly. I can imagine that being made to account for losing something/someone that a company had invested tens, even hundreds, of thousands developing would be an uncomfortable position for anyone to be in.

Certainly wouldn't fancy it myslef :)

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Value of the employee
Good point Kirk - many companies seem to lose sight of the fact that an employee has an inherent value, especially if specialist training has been undertaken. Like any 'resource' (and I use that word with some reluctance, because we are not 'resources' but for the purposes of this example it's convenient), it is a question of investing and reaping reward over the longer time. It is expensive to recruit and train an individual, so it's important to ensure that that individual is given the correct environment in which to perform, i.e. the company will reap its reward in time.

Of course, short-sighted company politics, policy and personalities can make this investment in people stillborn. Not a good situation.

Remember that humanresources is an accounting issue as well...

John

MD

DND Services

Strength of conviction cont
Take your points chaps. However - you knew there’d be one of those didn’t you...

Firstly John you say, “I can’t see HR departments going for the warts and all approach”. Whilst you may be right in the short term, look me use tourism as an analogy. What was once std practise, telling outright lies in brochures, has virtually been wiped out. Indeed more and more are becoming what one might term ‘brutally frank’.

I suggest the reason they are doing this is because they understand thatloyalty is the key to long-term success and the management of expectations plays a crucial role in that. So, by
>setting expectations slightly
>low and
>delivering above people will come back more frequently and talk positively about their experience.

Your whole reply is based around the premis of the historic perspective being the only one. Does this mean it is the way it must always be? Only by challenging the status quo can we progress and grow. To challenge this status quo we have to have a vision. ‘Stickability’ and ‘joinability’ are my vision proposition.

Kirk

I agree with you that one of HR’s roles is indeed to ‘sell’ the company as it contributes to an employees feeling of adding value. I wholeheartedly agree that they are THE most valuable ‘asset’ (rather than ‘commodity’ which for me suggests they are disposable. You are also right that business would improve if management focused on what
>most influences customers – staff!

The people in HR (my current definition is Human Remains) need to understand that somehow they must rise above politics where possible. As the last remaining bastion of humanity in business generally they must take responsibility for providing ‘thought leadership’ to the rest of the management team in issues such as staff treatment using tools and techniques that clearly demonstrate the business benefit of treating people (staff and customers) better.

David

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Internal factors
Hi Kirk,

Welcome to discussion forum and thanks for your valuable contribution.David mentioned two assets - the customers and staff. The metric I am working to develop should be complete and valuable. It should take into account employee and employer perspectives.If it is skewed towards employers then it will be more of a management measure rather than the true measure of a problem.The employee is the only person who can honestly state the real reason.Others can only perceive and interpret his action.

I strongly believe that if a prospective employee feels that his traits, competancies and values which determine his self-esteem are recognised by the employer he may not leavee the organization.If any of these three factors do not match organization culture, ethics and values - then the employee perceives a threat to his growth and security and hence may leave.

Vedula


Resource Team Manager

Standard Life Bank

Attrition, ethics and other questions of the universe
Thanks Vedula

I sense a re-focusing on the topic at hand and as far as the Metric itself is concerned - good luck! and I'd be very interested to see the end result. I agree with you completely - it does need to be fairly balanced between employer and employee perspective and only the employee will know the true reason for leaving. Human emotions being what they are I wonder if it might be worth posing that question twice; once as part of a "leavers assesment" and in two months time and see if it changes at all. I think the second response would be the more accurate as the emotions won't be quite so strong however the first would give you a more meaningful insight into the "little quirks" that all add up to reduce staff morale.

Hi David,

As far as challenging the "status quo" I agree with you entirely(there seems to be alot of agreement in these forums - kinda restores faith in humanity and common ethics etc.?? - or is it just a Friday feelgood?). Unless we challenge the status quo we become stagnant cease evolving. I think there are some excellent examples of this within "business" sectors already - one example would be the ever increasing prominence of "Ethical investment". If we could get staff conditions (tied in with attrition) firmly on the same agenda then I think we'd be making real progress.

Oh and if thats what HR stands for, whats your take on PR :)

Kirk

MD

DND Services

PR
Kirk

My cynical experiential side has had that much contact so thus far I haven't got one!

Having said that, one immediately popped into my head but the public nature of this forum would not forgive such language.... ;-Q

David

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Public Relations
David, be my guest...

;-)

John

VP

The DeGarmo Group

Call Center Employee Turnover
Hopefully I can provide some insight as this is my area of expertise. First, it's important to be clear about what we are discussing becuase there is an important difference between attrition and turnover. Unfortunately, and erroneously,many people use these words interchangeably. In an employment setting, attrition means the gradual decrease in personnel as a result of retirement, resignation or death. Obviously most call center representatives are not employed long enough to "retire" or "resign". Turnover, on the other hand, is the result of a more abrupt, unexpected change in employment. With that out of the way, let's talk about why this occurs.

As I'm sure you are aware, turnover in any type of environment is either voluntary (i.e. quitting) or involuntary (i.e. being fired). Most call centers suffer from excessive voluntary turnover. Why?

I'll preface the answer to this question by stating that there is a more complete description of this problem in our article titled "Understanding and Combating Call Center Employee Turnover" on our website at www.degarmogroup.com . However, I'll give you the "Reader's Digest" version here.

Generally speaking, call center representatives don’t quit because they lack theskills or abilities to perform the job, they quit largely because they are not interested and challenged by the job, lack the personality characteristics to be successful, or are dissatisfied with the environment in which they work. To put it simply, there is a poor "fit" between the person and the job.

Unfortunately not much can be done to change the nature of the call center representative job- that being what they do, how they do it, and where they do it. Therefore the only really effective method for reducing employee turnover is to identify "High Turnover Risk" applicants during the hiring process, and screen them out of consideration.

Unfortunatly again, few call center companies understand the value of well-constructed employee selection systems. Far fewer realize that such systems can effectively be used to reduce voluntary employee turnover rates. Overwhelmingly, the norm for the call center industry is to use little beyond a poorly constructed employment interview to hire representatives. Some companies may have minimum word-per-minute typing requirements, and ask applicants to read a script to ascertain some level of verbal ability. Apparently the logic here is that well-constructed training programs can be used to compensatefor any skill or ability deficiencies that the employee brings to the job.

While this logic may be rational, what is irrational is to assume that given adequate training most people will be satisfied with their jobs. This simply is not the case!Remember, callcenter representatives don’t quit because they are devoid of basic skill requirements, they leave because they don’t like their jobs. Therefore, skills-based testing is not going to identify those applicants who are likely to quit.

When used strategically, additional sources of pre-employment information such as applicant personalites and interests can be effectively used to create a profile of “job fit”. What is job fit? It simply is the level of congruence between the applicantspersonality characteristics and interests, and the demands of the job. As discussed above, in order to be successful as a Telemarketer or Customer Service Representative, the applicant needs to possess certain characteristics and preferences. A Telemarketing representative that does not possess a level of emotional stability high enough to effectively cope with constant rejection is likely to be unsuccessful. In reality, they likely will become very frustrated with their job over time, and eventually will quit. Unfortunately this time period tends to be very short.

Similarly, a Customer Service Representative who does not like to be closely monitored, or cannot consistently be thorough and detail-oriented also will likely become frustrated and begin to seek other opportunities for employment.

When a high level of “fit” is attained, employees tend to be much more satisfied with their jobs, and tend to remain employed for significantly longer periods of time. Specifically, they tend to report higher levels of satisfaction with their pay, supervisors, coworkers, and job duties, and tend to be absent or tardy less often.

To learn more about this type of assessment, and how it is effective for reducing employee turnover, please read the complete article described above on our website. For information on a test specifically designed to reduce voluntary employee turnover in call centers, review the CCFI or CCFIweb information also contained on our site at www.degarmogroup.com

Hope this provides some assistance.

Anthony Adorno
Vice President
The DeGarmo Group, Inc.
Adorno@degarmogroup.com
(309) 820-1435
www.degarmogroup.com



MD

DND Services

Employee turnover cont
Welcome to CCV Anthony

You said, “Generally speaking, call center representatives don’t quit because they lack theskills or abilities to perform the job, they quit largely because they are not interested and challenged by the job, lack the personality characteristics to be successful, or are dissatisfied with the environment in which they work. To put it simply, there is a poor "fit" between the person and the job.” If I may, I’d like to look at a couple of those things.

Interestingly, and quite normally from a psychological perspective, our experience is exactly the same as yours when you ask or discuss with the individuals affected (typically via ‘exit’ interviews). More interestingly, when interviewed away from the work place in a neutral environment and taking more time to uncover, it emerges that it is ‘self worth’ and hence ‘security’ that are the real drivers causing people to move. Let me explain. The overwhelming majority of call centre environments are so pressured and so highly structured in terms of what the individual is allowed to do or not do that the basic identity we all have as individuals is lost – in fact buried by the prevailing ‘personality’ of the call centre. Without this ability to be ‘us’, we gradually lose oursense of identity and our sense of individual purpose. Once we reach a threshold a kind of survival instinct kicks in and we decide that we have to break free. Its at this point that people move.

So, your comment that people lack the personalitycharacteristics is true. However, you will find that the kind of individuals that thrive in that environment are not those who can easily relate to other people or in fact can maintain close personal relationships generally. What this means is that you are left with people few others would naturally associate with, given a choice. Hardly, IMHO, the kind of people likely to deliver the personalised service business needs to differentiate itself in the 21st century. To finish, again you are right. There isindeed a poor fit, but the poor fit is the call centre management trying to make people do things that are simply unnatural or abnormal. It is they that need to understand the consequences of their actions and modify their behaviour to better achieve a fit that is normal within society generally.

What this all means, is that indeed there must be better fits and better systems in place to support selection but let’s get the basics right first. Understand what drives normal human beings develop the supporting metrics and only then recruit suitable people.

Its only when people (staff) FEEL valued, because they can hear and feel how their customers are responding positively and see success within the business as a consequence of happy customers, that they can feel secure. Once feeling secure, they can contribute to the business and grow as individuals rather than simply keeping their head down.

David

Planning & Performance Manager

Thames Water

My few pennies
Whilst I don't wish to poclaim any great insights I thought I would add the following little note from a presonal view point.

I once worked for a radio group in a not too exciting job as commercial scheduling co-ordinator. This involved long hours of work, no overtime pay but open ended hours in your contract and pay below the national average. I left because I could simply not stand the place any more, it made me feel that being ill would be better for me! However it was not always this way:

My ex-boss, a week or so after they made him redundant, spoke to me about his time at the company. He proclaimed that he knew it was a poor job, booring work but very highly pressurised. He knew they pay was poor and that opportunities were limited. He said that he tried to make the place a fun place to compensate for this and treated everyone as a friend rather than an employee. To be fair to him this was what made so many of us love the place. On your birthday he would come out and tape you to your chair with masking tape, you would then be wheeled out into the car park for a 10 minute parade to the outside traffic.

Monthly we were treated to an awards ceremony in the office for the employee of the month, 3 of us in a dept of 20 would receive awards and he excluded himself and his assitant so that made it 18. If you had a suggestion he would let you work on it to see if it would work, which often made people feel very valued as they had made a difference or were given the chanceto. He used to let us bring a TV for important sporting occasions and send us all e-mail jokes. He would encourage such activity as the kidnapping and ransom of peoples cuddly toys on their PC's. One such incident lasting several months with Shaun theSheep going around the valleys of Wales (with pictures to prove it).

Basically it was "our" department. The pay was not a problem because you only spend what you have and provided it is above a certain acceptable level that was fine.

On his leaving we were givin pay rises, all but 6 of the staff on that day had gone within 6 months. All but had gone within a few months of me going. When the fun went, no amount of money made the job worth doing. When you were no longer valued but became a "commodity" there were less stressful places to be that treat you that way. When the pay went up, we all spent the extra anyway.

Sort of covers many areas for you.

Bye for now

NA

NA

Turnover reduction
Hi Anthony,

Thanks for your insights. I have some questions which I would like you to answer for me.

1. In India, there are a large pool of unemployed graduates who join call centres as they do not have any other employment opportunity.Once they find an alternative they leave the job. How do you think the call centres should approach this problem- they possess skill sets and work for few months only. The others have to be trained extensively and when call centre invests on training anddeveloping them,later they are poached by other outsourced call centres. How this problem can be addressed?

2. Which is more important- Retention strategy or Recruitment strategy?

Vedula

Director

Reynard Thomson Ltd.

Inspirational ideas from normal people...
Robert,

That's a great story showing the value of job satisfaction against the negatives of low pay and so on. Is your ex-boss still around? If so, why not invite him here - he sounds like he is a man of inspirational ideas who knows how to really inspire his workforce. In an industry plagued with stories of unhappy workers and ill-treatment of staff, it would be refreshing to provide a bit of balance and perhaps your ex-boss could provide that.

If you're still in contact, why not give him a shout - he'd be more than welcome here!

John

VP

The DeGarmo Group

Recruitment versus Retention in India
Vedula,

Certainly the questions you pose are not easy ones, however I will offer the following.

There are many factors that contribute to the problem of employee turnover. Some of these factors cannot be directly controlled by organizations, such as area economic or labor market conditions. It appears as though the high unemployment rate of graduates looking for professional work experience is a major force responsible for excessive employee turnover in India. In this case, there is no easy solution. People are motivated to be employed and earn wages to cover the cost of living, without the luxury of selecting among several different employers. Here the causes for employee turnover go beyond poor person-job fit. But still, organizationsare completely in control of who they hire, and how they hire.

As the title of your original posts implies, a well designed recruitment strategy might be your best alternative for idenitfying applicants prone to turnover quickly. This depends onthe extent to which your recruitment strategies are linked to your personnel selection systems. Needless to say, refinement of existing methods would involve a considerable amount of research looking at turnover patterns for different "groups" of applicants (i.e., those who are "graduates" versus those who are not, those looking for part-time employment versus those looking for full time employment, older workers versus younger workers, etc.). After identifying which "groups" of applicants are most proneto turnover behavior, your recruitment strategies can be adjusted accordingly. In addition, a well designed structued employment interview may help to identify those applicants simply looking for temporary employment, versus those intending to stay with your company for a reasonable amount of time.

Another alternative not directly tied to personnel selection methodologies, and dependent completely on employment laws in India, is to determine your break-even point on the training investment made in each new hire, and have new hires sign an employment contract which guarantees their employment for that period of time. Since I am unfamiliar with employment laws in your area, I cannot offer a complete range of consequences for breaking the employment contract. However, it is reasonable to assume that your company could withhold final paychecks and possibly inform employees' future employers about their broken contract with your company.

The above being stated, this is not to suggest that some percentage of employees who quit do not do so as a result of poor person-job fit. Therefore, a structured employment test of this type might be effective for reducing the level of voluntary turnover to some extent. Here even a modest reduction in turnover could potentially save your company a considerable amount of money if your training programs are extenstive and costly.

Regarding your second question, concerning the relative importance of recruitment versus retention strategies, I will offer the following.

Both are equally important and in some respects, no different from one another. Retention of your workforce must not be a consideration after hiring employees, it must be a consideration before hiring employees. As I addressed earlier, by identifying patterns in turnover behavior, your recruitment efforts can be better informed and more strategic. That is, if you identify through reseach that most "graduate" employees quit within 60 days, but non-graduates stay 50% longer, it might be wise to pursue the non-graduate group more aggressively. At the same time, your personnel selection system should be geared to identify "high turnover risk" applicants through the methods previously described. So while procedurally different, I seerecruitment and retention as conceptually linked to one another with neither having greater importance over the other. Both must be effective for your organization to reap long term benefits of decreased turnover.

Anthony Adorno
Vice President
The DeGarmo Group, Inc.
www.degarmogroup.com
Adorno@degarmogroup.com

Partner

On Focus Group

Retention & Recruitment
Hi,

I am still catching up with some long standing discussions here ...

I think it has already been established elsewhere that people's reasons for taking a job are different from staying in it and managers understanding of the issues that affect retention are very different from staffs'.

My recollection of a CIPD paper is that retention factors are:

"I want to enjoy my job"
This includes the work itself, the people I work with and the environment I work in.

"I want to be rewarded"
This includes salary, other financial benefits and non-financial benefits.

"I want to progress"
Ie have some kind of career path.

There is also evidence that older people stay in jobs longer, have lessabsenteeism and are prepared to put themselves out more.

These are all generic points, not Call Centre specific, but I'd be very interested in others' views on their application.

Perhaps also some of the suggestions put forward could besupplemented by an analysis of stayers and leavers with the idea of *modelling* succcess - this would make the approach specific to the business in question.

Alan ...........

Owner

Gately Consulting

*modelling* success
Hello Alan:

"Perhaps also some of the suggestions put forward could be supplemented by an analysis of stayers and leavers with the idea of *modelling* success - this would make the approach specific to the business in question."

That isthe basis of the job matching method. All employees in a job classification reporting to one supervisor are assessed. The software then develops a benchmark suitability pattern from the results of the top performers.

Business Development Manager

The Sutherland Group

Reduce attrition
Hi,

Interesting topic. We reduce attrition through the following:
1. Recruitment--make sure you hire the right person for the right job. The last thing you want is to have to look for a replacement and re-train.
2. The right type of jobs--we are an outsource provider and focus on looking for business that employees want and love to work on. The employees are better motivated when they have a challenging job taking calls for Cisco or Sun or HP, etc.
3. Training--we provide training all the time for the program the employee is on and for anything else they would like to learn (sales skills, management, career development, interviewing skills, technical skills, etc.)
4. Compensation--we ensure that most jobs have a variable commission component so that they get paid more for working harder and doing a better job
5. Professinalism--our call centre has a dress policy of suits. Looking professional makes people act professional. Our emlpoyees want to work with professionals in a professional environment.
6. Career Development/Career Employees--All of our employees are salaried. We do not hire temps. We want to promote from within the company and each person has a career path to get them the job they want.

Hope this helps.

Dan

Sr. Manager- HR & Training

Venus Cybertech Ltd.

Attrition Reduction Through Wise Recruitment Policy...
Hi Vedula,

I have read through all the postings starting with yours, as this has been the most intriguing and interesting area for me to work on throughout my 11 years of Human Reource Management experience in the corporate world.

Though most has already been said by the other competent members but I'd like to add my bit of it, which could bring in some value addition to this discussion.

My experiece only brings me to one conclusion for recruitment, training and retention of the best of the talents in this industry, i.e.,

"TALK THE TALK & WALK THE TALK".

We start putting in plans and start working on them for hiring the talet pool, either reacting to the prospective campaigns or proactively aligning the organization plans with the Staffing Needs. But how often do we reallly introspect and analyse the way we hire and who we hire. It obviously does not stay put at the hiring manager's level but also spills over to all corners of the organization to make sure wat we project and promise all the prospetive talents that we take through the gruelling selection process. The responsiility lies with the organization and thus tickles down do every individual to make sure that the prospect is handled with the best possible care.

It boils down to the level of addressing the responses that we get for each of our stafing campaigns, the moment we receive the CV do we analyse and respond on the fitment as well as the selection process to the aplicant. I have spoken to many applicants in the process of capturing their views and understand that even the big players in the industry (Including the MNC's without naming any specific organization) do not reply for as long as 3-4 weeks on the CV's as well as the following selection process keeping the applicant in dark about her/his chances of gettig through the process.

Next step to watch out for is, to respect every individual's time and to call them for going through the selection processes with the minimal waiting period between processes. How many of us keep a watch on how much time the applicant has waited before the process starts or in between the processes? We got to take a stock of that as a part of time management initiatives.

Also to look out for is how effective is our recruitment processes. A lot of companies that I have consulted for have been seen as mirroring a selection process just because that is the selection process at a MNC, without realizing that the organization might not be in a position to match up to the MNC with the required infrastructure, technology and manpower. We need to really look at a Competency Map based recruitment process, which will help us choose people with the required competencies and not conduct a particular test just for the heck of it...

During selection and offer its quite important that we really understand what we offer. The offer even if during the discussion stage should be documented for discussion and have the agreement of both saffing manager as well as the applicant to avoid any discripancies in the offer letter. Ideally the document should carry details of position, roles & responsibilities, expectations, tangible & intangible benefits, along with a defined growth path atleast for the first three months. The responsibilty of meeting everything documented should lie with eveyone in the organization. This will eradicate any gaps in expectation matching from both ends and a clear growth path. However any deviation should be discussed with the employee and seek a buyin from her/his end for the cause resulting in a particular decision.

The mentoring and counselling system should be pretty clear and strong in the organization to avoid any kind of unexpected negative perception towards the organization or individual with in the organization.

The communication on every appreciation should be loud and clear for building a competent and successful team but its equally important to treat the incompetencies proactively and eradicating them whenever required.

All we need to take care of is that the commitment that we expect from every employee, we should be responsible to match them thorugh our proactive systems and decisions.

Though I hope that aforesaid could get you something that you were looking for but an issue specific and reality based work would get us closer to find a solution to avoid uncontrolled attrition in the industry...

Cheers & God Bless,

Arun Kumar Das
Sr. Manager-HR & Training
Venus Cybertech Ltd.
6th Floor Pawani Plaza
Punjagutta Hyderabad
A.P. Pin- 500 082

arun@venuscybertech.com
arun_2809@rediffmail.com

Decision Making

None

Get to know ground level realities...
I quit one company joined another and how many of us can deny that they never look for options. I see many decision makers in this posting; Please get to know the ground level realities of the agents at the bottom level. Organization chart never starts with CEO/COO/President understand that it starts with CSR/Agent. I changed my job once i completed 2 years of service in a Email support organization, reason I was not happy with appraisal I was wanting to have a lending ear for all the issues I faced. My team use to hate HR and it neither handled the grievances of the employees nor could create job security.

We never got proper response to our feedback. Apart from salary people once get in to a job will look for security too.

Regrads,
Manohar




Sr. Manager- HR & Training

Venus Cybertech Ltd.

Getting on to the ground realities...
Hi Manohar,

I agree with you on this... At the same time I'd like to reinforce the fact that we are trying to address the issues out here in this forum to make our work places more employee friendly day by day...

I also appreciate the fact that people need pay and security but more than anything else they need a support from the organization which makes them have a feeling of belongingness, which would come only once the loose ends are taken care of both by the employees and the employers...

Please send me your CV and let me try my best to get you an option asap. However do not get bogged down with the negative feelings from the ast experience but take this as an opportunity to get yourself a better environment and a great employer.

Cheers & God bless...

Arun Kumar Das
Sr. Manager-HR & Training
Venus Cybertech Ltd.
6th Floor Pawani Plaza
Punjagutta Hyderabad
A.P. Pin- 500 082
arun@venuscybertech.com

attrition reduction

We did find one solution that helped us hire the correct people from a company called ThinkShed. I think they were from Austin, Tx. They have an analytical process that enabled us to hire the correct people based on their desire to work in a call center. We could then determine from those candidates their abilty to work in a call center. Worked really well, have a look at them.

Head - ITes/BPO

LABS

Attrition
I think it is more to do with the recruitment policies adopted that is one of the causes for high attrition. Most of the candidates that get selected are people who get into these jobs because of the initial lure to significant amount of money that they see.

The primary criteria recruiters look for in Mass recruitments ( which normally is the hiring model when a company wants to recruit entry level workforce) is communication and language skills, there is no enough time for evaluating on other skills or abilities forget attitude.

The hiring pressures are immense be it on the company itself or the recruiting agencies.

I do believe that these companies should look at investing in supply chains especially for the entry level workforce. This should have good linkages with educational instutitions (which today is only for campus recruitments) where the companies orient students who really are interested in such a role. IT HAS TO BE AN INFORMED CHOICE. today the motivation for students getting into such jobs is only the money, nothing else.

The other aspect is the need of the candidate which is a very important aspect. It has been observed that attrition rates are lower among the segments which come from the lower strata of the economic population.

We do have some very interesting options in this area which tries to address this issue. We are a not for profit organisation involved in livelihood advancement and have been creating workforce for various industries including ITES/BPO. Interested parties can get in touch with me on this. will be glad to provide more details.

Shyam Vallabh
shyamvallabh@yahoo.com







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