Caroline Leonard explains that attrition is a fact of life in every organization, no matter how large or small. However, when it comes to contact centres, attrition rates tend to be particularly high.
According to a 2017/2018 UK Contact Centre HR & Operational Benchmarking Report from Babel “attrition rates are at 21% on average annually, but far higher in larger organizations.”
While it’s virtually impossible to reduce attrition entirely, there are a number of areas you can focus on:
- Review your current recruitment and selection processes
- Consider cultural fit
- Make training and development programmes a priority
- Put a spotlight on reward and recognition
- Ensure the right technology and tools are available
- Research compensation and benefits
1. Recruitment and Selection Processes
It’s worth making the time and effort to ensure the right person is recruited into the role, as in the long term, it could end up costing you even more time and money if you need to re-recruit and re-train someone new.
When was the last time you reviewed your agents’ job descriptions? Has it been some time since they were last updated? Are they clear and transparent, outlining all aspects of what the role entails? It’s important to clearly define all aspects of the vacancy in the job description to ensure the right person is attracted and recruited into the role and that there are no surprises further down the line.
Are assessments and role-playing part of your interview and selection processes? If not, could they be introduced? If the role involves an agent handling customer calls all day, then a simple role-playing exercise using a typical customer call scenario could be conducted. It may mean adding 30 minutes on to the interview process but it could play a key role in determining which individual is best suited to the role.
Should one of your agents ever leave your organization, it’s important to conduct an exit interview to inform and shape future recruitment and training processes and procedures.
2. Cultural Fit
A person may be well suited to the role and tick all the boxes required, but ask yourself, are they suited to the company’s culture?
Once the necessary interview and assessment stages have been conducted, the shortlisting and selection process begins. It’s important to consider the candidate’s personality and cultural fit within your organization along with the necessary skills and experience that are required for the role – are they a good match? Can you picture the individual working well with other members of your team and with the rest of your organization?
Approaches such as personality tests and asking questions related to your organization’s values during the interview process are just some ways to determine if an individual is a good fit for your organization.
3. Training and Development
Training and development should be at the core of everything you do. “Training is one of the most fundamental groundings in company culture that your new hire will receive.” (Jive.com) If it’s rushed, disorganized, or incomplete, what does that say about you and your organization?
As with the interview and selection stage, it’s crucial to review your induction, training and development processes to make sure they are up to date and reflect the role and the organization’s goals and values.
Time should be set aside to discuss training and learning & development opportunities with your agents during their one-to-ones. Where training and learning & development gaps are identified, it’s important to devise a plan for how you and the organization can fill these. What support can be provided? It’s important to provide opportunities for feedback and questions at regular checkpoints in the induction process.
Management and contact centre team leaders also need to perform regular health checks on their own individual training and learning & development needs to lead by example. Communication, coaching, planning and time management are just some of the skills a manager needs to be constantly reviewing to ensure they are at the top of their game.
4. Reward and Recognition
Richard Branson’s infamous quote from 2014: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” still holds a lot of weight today.
Your employees are your greatest asset. To reduce attrition rates it’s essential to focus your attention and efforts on employee retention. Just as it’s 5 times more expensive to win a new customer than to retain an existing customer, the same holds true with your employees.
Providing opportunities for growth and development is crucial for retaining high-performing agents. Is there anything that you and your organization could do to improve employee retention?
For example, praising good work and encouraging more of the same is an obvious place to start. Something simple such as saying “thank you” and “well done” to an agent can be incredibly powerful and motivating, making them feel valued to do more of the same, and it costs nothing!
An employee wants to feel like they’re valued, and that the organization that they work for is invested in them. Providing an individualized career plan that your agent can work towards and strive for is another strong motivational tool.
5. Technology and Tools
You have spent a great deal of time and effort in selecting, recruiting and training the right agents, but do they have the necessary tools and technology at their disposal to allow them to fulfil their role to its full potential?
Without current, up-to-date contact centre technology tools and systems in place, not only could you be hindering your agents, but you could also be putting your organization at a competitive disadvantage.
6. Compensation and Benefits
While it’s important to keep compensation competitive and fair, and to regularly research what other organizations in your industry are paying their agents, there are a number of other benefits that can be introduced that are just as important to your employees.
Flexible working arrangements; bonus schemes linked to performance; pension & healthcare options; number of paid annual leave days per year; subsidized study and career progression schemes; sports & social clubs and paid maternity & paternity leave are just some of the initiatives you could introduce into your organization.
It’s important to make it clear from the outset what’s required for a promotion, salary increase or bonus so that your agents have clear goals to work towards and know what’s expected of them.
For more information about Spearline, visit: www.spearline.com