Contact centers are infamous for high staff turnover rates. However, the industry is growing and the global market for contact centers is projected to reach $481 billion by 2024.
But, you can’t grow successfully if you don’t employ the best people. So, how do you recruit them? Well, you need to be inventive to find, attract and hire great contact center employees plus have a killer recruiting strategy in place.
Your contact center recruiting strategy should focus on the long term, the retainment part of hiring because if you’ve gone to great lengths to hire great employees, you don’t want to lose them the minute the going gets tough.
Because the high staff turnover won’t just affect your bottom line, but it is awful for morale, which in this industry can be quite low to begin with. Having to deal with irate customers can be stressful and rarely is a relaxing job, so if you want to hire the right contact center staff and retain them, you’re going to have to do more than just make a song and dance during recruiting.
So, if you don’t have a contact center recruiting strategy in place just yet, don’t panic. Read on for our 9 inventive contact center recruiting strategies, and hire those great employees.
- Think about where you recruit
- Set realistic expectations
- Organize group interactions
- Host an open-house event
- Learn from exit interviews
- Let technology help you
- Highlight innovation
- Be the employer of choice
- Have a killer orientation plan
1. Think about where you recruit
If your contact center requires a candidate to have a specific skill set, like certain IT skills, for example, your hunt for potential employees should take you to places these people are likely to be found.
So your first contact center recruiting strategy should be to check out places where such professionals might hang out and exchange ideas for example; post your job opening on forums they use, advertise in professional magazines and through their institutes if they have one.
Make sure that your career page is optimized for mobile, as there is a high probability that that’s where your candidates look for career opportunities.
2. Set realistic expectations
Don’t tell falsehoods to prospective employees, by which we mean, don’t sugarcoat what the job could be. Be truthful in your recruitment campaigns and tell potential applicants what it really is about.
If you want your contact center recruiting strategy to work, you have to be honest. Let your future staff know what they’re signing up for:
- • what the work really entail
- • what the working hours involve
- • whether the work is shift work
- • how shifts are scheduled
- • whether it includes late nights or early mornings
Don’t recruit staff for a make-believe job that doesn’t exist, then seat them in reality and expect them to hang around. Clear communication and realistic job preview is key in setting realistic job expectations in the recruitment process.
Also, many people see working in a contact center as a way of getting their foot in the door of a company they want to work for. So be clear during the recruitment process that while this is one route into the company, they may have to spend some time actually doing that role, as being recruited for other roles fast won’t be possible for everyone.
3. Organize group interactions
To be inventive with your contact center recruiting strategy, don’t do what has been done a thousand times before, instead, get in front of the type of people who might actually thrive in your contact center.
Rather than try and hide what the job is like in reality, why not get your top contact center employees to host a Q&A session with potential hires? Getting potential hires and current employees together for a ‘getting to know you’ session is not just an icebreaker, but hearing about the job from those who do it currently, will give recruits a real insight into what they are letting themselves in for.
Plus, if you have employees who genuinely enjoy what they do, who can talk about the perks of the jobs, the little wins, how they handle the stress and why they love the job itself, their enthusiasm will appeal to those people who might otherwise be a little cautious about signing up.
A further bonus is that those candidates who are really not interested will self-deselect at this stage, saving you from a bad hire later down the line or wasting your time by dropping out at the last minute.
If a Q&A session seems a bit too formal for you, why not consider hosting a hackathon, or a game night?
In the current candidate-driven market, you should you use every opportunity you have to attract applicants and convince them to join your company.
4. Host an open-house event
Another great contact center recruiting strategy is to host an open house and let candidates have a browse around the office. They can check out where they could end up working and see their potential future colleagues in action. This way they would get a snapshot of what the job entails, rather than hear about it second hand.
If you’re feeling brave, you could always let potential employees shadow a current employee for a few hours of a shift, or even shadow managers, so they get an idea of how what they’re doing feeds into the bigger company picture.
5. Learn from exit interviews
When your staff churn, do you just let them walk out of the door, or do you conduct exit interviews with everyone who leaves?
If your answer is the former, then you need to rethink your exit strategy, because an employees exit should feed into your contact center recruiting strategy. Who else is going to be brutally honest about the company more so than someone who is going and has nothing to lose?
While you have them in the exit interview, make sure you ask certain questions:
- • Find out why they’re leaving and what you could have done differently to make them stay. Did you know that 75% of reasons employees leave are preventable? Yes, you might be losing one person because you didn’t pick up on or act on their issues sooner, but you’re doing something about it now. And finding out what made this ex-employee so disgruntled could be the key to turning your contact center into a really great place to work.
- • Go right back to their recruitment process and ask the employee if there is anything they would have liked to have known about the job before they started working there, that might have made them think differently about taking the job. By finding out this information, you can then include it in your recruiting strategy, and that way, any potential future employees, who also find this information a turn off, will deselect themselves from your recruiting process, saving you money and time hiring them, only to watch them walk away too.
- • Finally, ask them to describe the culture of your company, don’t forget they might be cynical because they’re leaving, but they could shed light on an aspect of your company culture that you weren’t previously aware of, and you can use this to attract a certain type of people as part of your contact center recruiting strategy.
Also, before anyone walks out of your door, ask them if they are open to staying in touch. It might not be personal why they’re leaving, so why let talent go without an open door?
…and 87% of mid-size businesses do. Use these to gain insights and refine your recruiting strategy accordingly.
6. Let technology help you
Technology should be the top of the list when it comes to your contact center recruiting strategy. Technology can help you with so many areas of recruiting such as:
- • Resume screening
- • Skills testing
- • Interview scheduling
- • Interviewing remote candidates
- • Communicating with candidates
Having the right recruitment tech stack at hand will help you not only hire better people but also improve candidate experience.
7. Highlight innovation
Although 79% of contact center communication is still voice-based, contact centers are becoming more and more omnichannel, and the agents also get to work with various new technologies.
Think chatbots, cloud-based CRM, intelligent IVR, and more. Make sure to show your potential candidates that you’re an innovative company and that if they come and work for you, they’ll not only get their hands on this latest technology, but they’ll be trained up fully on how to use it, and can, therefore, list another skill on their already impressive resume.
Shifting customer care needs will reflect onto how contact centers work. Positioning your contact center as an innovative company will help you win candidates.
8. Be the employer of choice
If you want to hire great employees and retain staff, one of your fundamental contact center recruiting strategies has to be to become the employer of choice.
What can you do to encourage people to work for you and not for your competitors? Think about what you can offer besides remuneration.
- • Promote your company – No one wants to work for a failing company, so shout about your company’s successes. Sell the positives of working for your company with potential recruits, let them know how quickly you are growing, how rapidly you’re expanding, how many new customers you’re taking on, how your sales are growing exponentially. Get new recruits excited about joining you on this winner’s journey. Because if the company is winning, they’ll be winning.
- • Benefits – If your company offers lucrative bonuses, don’t hide that information away, let it be known that superstar employees are handsomely rewarded. Some people thrive on that form of competition, and those could be the very candidates you want to attract. If you only offer benefits in the form of a free lunch every Friday, say so, every little does help after all.
- • Flexibility – If you offer flexible working, job sharing, home working, or the myriad other flexible working arrangements that mean you can attract a wider pool of candidates, shout about them. Do your working hours fit in with school runs? Can staff start early and finish early to be there for nursery drop off? Can staff work from home if they have a delivery coming? Could you hire diverse applicants? What about retired employees? Or students needing part-time work? All these little flexibilities make a huge impact on employees’ lives, and they cost you next to nothing.
- • Good company culture – Your company culture is the beating heart of your company, not the product it sells, but the environment behind the scenes. If you have a great company culture, not only will this come across in the type of people you recruit, but it will be reflected on to customers and in the products you create. And people want to work in happy environments.
- • Learning – Offer employees the opportunity to develop their skills, to take further education classes. Enhancing their abilities is not just going to help them, but it will help you in the long run too.
- • Career development – If you recruit great people, you want to hold onto them. So why not invest in their career development and make sure that that awesome recruit stays with you to become the next contact center manager? You’ll keep the skills you’ve trained in house, they’ll know the company inside out, and they’ll be incredibly loyal. It’s a win-win.
Investing into these areas will have a long-lasting positive effect on your recruitment efforts, because not only will it reduce your employee churn, thus saving you money having to hire constantly, but it will give you a lot more to shout about and offer potential applicants as part of your contact center recruiting strategy.
Self-development and career progressions are crucial for successful employee engagement of contact center agents. Providing what your employees need will help you become the employer of choice and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
9. Have a killer orientation plan
Don’t think that new employee orientation is over the moment you show your new employee their workstation. Part of your contact center recruiting strategy should involve an orientation plan that will help your new employee feel welcome, and make them feel engaged and productive.
Also, now is a great time to implement your employee referral program. Don’t wait until your recruits have got their feet under the table, get them to refer potential employees from the get-go… they could be generously rewarded for their efforts after all.
Hiring great people for your contact center isn’t an unfulfillable dream. Retaining them isn’t either. Did you know that Arvato, a multinational contact center with over 70,000 employees, managed to decrease unwanted turnover by 63% by setting realistic expectations right from the start? Now that’s a contact center recruiting strategy we’d like to see!