Sitel reduced employee attrition by 45% through digitizing recruitment

About

Sitel Group is a global leader in customer experience (CX), present in more than 30 countries worldwide and serving 400+ customers across industries, including Airbnb, Orange, Lidl, and Renault.

Employees

90,000+

Location

30 countries

Landscape

BPO contact centers

Decrease in attrition

-45%

Frequently filling seats

4x less

Candidate satisfaction

97%

Summary

Sitel Group’s 75,000+ employees connect the world’s most notable brands with their customers, 4.5 million times every day, through voice, chat, social media and more. 

As a global leader in customer support solutions for over 30 years, they go beyond business process outsourcing (BPO) to assist clients at every stage of the CX journey. 

What differentiates Sitel as an employer is a strong emphasis on culture, core values and personal development. Sitel understands that their business is people-driven, and that the best customer experiences are delivered when their associates become an authentic extension of the brands they represent and can leave a lasting impression on customers. 

The company had already embarked on their digital transformation journey with impressive results when they first partnered with Harver. Sitel always believed the associate experience should mirror the customer experience, so their recruitment process, along with the global training and development program, had to reflect this belief.

After seeing great results from the investments made in their employee experience program ‘MAX’, Sitel decided their recruitment strategy should be included in the digital transformation initiative in order to create a hiring process that would offer candidates the same amazing experience.   

Sitel chose Harver because of a shared vision for high volume hiring: the belief that the recruitment process should be engaging, digital, efficient and fair. They needed a process that was future-proof, and implemented globally, but with the option for local customization — something which Harver was uniquely poised to deliver.

Collaboratively, Sitel and Harver defined three main objectives: decreasing employee attrition, improving recruitment efficiency and delivering an engaging candidate experience.  

The results speak for themselves: In the USA, Sitel achieved a 45% decrease in attrition within the first year, having to fill seats 4X less frequently than in the pre-Harver era. During that time, the candidate satisfaction score rose to 97.5% across all the requisitions Sitel hired for using Harver. 

The success of the US implementation further solidified Sitel leadership’s commitment to digital transformation, and at the outset the partnership was expanded to encompass 26 countries around the world. 

 

Challenges

Sitel’s leadership team entered the partnership with Harver to solve three main problems: the high employee turnover rates, the manual, labor-intensive recruitment process, and the candidate experience.

These challenges are common in BPOs, but Sitel decided to address them instead of seeing these problems as a necessary evil or an inherent characteristic of the industry.

Employee Turnover

As most BPOs, Sitel was experiencing high rates of early attrition, mainly due to associates not having a clear understanding of what the job entailed prior to starting. 

While hiring thousands of agents, Sitel’s talent team didn’t have a standardized way to communicate to candidates what the day-to-day work looked like, so they were relying on recruiters sharing this information with applicants. This led to inconsistent expectations from new hires. 

In addition, Sitel’s different customers had specific requirements for different call types. Recruiters couldn’t accurately predict which candidates would fit each brand or position the best, resulting in mis-hiring or mis-placing talent.

Manual recruitment process

Prior to Harver, each step of Sitel’s recruitment process was time consuming and manual, requiring TA teams to spend time sourcing candidates, whittling them down, and scheduling interviews one by one. 

Sitel North America for example, was hiring for over 12,000 roles between brick and mortar and remote positions. In some locations, the recruiters were conducting in-person hiring days, where candidates would visit Sitel’s office to apply, be assessed and interviewed.

With a candidate volume higher than ever before, Sitel’s team was losing valuable work hours to manual tasks, and didn’t have objective data to drive hiring decisions. In addition to the time lost to repetitive tasks, attrition from mis-hiring only added to the volume of roles they needed to fill.

Poor candidate experience

As mentioned above, candidates applying to contact center roles would come to Sitel’s physical locations in the morning, go through various assessments and interviews over the course of eight hours, and receive a hiring decision later on.

This process was not only high-touch and susceptible to bias, but also a large investment of time and energy for candidates. Setting aside a full day for assessments and interviews was a lot to ask of entry level candidates, particularly if they weren’t hired at the end. 

Additionally, it narrowed the talent pool. By requiring candidates to come in to a Sitel location, they missed out on talent that was further away, or even candidates who could apply more easily to another organization. It was also an unsuitable model for Sitel Work from Home, where agents could be hired to work from anywhere in the US.

 

The Objectives

Once Sitel identified the pitfalls of their old recruitment practices, as well as the opportunities they had to improve their operations, the team decided to look for a partner that could help them tackle their main challenges and digitize their hiring process, end-to-end.  

The main objectives for the partnership with Harver were: 

1. Decreasing employee attrition 

As for many contact centers and BPOs, employee attrition was the main challenge for Sitel. To address this issue, the company sought out a solution that would provide candidates an insight into the role beyond the verbal description given to them by recruiters, to help manage expectations and enable them to self-select out of the application process if they didn’t think the job was a right fit. 

2. Improving the efficiency of the recruitment process 

Sitel needed a recruitment solution that was fully digital, to allow their large team of geographically dispersed recruiters to make faster and more consistent hiring decisions at scale. In addition to improving the efficiency of their recruitment process, the CX provider was also looking for ways to take the guesswork out of selection decisions, by implementing a more objective, predictive hiring solution.

3. Improving the candidate experience 

The third objective of the partnership was to offer candidates a better experience. Before the collaboration with Harver, multiple tools were used at different stages of the hiring process, so the recruitment team wasn’t always fully aligned. As a result, there were situations when candidates were called multiple times by different team members, resulting in confusion or even frustration for both parties. Moreover, candidates sometimes had to wait days, or weeks to know if they were hired or not.

"Harver has been our absolute partner of choice to accelerate the digital transformation of our recruitment process."
Mike Small
CEO of Sitel Americas

The Solution

In partnership with Harver, Sitel was able to solve their challenges by transforming key steps of the application process. 

To tackle the employee attrition issue and offer candidates a more engaging experience, Sitel implemented realistic job previews. One of the main contributors to early turnover was the fact that candidate expectations weren’t properly aligned, so they decided to leverage digital tools that combine selling and selecting — identifying top talent while educating candidates about the role.

After implementing Harver, every one of Sitel’s applicants goes through a localized application process – an immersive experience showcasing the role through realistic work scenarios, while assessing the skills and characteristics that predict success with custom situational judgement tests (SJTs).  

In addition to the SJTs, candidate skills and attitude are assessed through a suite of assessments, the application flows being customizable. For example, in the Philippines, a spoken language assessment is part of the journey, while North America works with a live chat simulation.

As applicants complete the tests, the Harver platform collects and analyzes their performance, which is then fed into the ATS, so recruiters don’t even have to switch between tools to assess candidates. Because the entire application process is streamlined and automated, recruiters no longer have to manage stage progression throughout the hiring process, or waste time with manual tasks. 

Using the enriched candidate detail page, recruiters can see if an applicant is suited for a specific call type and if he or she is likely to be a top performer. The custom matching framework scores candidates based on fit not only for the specific vacancy they applied for, but across all call types. This empowers recruiters to make data-driven decisions, and re-route the candidates who might be a fit for a different role than they applied for.  

In addition to the candidate profile insights, the Harver BI suite – Harver Insights, provides rich analytics to help Sitel’s recruitment team optimize the stages of the hiring funnel. In high volume recruitment, data collection and analysis is typically inefficient. With the Harver platform, the team can access out-of-the-box insights dashboards or custom created ones, that show the big picture of the hiring process and how well it’s performing, offering Sitel a new level of business control.

"We really wanted a solution that was objective and scientific, to help us take the guesswork out from trying to decide who would be the best hire. We wanted something that would drive consistency and help us make more objective hiring decisions."
Sally Cornet
Sr. Director of HR, Sitel

Results

Sitel reached their objectives by improving the candidate experience, automating manual tasks and implementing a business intelligence solution that streamlines data collection and analysis. 

Within the U.S., the overall employee turnover rate was reduced by 45% within the first year, and the time to hire has been halved since embarking on their digital transformation journey. An improvement in the quality of hire meant 4X less seats to re-fill in comparison to pre-Harver recruitment numbers. Moreover, Sitel’s candidate satisfaction scores increased across locations, reaching 97.5%. 

By leveraging the Harver BI solution to gain insight into their recruitment operations, from sourcing metrics to experience and bias insights, Sitel now has visibility of their entire recruitment processes, from end to end.

The success of the US implementation further solidified Sitel leadership’s commitment to digital transformation, and at the outset the partnership was expanded to encompass 26 countries around the world.

– 45%

Decrease in employee turnover

As a result of aligning candidate expectations and using data to drive hiring.

4x less

Frequently filling seats

By improving the quality of new hires and educating candidates about the role.

97.5%

Candidate satisfaction

When providing candidates with a fast, engaging and informative experience. 

More Success Stories

Sitel reduced employee attrition by 45% through digitizing recruitment

BPO

How NexRep improved recruiter efficiency by 585% through digital transformation

BPO

How Arvato reduced employee turnover by 63%

BPO