Recruiting and Retaining Talent
Illustration by Patrick Trouvé

Is your current recruiting and hiring strategy the same one that’s been in place for the past five or 10 years? If so, you’ve just uncovered a key reason for high turnover in your contact center. Here are four tips that will help you compete for—and hold onto—highly skilled service staff.

Define your mission statement. What type of employee do you need to carry out the organization’s strategies and goals? Although many contact centers are still hiring based on phone skills, consider the additional competencies that your staff will need as your organization moves into an omnichannel environment, such as the ability to communicate well via chat, text and social media.

Screen out unsuitable characteristics. Poor screening techniques contribute to high turnover. Many centers use a “screen-in” methodology in which job applicants are stack-ranked to match most of the characteristics of an ideal customer service rep (e.g., empathetic, friendly, organized, efficient, etc.). However, matching those characteristics doesn’t account for how satisfied a person would be with a job in which they have to use all of those qualities at the same time. A more effective technique is to screen out the characteristics that would be a bad fit for the job.

Focus more attention on new-hire retention. Many centers measure agent attrition monthly or annually, yet a substantial amount of turnover takes place in the first 90 days on the job. Set 90- and 180-day retention goals for your supervisors and managers to drive accountability for new-hire retention.

Help supervisors build quality relationships with their reports. An employee’s decision to stay or leave often comes down to their relationship with their direct supervisor. Take a hard look at your supervisor-to-agent ratio. Does it allow supervisors to connect personally with every individual on their team? A good ratio that allows supervisors to effectively engage their team is 10 to 12 agents per supervisor—higher ratios result in declining performance, lower customer satisfaction and agent turnover.