I just returned from the American Teleservices Association’s (ATA) convention in New Orleans where I had many discussions about issues facing the Call Center and Contact Center Industry. I will be writing about a few of these issues over my next few blogs.

Topic: Retention-How can we keep good people?

This was one of the main topics of conversation among many of the attendees.

There are three main areas where you can improve your retention:

1.    Hiring: The pressure of increasing your employee base to meet hour commitments can force hiring managers to loosen their criteria and put people on the phones who do not have the skills to do the job. This wastes important resources, forcing managers to dedicate extra time to these sub-standard performers instead of working with people who will be more productive.  Focus on hiring those with the correct skills, not just filling seats.

2.   Training: While much of the initial training employees receive may be thorough, how much on-going training is given to the front line employees?  Lack of on-going training creates an environment where employers demand results yet provide no additional guidance to overcome daily obstacles on the job.

3.    Environment: Once you get your employees in the door and through their initial training, the environment you create on a consistent basis will determine how many employees you keep in the long run. Managers that treat people well and work to help their team on a daily basis, earn their loyalty and longevity.

Ask yourself:
•    Do my employees look like they are enjoying their work?
•    Are my managers focusing on training and helping their teams improve?
•    Are my managers taking time to recognize employees for a job well done?
•    Are my managers visible and available to their staff throughout the day?

If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, then more than likely your company will have problems retaining employees. Employees will stay only for as long as they need to, while constantly looking for new opportunities.

Take control of your retention by examining the three areas I listed above.
•    Getting the right people in the seats.
•    Getting the right people to train them consistently.
•    Creating a place where people want to work.

Demanding that your managers focus on being of service to your front line employees will ensure that productivity and retention will follow.

Let me know your thoughts.

Till our paths cross again.