EXPERT EDGE

Retention – Hire The Right People – And Then Keep Them!

Employee attrition has been identified as a significant driver in the cost of customer churn. The quantifiable costs associated with hiring and training your people, along with the value of proficiency that comes with experience and tenure, can have a serious impact on your organization’s bottom line. It’s important to know your organization’s attrition rate, consider the costs associated with staff turnover, and take steps to improve your employee retention.

Work hard to create an environment where your staff feels valued and enjoys coming to work. Your efforts will likely result in a positive impact on both employee and customer retention.

While there has been much research on attrition rates, there is no one perfect number. The value of your skilled employees, and the cost to replace them, can vary based on your industry, organization, location, required skillsets, and many other factors. In a simple and scripted environment, where we have seen automation reduce the number of associates required, a higher attrition rate may be acceptable because the cost to replace them is less. However, in a more complex B2B organization, in addition to the gains in efficiency and proficiency associated with tenured employees, agents often build rapport and establish relationships with their customers. These relationships can support brand loyalty, and the loss of these employees can carry a much greater cost.

Once you realize the importance of employee retention, evaluate your attrition on an ongoing basis. Determine what is an acceptable rate for your organization, watch it carefully, anticipate changes, and analyze unexpected changes. Then, take steps to improve your ability to retain your employees and reduce attrition.

So, how do you do that? After you have hired the right people, provide them with the training, tools, and support they need to succeed.

Training – Employees can be frustrated, intimidated and ineffective without the training required to do the job effectively.
Initial technical and soft-skills training is paramount.
Try to schedule new hire training on the shift your new employees will be working. This will help them adjust to the schedule and observe and take training calls on the shift they will be working after they complete training.
Consider training in stages when appropriate. Train on easier tasks first, give them the opportunity to apply that learning, and then have them return for training on progressively more complex subjects and skills.
Consider peer mentor training. This provides opportunities to strong staff members and helps new employees assimilate in their new position on the team.
Training should be ongoing.
Traditional classroom and one-on-one training can be costly and difficult to accommodate, especially after the initial training. Be creative in your approach to training. Online training, webinars, contests and gamification are successful strategies that can increase learning and reduce operational impact.
Schedule training to minimize the impact on both the operation and the employee’s personal life.
Evaluate training on an on-going basis.
Training needs change over time. Technical enhancements, new products or services, changes in policies or regulations, and much more can result in outdated and ineffective training.
Evaluate the effectiveness of training to identify needed changes to the training curriculum and delivery.
Tools – Without the necessary tools, even your best agents can’t succeed.
Provide your employees with the tools they need to do a great job – headsets, computers, reference materials, feedback and anything else they need to be successful.
Make sure they know and understand your metrics, KPIs and any other pertinent measures. Help them realize the impact their individual performance can have on the customer and the organization’s success.
Let agents listen to their call recordings for self-evaluation purposes. This can be a valuable tool to help them hear the customer’s perspective, build confidence, and recognize areas they can work to improve.
Support – Leadership support plays a key role in retention.
Have the right people in leadership roles and ensure leaders have the training, tools and empowerment required to do their jobs in supporting the front-line staff.
Be available and visible to your staff in a supportive, not policing, way.
Ensure two-way communication – listen to them, and share with them.
Give your employees regular feedback and help them view qualitative and quantitative evaluations as a positive method to recognize their contributions and identify how you can help them grow to new heights.
Provide developmental and growth opportunities.
Finally, don’t forget the value of ongoing recognition. Pay your staff competitive wages and ask what is important to them.

Whether it’s a simple “thank you” or a bonus, everyone wants to be recognized for his or her efforts. Work hard to create an environment where your staff feels valued and enjoys coming to work. Your efforts will likely result in a positive impact on both employee and customer retention.

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