Unlock Learning opportunities in your Contact Centre

Contact centres: the abundance of learning opportunitiescolorful teamwork

Tina Forrester, Group Manager at Blizzard Entertainment has kindly shared her views on employee development in this week’s blog.

Have you ever sat back and thought about this within your contact centre environment?

The ebb and flow of emails, tickets and calls go through their peaks and troughs; new people are brought on board and given new hire training and the world continues in its cycle. The pressure to achieve key performance indicators and to achieve service levels can often take precedence.

High attrition rates and poor morale are often quoted as reasons why people may not be attracted to our environment, as well as the concept that everything is controlled and scripted.

To counter this perception, I would like you to consider the abundance of learning opportunities that the contact centre provides. Working in outsourced centres, in particular, can bring a wealth of exposure to different types of industry and business, growing your business skills further.

Typically our industry would provide career progression through potentially three levels of Customer Service Representative positions, followed by a team leader promotion, and beyond that to a team manager.

Building skills for these transitions and beyond will mean that individuals may need to look at themselves in a different way, ie “What got you here, wont get you there”. The demands of our constantly changing environments, diversity in the workplace with multi skilled teams and channels can put the pressure on fledgling leaders. Emotional Intelligence focussing on understanding individual needs and matching those to the business can be a minefield and the need to manage behaviour in stressful situations can be daunting.

Some recommended reading on this topic includes books such at “Its All Your Fault” by Bill Eddy (2008) and “Toxic Workplace” by Mitchell Kusy and Elizabeth Holloway (2009) offer some practical advice.

In addition, Daniel Goleman has many books the importance of emotional intelligence which can be viewed free on-line

Taking a more strategic view and looking at who are our potential leaders and how do we encourage and develop them can take some time. Offering developmental pool on-the-job training and work experience can help to bridge the gap between the high potential performers and give them valid work experience that can be used in interviews as credible examples of what they have learnt and where they have applied it.

Simple steps can be taken within the organisation to develop effective programmes, without a high level of cost, and at the same time, engaging employees and developing talent.

Step one

  • For the role, define what good looks like (hard and soft skills)

Step two

  • Take the competencies from the above and build a programme focussed on classroom-based training and on-the-job learning
  • Identify peers for peer-to-peer shadowing and transfer of knowledge

Step three

  • Build a framework to identify potential candidates for the programme ( e.g. Performance Appraisals, high potential and limited exposure to role, runners up for roles in the past due to lack of experience)
  • Identify potential candidates to benefit from the programme, gather feedback from managers

Step four

  • Build programme, working with key stakeholders and define content and measures of success
  • Think about how you may want to capture learning and how to share with others (learning journals, presentations from group on key learning achieved etc)
  • You may decide to break down into phases and assign mentors to the candidates so that they can benefit from insight from others who are not their direct line manager

Communicate:

  • the purpose of the programme
  • how you can join in
  • what you/your manager/the organisation can expect
  • how this adds value to the organisation
  • how success will be measured

If your organisation is already implementing this type of programme please let us know and we can share your experience with other members.

This entry was posted in Human Resources, Talent Management, Training & Development and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Unlock Learning opportunities in your Contact Centre

  1. Elaine Dineen says:

    Great post Tina, as a recruiter is is great to see management take the time to develop and nurture their employees so that when their applications reach my desk they have credible experience to bring to interview and hopefully apply to their new role.

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