High Turnover Rate vs. Sales Recruitment

High Turnover Rate vs. Sales Recruitment

Call Centers are known for hiring a lot and it’s not necessarily a good thing for anyone (especially not for a contact center itself). Some time ago I wrote an article about employee turnover and one of my suggestions on preventing this rate from going too high was paying more attention towards who you’re hiring. Seems to be easier said than done, so to prove that wrong here’re some examples on how to reduce your high turnover rate by improving the sales recruitment habits in your company.

Know who you’re hiring.

Meet John, he’s just about two years in in college. Quite a good student but not really enough to get a scholarship. As every student on the planet: in need of money, so he decides to look for a job, part-time, of course – school and friends aren’t something he’d like to put aside. There are not many places he can apply for a job though. Being a waiter isn’t necessarily what he wants, proposed salary doesn’t seem to be enough to cover his needs. His lack of experience makes it all more difficult, yet again, where he was supposed to gain his experience? Searching for job offers, he finds Call Center add and decides to give it a try, because how hard making phone calls could be? 

Throughout last couple of years Call Center’s became a common place for college graduates, students or even high-school graduates to work. There’s couple of reasons for it:

  • No special skills needed – at least to get the job
  • Usually elastic working hours
  • Relatively high payment  
  • It seems easy and effortless

Mainly, work at Call Center isn’t hard to get (personally I haven’t heard about anyone being rejected trying to get it). The tough part is keeping the job and I don’t only mean it in “not to get yourself fired” way but also not wanting to quit. There’s not many people aware of that, stepping into this business. Sadly, without knowing what’s the job truly about – you’re not gonna last long in it.

The elastic working hours make Call Center perfect for anyone looking for a part-time job. There aren’t only students and college grads. According to chron.com part-time workers are more often expected to leave than those working full-time. Numbers seem to confirm that, as the turnover rate is 26% and 33% for part-time agents, that’s quite a difference (and quite high turnover rate). In many cases people struggle while trying to work, study and accomplish many other things as well. It’s hardly even to have that many responsibilities, not to mention doing all of them right.

Another thing is that many people don’t really treat this sort of work seriously. They know that it’s only temporary option and don’t care (and think that there’s not much to mess up with making calls anyway). This is where the motivational system of the company comes into force, but usually there’s not much it can do to change this sort of attitude. Employees thinking that way are usually in for the money, as a payment in Call Center is usually quite good, but often even financial motivation isn’t enough for them to learn how to cope with a stressful job like this.

This sort of reckless behaviour gains company the costs. But the fault isn’t only on the side of unprepared employees, if it was the case the companies couldn’t do anything to defend themselves. The truth is, that the blame is partially yours and the sooner you admit that, the better. 

High turnover = high costs

Employee turnover may actually have some good sides to it. It’s not rainbows and butterflies, but without it you’d probably be stuck with some employees who don’t want to work with you (but don’t mind their salaries). Of course, it’s not nice to terminate your agents, they don’t enjoy quitting either, but there’s myriad of situations in which you can honestly admit that ending your relationship was the best decision for both sides.

There’s this one big downside to it: costs. Employee turnover is pricy, the high employee turnover is a burden most companies cannot take. Replacing one employee with another generates enormous costs you probably can’t afford, and even if you can take it: you don’t necessarily wish to.

Blaming sales recruitment

You can do that, sure, you can blame sales for the high turnover rate you’re having. Moreover, you’ll be partially right making arguments that sales recruitment is filled up with mistakes, starting with setting basically no requirements, though brief job interviews. People applying may not be completely aware of what they’re signing up for but those who hire them – are. Even someone not really responsible for recruitment, as a manager you’re able to help with improvement of this process, especially that you’re the one dealing with its results.

How can you improve sales recruitment?

  • Look around your company at your best-performing agents. They definitely have some crucial skills in common. These are the features you should be searching for in your candidates. Make a list of them, „a profile of a perfect agent” if you wish. Remember that some of these skills can be taught (like a smooth talk for example) but the agents training is quite meaty already and individual skills aren’t something you can really learn from the start.
    Also, there are some other things worth making a note of, e.g. if your best agents are similar age, have a comparable education or different, not necessarily obvious features.
  • Meet with the recruitment stuff – if you’re not sure of how the recruitment process even looks like you should immediately get yourself informed. It’s not necessary only to be able to tell if it meets your expectations but also with your further work with your team. After all, your people are being chosen there, you should be aware of how it happens.
  • Make sure that candidates are being informed of everything that comes along with the job. Usually people try to stray from saying bad things about themselves or the things they represent but if the candidates aren’t aware that the task isn’t as easy as they thought and all they’d get is info about how amazing the benefits of the job are – you will end up with the team of people whose expectations won’t be fulfilled. They will be disappointed and resign after some time.
  • Track agents attrition – if there’s a trend you’ll see it and that can be really helpful in a recruitment process.

There’s surely more things you, as a manager, could do to improve the sales recruitment process at your Call Center, for example, the idea of making something called exit interviews – talks with those who are leaving, asking them why they’ve decided to quit and making the opposite of the “perfect agent” profile. I’ve just mentioned the ones I find elementary and that in my opinion could truly help preventing the high turnover rate. Nevertheless, it shows how much you can do, not even being in the position of actual sales recruitment.

Although there’s definitely many flaws in the recruitment system of many Call Centers is it really the main reason for the high turnover rate? It’s definitely the area that could improve a lot and make a difference. Unfortunately changing one thing and forgetting about other reasons never works, they need to be noticed and talked about as well. Nevertheless, looking closer at how the sales recruitment works and improving that is a good place to start.

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