What’s Your Plan For Hiring Talent in Your Call Center?

Call Center Planning

In the call center business, discovering talented agents, managers and supervisors requires a plan. With a plan, the revolving, turnstile of talent is enough to make you nauseous. Finding managerial candidates, present and future, who is the best fit is difficult. In fact, Gallup has discovered that companies mismanage their talent and select the wrong applicant 82 times out of 100! Furthermore, Gallup has determined through its research that “about one in ten people possess high talent to manage.”

?With these staggering numbers, it begs the question: what is ‘talent’?

?Before answering the question, consider what makes a candidate. Determining who is the best fit to manage by promoting an agent to team leader or promoting a team leader to management is driven by three aspects: knowledge, skills, and talent.

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  • Knowledge is raw data or information known by the agent or manager to do the job.
  • Skills are the productive demonstrations of knowledge; practical applications of knowledge to execute job tasks successfully.
  • Talent is the intuitive ability to inherently understand how to use resources for goal-achievement. Gallup defines it as, “the natural capacity for excellence.”

Clearly, you want knowledgeable, skilled and talented candidates (hopefully, multiple candidates) to apply for your jobs in your center. How often do managers or supervisors discuss talent as a criteria to job placement? Think about it. How many times when interviewing a candidate has a manager looked up from the resume and said, “Well, you have some good, call center experience, etc. It looks like you performed well.” Really? And, what about physical attractiveness? While physical attractiveness has some value from a self-esteem standpoint, it seems to get too much consideration, especially in call centers. You don’t have the luxury of only hiring experienced, eye candy. The bottom line: what’s your plan? Hire talent, period. Keep reading.

Fortunately, there are companies that study the correlation between talent and performance. Thanks to Gallup, they have created a checklist of 5 “talent dimensions.” They are:?

  • Motivator – one who is internally driven to succeed; mover and shaker.
  • Assertiveness – whole-hearted applying oneself to tasks confidently.
  • Accountability – taking responsibility for tasks; accepting blame for errors.
  • Relationships – finds interactive ways to connect with others.
  • Decision-making – ability to manage choices and solve problems.

In breaking down these dimensions, Gallup has scaled it. To predict the most talented and productive candidates, those are described as “high.” Slightly lesser are those candidates who are described as “functioning.” A “limited” candidate is one who is the least likely to be a fit for management.

Also, what is remarkable about this Gallup report is the correlation between talent and performance.

  • Managers with “high” talent are twice as likely to be engaged.
  • Managers with “high” talent are better brand ambassadors.
  • Managers with “high” talent are more likely to focus on strengths.

Remember, 90% of your call center employees won’t make the cut to become highly, talented managers. However, agents and managers are engaged when they know their strengths and use them effectively. When a supervisor focuses on the strengths of the agents and managers, it sends a positive affirmation to the team that they are performing well. It doesn’t just happen, though. It begins with a plan. The supervisor must have a plan to acquire and keep talent. Understanding that agent and management engagement requires a conscious effort by supervisors to maintain a positive, strength-focused workplace is a battle worth waging and winning. The battle is won in your call center when talent is cultivated, nurtured and matured into excellence.

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To Your Success,

Greg Meares

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About the Author: Greg Meares

As a Sr. Consultant for Performance Connections, Inc., Greg's primary objective is to provide value to organizations that are focused on raising brand awareness. Additionally Greg works on improving the customer experience, through business process re-engineering, and call center best practices. Greg is an industry expert and is often called upon to provide his analysis and solution oriented approach to improving performance in the BPO and Call Center industry.

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