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How good are your people?

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By Martin Conboy

recruitmentWhether it’s for managing front office or back offices processes, outsource service providers need to recruit the best available talent and then keep them. As clients look to service providers to provide the necessary skills, strategic advice and innovation to assist their organisations, service providers need personnel who are operating at the top of their game.  A host of new technologies and approaches have emerged that allow outsourcing providers to better manage their recruitment needs now and into the future.

As the outsourcing industry attempts to redefine itself and its value proposition, BPO

As the outsourcing industry attempts to redefine itself and its value proposition, BPO providers face a number of significant challenges in terms of recruiting, managing and retaining staff.

providers face a number of significant challenges in terms of recruiting, managing and retaining staff. Needless to say to meet their SLAs they need to maintain sufficient staffing levels and access to skills to ensure clients receive the quality of service they require.

Clients can have particularly high expectations in terms of quality, security, timeliness and consistency. Their expectations of their outsourcing partner can be much more sophisticated than what they expect from their own internal departments. After all why would they outsource it if they could do it better themselves? And of course they want their expectations met at reduced rates relative to their own internal cost structures.

  1. Employing and managing large and dynamic workforces

BPO service providers often need to recruit and train a large number of people in a short period of time. As well as consuming a large number of resources to manage this, ensuring the quality of the people they are hiring can be a significant challenge.

The employment of large numbers of employees requires an extremely efficient and consistent recruitment process based on competency and behavioural based assessments. Inconsistencies and no uniformity of process increase the likelihood of mis-hiring or rejecting the most suitable candidates for your organisation.

Everyone involved in the recruitment and selection process needs to be on the same page. Regardless of who’s doing the hiring, internal hiring managers or third party providers, consistency and efficiency need to be the focus of the entire process.

To improve the efficiency of the recruitment process, a range of automation and online tools have emerged over the last decade

Competition for quality employees in popular BPO Locations can be extremely high. As talent markets dry up companies may decide to move beyond the traditional BPO strongholds…

or so. If nothing else these tools will encourage one to define and map out ones recruitment process and identify key competencies and behavioural characteristics required for the roles being recruited.

Most of these tools will process job postings and handle applications, eliminating a range of repetitive and time consuming tasks associated with recruitment. But any automation added to processes and activities not well planned or designed will cause inconsistencies and problems to occur.

Business Process Modeling (BPM) is the mapping out of a company’s processes with the goal of improving their efficiency. BPM is commonplace in operations management, however it’s value transcends into all areas of business operations.

Sophisticated outsourcing organisations are starting to understand their cost per hire (CPH) as a metric to manage costs in the recruitment process. Not counting the actual sometimes not insignificant amounts of money spent on marketing and promotions to attract people to actually apply for a position, the actual costs associated with screening and processing applicants can be a daunting number.

A successful job applicant will move through a number of steps from the time they apply through to their on boarding and training. Any inefficiency in the recruitment process can have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line, while also wasting every body’s valuable time. Most organisations have a ‘hidden factory’ that sits underneath the real company and does all of the rework and duplication of effort that no body is paying for.

Analysing past hiring data can be used to map and identify the characteristics and criteria that have contributed to successful hires. What characteristics do people have – who stay with the company and succeed in their roles they were recruited for?

  1. Competition for staff in tight labour markets
Competition for quality employees in popular BPO Locations can be extremely high. As talent markets dry up companies may decide to move beyond the traditional BPO strongholds in places like Asia and into one of the emerging markets in Africa, Eastern Europe or South America and the Caribbean Companies move into these markets to take advantage of the blossoming talent base and as they do so they need to work with the society and education systems to ensure that the people entering the employment market from university in four to five years time will have the type of skills that they will be looking for.
  1. Remuneration and costs.

In tight labour markets remuneration costs can quickly escalate reducing margins or increasing prices for clients. Retaining key personnel and mid-level management becomes paramount. There are a number of strategies to help with retention and attracting staff beyond offering higher salaries and benefits.

An effective strategy can be to become an employer of choice by building brand loyalty and equity with employees. Companies like Transcom in the Philippines have set the benchmark here with their culture changing music videos strategy. Help employees with their professional and personal development while providing them with a positive and encouraging work environment. Even if they leave your company they will remain ambassadors to your brand and promote the benefits of working for your organisation.
March 7, 2015
Comments
  1. Craig Stevens said on March 13, 2015 1:03 am:

    This article is right on target…at the core of any contact center is its people and the obtainment/retainment of the people you want to have working with you is paramount to success. Unfortunately this often overlooked, individuals are looked at as pawns and hence the retention rates are often 50% or more per year. This is another area in which contact centers and outsourcing vendors are quickly changeable components vs being seen as an integral component to a firm’s ongoing success.

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