How call centers improve their employee onboarding program

How call centers improve their employee onboarding program

Julie Pearl Published on June 24, 2014

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A look at any leading call center company in the Philippines can prove the impact of proper employee onboarding to the productivity of the workforce and the overall success of the company. Top outsourcing firms are aware that how new hires are welcomed to, educated about, and immersed into the workplace can determine their performance down the line and even length of their stay.

If the onboarding program is well-thought-out and considers the needs and preferences of workers, then the call center can save itself from the detriments of high agent attrition.

The secret is in treating the onboarding process as more than just an aspect of employee orientation. It would be best in the contact center setting that this process should not be a mere phase that agents go through and then suddenly stops. What normally happens is that for weeks or months, they get an overwhelming supply of information, backed with manuals, and before they could even completely absorb the teachings, they are thrown into the production floor on their own, expected to know the ins and outs of the trade and function as a reliable asset of the company.

Onboarding is a gradual, continuous course

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Call center onboarding should be an ongoing process, not a one-time program. From the moment an employee accepts an offer, a gradual flow of information should start. Begin with the basics such as the company s mission and the brand’s image, and then transition to position-specific information like performance metrics and job expectations.

Other departments in the company should also be involved in the knowledge transfer, with each of them playing a different role in welcoming the new workers. The stakeholders should be there to give an overview about the company, human resources personnel must also be present to let agents know about employee guidelines, while the team leaders or supervisors should be tasked to take care of the operational aspects of the onboarding, and the old team members are directly responsible for helping the newbies adjust to the work culture. All these should be done following a definite timeframe.

Other than these fundamentals, here are more tips for strategizing an effective onboarding program:

1. Let new hires know what to expect

Before they report for the first day, you could give employees a welcome letter that can also serve as an invitation to the onboarding activities that they will be partaking in. Outline the points that they will learn and who will facilitate every session. After their training and orientation, you could continue sending messages to check up on them and allow them to review how much they have absorbed so far.

2. Don’t be overly formal

Programs shouldn’t be classroom lecture-type sessions. Hold relaxed get-togethers or lunch gatherings from time to time to give a more welcoming feel to the new employees.

3. Break down modules into smaller lessons

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Dumping loads of information at one time can overwhelm agents and make it harder for them to take in lessons. As such, it’s advisable to break down lectures into smaller sessions. You could also split the time spent on each skill development and alternate it with breaks instead of dedicating one whole month to nonstop training.

4. Use the buddy system

Each new agent could be assigned with a mentor who will answer questions that come with a new position without making the new worker feel like a burden. This mentorship should be formalized by establishing a meeting schedule and should continue until the fresh hire becomes more comfortable with the job and asks fewer questions.

Call center onboarding should ideally have a welcoming mood because it is, after all, done as a way of welcoming new agents into the company. This is the part of employees’ time in the organization that could determine how much they want to stay in the business, so take this opportunity to prove that being part of the company is a worthwhile experience.

As one of Open Access BPO's content writers, Julie Pearl shares her BPO knowledge through her blog posts, research papers, and other resources. She writes about outsourcing news and call center management tips and insights.

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