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Outsourcing – five tips to attract and retain top talent

Article by Jo Regan-Iles, EMEA HR Director - Sitel.
Working in what most people label as a Call Centre is rarely seen as the most attractive career choice. However, at Sitel we have worked hard to develop a robust and powerful recruitment model which helps us attract and nurture the right talent for our organisation.

It’s that model which has supported 50 percent growth in the past 18 months with over 50 percent of roles being filled by internal promotions. However, many organisations’ struggle to get the balance right when it comes to keeping employees happy and keeping costs down.

When employees aren’t satisfied it affects morale and their ability to fulfill their assigned roles. Poorly trained employees are less likely to pass on the necessary knowledge and information to customers and the whole customer experience becomes compromised. A further challenge from unsatisfied employees comes in the form of the cost to retrain and source new employees when departures occur. This can be more detrimental to your business and its bottom line than investing in your employees in the first place. Not to mention disgruntled and disengaged staff can often bring about a negative effect resulting from poor customer service that can take an organisation and also the industry years to rebuild and repair. Here are our 5 top tips for achieving employee engagement bliss to keep your business growing.

Set expectations at selection stage – be transparent
Consistent, transparent and open communication is key. Set-out expectations at the selection stage. Be honest about what the job entails and find what makes your role special, as this is how you will find people who are genuinely interested in what you have on offer.

Due to the nature of our business we have lots of clients. As a result our teams are full of people who enjoy the variety that this brings and for them leads to more interesting work. We use a bespoke recruitment strategy for each client and we are always holding recruitment fairs for future candidates. We found that an attractive ‘recommend a friend’ initiative has helped boost our talent pool too. 25 percent of our new employees are recommended by friends and in Q4 we recruited over 1200 new people for seasonal client requirements. Existing employees can be your greatest recruitment tool with the right incentives, inspiration and motivation.

Offer flexibility
Flexibility is a key requirement for lots of jobseekers.  We know that people, including our own, want a healthy work-life balance and don’t always want to work 9–5. We employ lots of part-time employees, and in our industry we are able to provide various different working hours, which our employees tell us they like.

Provide recognition and training
People look for a company where they can grow. Many people have career aspirations and want to know how they will progress.  A recruitment model that matches brand values to employee hiring allows focus on what employees can bring to the organisation as well as what the organisation will bring to them. We look for great communicators, real team players and people who ask ‘how do we do that?’

Training managers to be good coaches and lead the teams to understand and live brand values helps to unite everyone and shows them how to get to where they want to be.  We have had great experience in offering courses to help staff advance themselves, and now we have over 500 courses open to all our employees and can be completed at home or at work.

Have engagement initiatives outside of training and remember your employees are people!
Supporting employees outside of training is more than a good idea; it is essential. Our employees told us that they love working with their friends, so if we lose employees it isn’t just one of those things, it can send ripples through teams that distract, or at worst impede work. Therefore, we do all we can to create and maintain a happy workplace, and allow employees to develop relationships with others from across the organisation. This prevents isolation within teams and lessens the impact of single departures.

We offer reduced gym memberships, free fruit every week and have a packed employee engagement calendar so that everybody can get involved. Summer and Christmas parties for employees and their families, as well as activities to support local charities, also drive a sense of wider community surrounding work. The most important way to keep employees feeling happy and respected is also the most obvious. Treat them like people. Involve your employees in business decisions. Get to know your staff. Fostering a ‘People First’ culture, and measuring how people are feeling towards work and the company though employee surveys, then helps ensure what you are doing is taking you in the right direction.

Forge a strong HR team
An organistaion’s strength can lie in its recruitment strategy and HR team. HR need to know the business and local communities inside out. To ensure this, give them time to expand their own horizons through CIPD training and immersion within teams across the wider business, to better understand just what staff do across departments and teams.