Contact Center Pipeline August 2022 August 2022 - Page 34

ONBOARDING AND TRAINING
Onboarding and training is the third place where misunderstanding job requirements can lead to misalignment .
Few contact centers purposefully align job and worker requirements across the employment lifecycle , recruiting , onboarding , training , and production , though there is usually significant overlap .
Contact centers quickly move new employees through onboarding and training to transform the person from a cost- to a profit center .
During onboarding , centers introduce employees to their new company , coworkers , and job , but it can also sow the seeds of disengagement . Such introductions aim to create a warm welcome that reduces unease and helps new workers acclimate rapidly .
TRAINING UNCOVERS MISALIGNMENT BETWEEN THE RECRUITING PROCESS AND JOB REQUIREMENTS .
However , onboarding can also drive a wedge between a new hire and the company . By positioning the job , schedule , and company in a particularly favorable light , recruiters sometimes lead applicants to form wrong expectations about the employment experience .
For example , new hires regularly learn that the work schedules will be different than anticipated based on discussions during the hiring process . This creates disappointment at a pivotal time in the new hires ' journeys .
New-hire training also immerses new hires into a company ’ s culture while preparing them to perform the job correctly and efficiently . Implicit messages companies send during training may impact a new employee as much as the courses .
However , the large-scale shift from instructor-led training to self-paced learning can make new hires feel isolated and unsupported .
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This undercuts the expectation of a supportive environment established during the recruiting process .
For instance , exit interview data from 2021 through Q1 2022 from an unpublished research project I am working on , suggests that only 27 % of departing agents believe training equipped them with the knowledge , resources , and support to perform the job .
Training uncovers misalignment between the recruiting process and job requirements .
Contact centers generally organize training around four themes , platform , policy , procedure , and product ( s ), over two to twelve weeks , depending on the job .
The complexity and fast-paced nature of the training make first-time contact center employees feel like they are studying a new language while in flight to a foreign country .
Learning a new technology platform , vocabulary , and seemingly endless list of “ do ’ s ” and “ don ’ t do ’ s ” puts tremendous pressure on employees that exposes weaknesses almost instantly .
New contact center employees , at a minimum , must possess six core skills ( computer , keyboarding , processing speed , emotional understanding , communication , and overcoming adversity ) to perform most jobs .
Employees who lack these skills will invariably struggle to complete training , meet performance goals , manage the emotional load , or remain employed long enough to deliver a return on investment .
CONSEQUENCES OF MISALIGNING PEOPLE AND JOBS
Carrying job requirement misspecifications through the employment lifecycle has a compound effect on worker wellbeing and contact center performance .
Contact center jobs place enormous psychological demands on workers .
One of the most harmful outcomes of the work is employee burnout , which is composed of :
· Emotional exhaustion ( feeling overextended emotionally and drained by demands and stress ).
· Detachment ( a negative attitude towards customers ).
· Underachievement ( feeling ineffective ).
At least one study suggests that burnout is a process that begins with emotional exhaustion and detachment , though the path between detachment and underachievement is less clear .
The convergence of job complexity , pace , monitoring , and a variety of customers create the perfect conditions for emotional exhaustion in two ways .
First , contact centers drive emotional exhaustion by relying on inaccurate or incomplete job requirements .
Recruiting generates new hires who frequently misunderstand the job or lack essential skills , ensuring immediate disconnects between workers and the job .
Onboarding and training add to the problem by exposing and exacerbating worker-job misalignments , straining new hires when they are most vulnerable .
Second , research shows that customer interactions , lack of autonomy , performance monitoring , and customer hostility increase emotional exhaustion .
DISTANCING AND DETACHMENT
Employees working in jobs where they receive punishment for issues over which they have little control may distance themselves from the company , coworkers , and customers .
A metric-driven environment , such as contact centers , is susceptible to employee detachment . For example , one of the most common KPIs in contact centers is customer satisfaction ( CSAT ), a well-intentioned metric that summarizes customer sentiment about an employee ’ s performance .