SOCAP International

5 Ingredients for Success in Your Training Development & Retention Efforts

Having staff enjoy their roles is a win-win. Use these techniques to help them get off to a strong start.


Having staff enjoy their roles is a win-win. Use one or more of these techniques to help them get off to a strong start.

No-Cost Ways to Help Hires Stay—and Stay Happy

  • Build rapport with new hires early on, as it pays dividends
    in the long term.
  • Share personal experiences about on-job challenges to open up lines of communications.
  • Have new hires to sit with your WFM staff or scheduler so they see the bigger
  • Offer them a way to be involved in a project that falls outside their normal scope
    of work.
  • Tap skills your new hires may have in other areas so they can stretch their talents.

After a time-consuming process of vetting and interviewing the best applicants, human resources notifies you that your candidates have accepted their offers. You are super excited about the fresh new talent joining your team. Your key performance indicators will start to trend in the right direction, and all will be right with the world again.

It’s important to remember, though, that about 6% to 9% of the total operational costs associated with a customer care representative are attrition related, according to the Everest Group, with recruitment and onboarding/training accounting for 62% to 70% of those overall attrition costs. 

With this significant investment of time and money in mind, here is a season-to-taste recipe for achieving healthier success in your training, development and retention efforts.

1. Build rapport.

Whether you have just hired one or many to join your customer care team, insist that the immediate supervisor and at least one other manager (the more senior the better) make a point to drop in on the training session and introduce themselves to the trainees. Mingle with them on their breaks. You will be pleasantly surprised how rapport building in the early stages translates for your new hires, and goes a long way in making them feel welcome and important to the organization.

2. Add yourself to the training agenda.

If you’re not directly training the new hires, check in on them. If you have a training agenda, use it to see when particular training activities start and stop. Better still, revise your agenda to include some one-on-one time at specific intervals in the training. If you know a particularly challenging topic is being covered, schedule a few minutes at the end of the session and share your own experiences. Remember your new hires may be feeling overwhelmed, but this gives them insight early on that you are accessible and want to have a servant-leadership role with them.

3. Develop an incubation or an on-the-job training program.

Training is complete. Is your new hire ready to represent your organization? Perhaps. Depending on the size of your service team and general nature of your calls, studies show that the first 60 to 90 days is a critical tipping point for your new hire. This is a time when they really formulate if they love, like or hate their new role. 

If you don’t have a new hire incubation or on-the-job training program, consider developing one as an extension of your in-class training. Leverage your training, quality assurance, workforce management staff, if applicable, to be involved. If you or someone else on your team is responsible for staff scheduling and planning, find time in the first 60 to 90 days for new hires to sit with your workforce management staff or scheduler. This is a good opportunity to show your new hires how scheduling
is done and the impact different volume or staff variances can have on the team. This type of insight into the bigger picture will help new hires further understand their importance to your organization and customers.

4. Delegate projects or initiatives.

Your new hire is progressing as you expected. With many customer care roles, the day-to-day basically means a headset is on and you’re tethered to a workstation handling contacts. This can be the toughest part of working in a customer care environment. 

Identify one or more small projects that you can have your new hires either run entirely or maybe just complete a few aspects of. Show that you have confidence in them. If possible, give them a generous due date so they don’t feel too much pressure, and when it’s completed, praise them. This provides a good “change up” for a few hours or longer. If your service and staffing levels permit, ask other departments if they have some tasks you can delegate.

5. Tap the team’s other skills.

One of the true unheralded luxuries of the customer care industry is the diversity of skills and backgrounds that even smaller customer care teams can have. Don’t overlook these riches at your fingertips. Review your team’s resumes. Highlight particular skills and list them on a simple spreadsheet. 

If a project or initiative arises (inside or outside of your department), make this spreadsheet the first place you look! Someone on your team could very well have a degree in education. Maybe they can take a crack at revising your training materials (See No. 4). You may have a representative that has training as a nurse. Who better to head up the health and safety committee that you have been meaning to get started! 

At the end of the day, having staff enjoy their roles is a win-win. The positive impact on revenues, profits and customer satisfaction results has been undisputed for years. Let one or more of these ingredients marinate in your existing culture, and your training, development and retention results will be much healthier! 

Dowrich_headshotMichael Dowrich is senior consultant, outsourced customer support solutions for @liveconx, a multi-award winning Canadian contact centre provider. Since 1999, Michael has earned the trust and respect of his clients by working to understand their industry and organizational challenges, and mapping those challenges to outsourced multi-channel and multilingual solutions that deliver desired business outcomes year after year.