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Call Center Staffing in COVID Times

Does this sound familiar? “Our attrition is up dramatically and our talent acquisition is struggling to keep up.. What is going on?” Well, I hate to break it to you, but you are not alone and all industries that are supported by hourly employees in the US are feeling the crunch.

While every business is different, the main topics in the industry are:

  1. Stimulus payments along with ease of unemployment regulations have made it more advantageous for many lower hourly workers to opt out of the working population.

  2. Schooling at home and the lack of daycare due to Covid 19 makes working at home very challenging for many. The constant distractions, competition for technology (home computers and internet up bandwidth) make it difficult for call center agents to be on calls with all that is going on around them.

  3. Pressure on hourly wage as both government and competition begin to drive up compensation and benefits.

  4. Continued work at home expectations. Many people, after a year of working at home have decided they want to continue this lifestyle and are opting out of companies who have a more traditional view of working from the call center.

Covid has made a shift in our world and I don’t believe that we are “going back to normal” as we know it. We are entering into the new normal, which will look a lot different and challenge leaders and companies to get much more creative if they want to attract and retain talent.

So what can you do about it. Below are 5 strategies you can employ to try and get things under control

  1. More frequent salary adjustments to the associates are doing the math on what their future compensation will be instead of the amount it is today. Start with Quarterly, or Bi-annual raises and make them meaningful to the staff.

  2. Increases based on knowledge and experience, therefore more valuable to the company. Break down roles into narrower bands, allowing your associates to grow quickly in compensation as they learn new skills.

  3. Increased incentive payouts with adherence adjustments. Ensure that there is meaningful $ applied to incentives that will drive behavior.

  4. Pipeline hiring - get ahead of the attrition by pre-hiring for your expected attrition. If your training takes 8 weeks, you should be hiring classes with your expected attrition rate. If you are behind, you need to grow that to what you will need in 2 months plus the gap you have today. Don’t forget the training resources and technology to support them.

  5. Group incentives tied to adherence and productivity. No one wants to let their peers down and group incentives can help with keeping people in the office instead of call out days.

The competition for talent is not a short term issue and as an industry we are all going to be challenged to find ways to retain our employees so they can support our customers with the excellent service they have come to expect. You have to act quickly and decisively to make a difference.

We offer additional detail and depth in the paid content and advisory options of our Resource Hub. If further assistance is required, or if you prefer a more custom solution, contact us to discuss a consulting engagement to help you and your leaders implement these changes.

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