Ways to Attract Skilled Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market
With unemployment at a record low, employers in the retail industry face new challenges as the demand for customer service representatives is projected to grow 10 percent by 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. As business leaders realize that customers have far more choices than ever before — and that concentrating their efforts and investments on the right customer segments will yield the most value — “customer centricity” has become a strategic pillar within many organizations. Companies are looking for candidates who can represent them positively through their interactions with customers, which means that excellent interpersonal skills are a must for potential hires.
Unfortunately, as the record unemployment figures suggest, there remains a significant shortage of qualified talent. What can call center decision makers do to attract and retain skilled workers in such a tight talent market?
Tips to Attract Skilled Workers
Today, skilled workers don't remain free agents on the talent marketplace for long, so companies need to get creative in their talent acquisition strategies. According to a recent study by Randstad US, competitive salaries and benefits, job security, and better work-life balance are what matter most to employees today. Call-center management can attract the right talent by realigning their hiring strategies to meet these needs.
Here are three ways to entice the best customer representatives to join your team:
- Revamp your employer brand. Eighty-six percent of candidates would not apply for jobs with companies that have bad reputations with former employees or the general public. Simply put, companies with strong employer brands attract strong candidates. Furthermore, old strategies won't work in today’s post-digital workforce in which millennials have made up the majority since 2016. In general, millennials are known for their desire to do meaningful work with digitally forward companies. Call centers should re-evaluate their values and strive to constantly communicate their brand attributes to both active and passive job seekers. This strategy helps enhance employer reputation and create a pipeline of interested candidates. Try to showcase an inviting work culture, with technology-centered capabilities. In no time, you’ll see the pool of interested, qualified applicants rise.
- Review salary and benefits offerings. Across genders, generations and education levels, employees say that attractive salary and benefits are critical factors when choosing an employer. In today’s competitive talent landscape, then, aligning pay with the overall market isn’t enough. Your compensation offerings need to be more attractive than those of your competitors. And it’s not just about compensation. A comprehensive benefits package can also be a determining factor when candidates are deciding on job offers. In fact, 61 percent of employees would be willing to accept lower salaries provided their employers offered great benefits packages.
- Offer flexibility and remote work. According to a recent study, 82 percent of U.S. workers say the ability to work from anywhere at any time enables them to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In the call-center environment, too, the option to work remotely will be a major differentiator for candidates.
Ramp Up Your Retention Efforts
Don’t overlook your existing employees. When their needs aren’t met, it can lead to negative consequences like call avoidance, excessive hold times and, worse, an influx of bad customer reviews. Not addressing current employees can also increase employee turnover, resulting in knowledge loss and reduced productivity. On top of that, there are the high costs associated with recruiting, hiring and training replacements. Companies with high retention rates are able to avoid these challenges and get the most value from their top-performing representatives.
Whatever your hiring needs, and no matter whether you’re hiring for a full-time or a temporary role, the fact is skilled candidates are in higher demand than ever before. Top candidates today often receive multiple job offers at a time, so it's imperative that your team not only moves fast but also offers best-in-class perks and benefits. The most successful call centers are aware that having the right customer service representatives determines whether they succeed or fail. Identify your company’s blind spots, re-evaluate your hiring strategy and have the right tools in place to position your business as an ideal place to work.
Greg Dyer is the president of commercial staffing at Randstad US, an employment/recruitment agency for temporary and permanent staffing.
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Greg leads a team of strategic account directors and in-house leaders at Randstad US. He has a proven track record of establishing solid go-to-market strategies, setting and communicating vision and goals, and executing and delivering outstanding results in terms of growth and profitability. He is responsible for strategic commercial sales, client delivery and account management for many of Randstad's largest, most complex clients. Under Greg’s leadership, Randstad has significantly improved its strategic client delivery and fulfillment in many client staffing programs.