Outsourcing and Call Center Blog

4 June, 2007

Thou shalt train thy staff well

Filed under: BPO,Call Center,HR & Staffing,Outsourcing — shamrin @ 18:22

A while back I wrote the first article in what I intend to be a series of articles based on “The Ten Commandments for Industry” as outlined in a recent speech by the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh. The article was titled Corporate Responsibility and it covered some thoughts I have on how important it is for BPOs and especially Call Centres to think proactively about what we can do to help our staff grow. There is a complementary piece today on BPO India citing an Offshoring Times article on the topic of worklife at BPOs.

The article paints a pretty rosy and sometimes over the top picture of the training provided to BPO staff which I doubt is being done universally, but it certainly should be or at least much of it. For example:

It is important to ensure that the skills to handle people ably and manage and motivate them competently are present in the candidate before entrusting him or her with such responsibilities.

This seems self-evident as written, but I know in the process of regular activity many good agents are promoted to team leader without adequate preparation. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to be a good manager and leader, we shouldn’t expect our staff to be born with this skill. In a recent management meeting here our HR department stated, “People don’t quit companies, they quit managers”. This is kind of a negative spin on a good management idea (studies show that having a good boss can be worth more than getting a good raise), but it is basically correct and perhaps hones-in on the zeitgeist of this high-attrition business.

By providing better training to our staff, not just in the functional areas of their project but in leadership, in management, in life skills, etc. we build them up and we build up the staff that is, or will be, under their charge. Moreover, I can’t prove it but I believe that they will stay with us longer, alleviating the key challenge of attrition we face.

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3 Comments »

  1. I agree with the importance of better training (and constant uptraining) to the staff of BPO’s.

    As an active CAE at a fairly large call centre I find it equally if not more important that management make adequate time to interface with their staff regularly on more than just watching production indicators such as aht, hold times etc.

    It’s my observation that nothing kills moral as fast as not being appreciated for your complete person rather than just your ability to push through more in less time with minimal escallations.

    Genuine management praise and caring turns work that seems to go on for miles into work done with smiles. Smiling staff give great customer service and enhance the bottom line!

    It’s THAT which will keep your staff longer and minimize the attrition.

    Comment by Mike — 5 June, 2007 @ 3:19 | Reply

  2. I think this is well put Mike. Our CEO here has been stressing to all his direct-reports to do more MBWA (Management By Walking Around). This is another Tom Peters trademark concept and I think a good one all around. I know when I go downstairs to one of the areas where the action really is in our call centre, I never fail to be impressed by the energy and skills of our staff and I come away inspired to write some new marketing stuff (or a blog on how we need to take better care of our agents :-).

    Comment by shamrin — 5 June, 2007 @ 11:01 | Reply

  3. I also agree with your post. Training is definitely a must in outsourcing which is also the reason why training should be done well thus maximizing the potentials shown in outsourcing.

    Comment by carol — 14 June, 2007 @ 6:59 | Reply


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