Tasked with supporting a long-term RPO Business on a contingent level who were struggling with a high-volume Contact Centre Sales recruitment suffering from high attrition and market saturation, CCA faced a significant recruitment challenge delivering both short-term and longer term objectives, against a backdrop of an internal team failing to meet similar numbers over a longer period.
- Short-term objectives could be summarised as a commitment to deliver a team of 60 Inbound Sales and Retentions Advisors over a six-week period (3 x 20 intakes), November to December.
- Longer-term objectives comprised sustainable recruitment delivery, reduction in attrition and a changing of market perception.
CCA’s approach began with an end to end consultation, with full client coloration, designed to assess the client’s current recruitment position in terms of:
- Remuneration – salary benchmarking
- Market perception – advertising performance, social media impact, glassdoor reviews etc.
- Current attrition levels
- Attraction strategy
- Assessment model
- Recruitment process
- Candidate experience
- Onboarding process
- Training journey/speed to competency
Comprising a three-week series of meetings, engaging all relevant stakeholders across the client’s operation in conjunction with independent research, CCA’s consultation identified issues with:
- Market Perception – Continuous recruitment creating a “revolving door” image, unappealing “fully flex” shift patterns, alongside small issues with review sites e.g. Glassdoor creating a negative perception of working environment
- Attrition Level – in excess of 250% annualised, with specific trends identified around weeks 3-5.
- Recruitment Process – a 1-2-1 approach led by internal recruitment over operations, causing resource issues (labour intensive) and poor candidate experience
- Assessment model – a focus purely on relevant experience, restricting available talent pool, in a position which consultation revealed operations and training felt could be better served by behaviours and experience model
- Onboarding Process – a labour intensive and antiquated vetting system, disengaging candidates being used pre-interview
Following consultation, CCA proposed:
- Outsourcing recruitment to CCA on a retained basis to be delivered in partnership with Operations
- A co-ordinated and partnership led social media strategy (including the hiring of a local brand engagement manager), engaging both CCA and the client’s network
- Review and restructuring of shift patterns, with proposed rota’s being developed between the planning team and CCA
- Moving to a behaviours and experience led recruitment/assessment model
- Moving to an assessment centre-based recruitment process, scheduled 3 times per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays only) to ensure maximum return on time spent and high candidate attendance
- Streamlining the onboarding journey and vetting process
- An ongoing aftercare process, delivered by both the client and CCA, with CCA providing formal support/feedback during the training journey until week 5, and ad-hoc until week 12
- Detailed consultation with Operations, L&D and Training alongside profiling of top performing tenured employees was used to establish key skills need for the position, but also behaviours present in those who generally performed consistently within sales. A consistent theme emerged that whilst the client felt that generally the position could be trained to individuals regardless of employment background, behaviours and personality elements could not be taught, were generally unassessed and would only emerge as candidates completed training and began the role.
- This established a new candidate profile that the operations team desired to attract, but also that Training/L&D felt could be developed to competence within the required timescales.
- CCA modelled the ideal candidate’s profile and developed a behaviour led competency model to assess candidates. The assessment model combined traditional competency interviewing, with questions developed in conjunction with operations team managers, alongside skills assessment (call listening/group activities) and a focus on situational behaviours led questions designed to understand the candidate’s motivations and actions.
- Initial CV screen and sift criteria were also adapted to focus on relevant behaviours e.g. tenure in jobs and reasons for leaving over purely relevant experience.
- Assessment scoring criteria was developed by CCA in conjunction with the operation, creating a scoring matrix with three key areas:
- Skills – Assessed by call listening / written exercise
- Personality – Visually assessed and scored by assessors during a group exercise
- Experience and behaviours – Assessed via competency and behaviours interview
Assessment Process / Candidate Experience
Having established during consultation that a 1-2-1 assessment process was negatively impacting operational resource and candidate experience, CCA proposed an assessment centre process with key focus on:
- Consistent candidate experience, ensuring balance was struck between robust process and duplication of effort
- A “personal touch” approach to candidate engagement, recognising market competitors often apply a “volume” approach
- Creating time and resource effective assessment centres, with up to 15 high calibre candidates (1 to 3 assessor to candidate ratio) attending after CV sifting and tele-screening
- Creating a high-energy, informal assessment culture, with emphasis on selling the opportunity to candidates in addition to assessing
- Ensuring CCA and operational management delivered all assessment centres in partnership, ensuring a checks and balances approach
- A robust feedback/wash-up session ensuring all aspects of candidate performance are discussed in a group setting
- Post interview skills matching to relevant opportunity (Sales vs Retentions)
- Swift candidate feedback, ensuring all candidates have verbal offer (or decline) within 24hrs of assessment centre
- Pre-interview PES Screening forms moved to post interview, trading a small increase in process time for higher levels of candidate engagement
Aftercare / Ongoing Care
CCA advocate a high-touch, supportive aftercare process which begins from the point of verbal offer, continues throughout pre-employment screening and formal offer and tracks candidates during probationary period. Addressing specific issues identified during consultation, the aftercare process was established as:
- Support and guidance during completion of pre-employment online screening
- CCA issuing “Welcome Emails” to bridge time gaps between screening completion and official onboarding processes, ensuring continued candidate engagement
- Pre-start day check-in calls
- CCA Attendance at start mornings, including the addition of a welcome coffee morning to continue our personal touch approach to candidate engagement
- Formalised (but anonymous) verbal and written feedback sessions with all training groups at Weeks 1, 3 and 5 to check in with candidates, gauge experience and address concerns
- Ad-hoc support and ongoing candidate engagement up to Week 12
- Provision of support to operational management, engaging with candidates either 1-2-1 or in group settings to address any behavioural or attendance issues
- Identifying-high performing candidates or those with compelling stories to be included in future social media/attraction strategies
- Active engagement of candidates within training groups to identify potential sources of candidate referral
Results / Key Stats / Attrition
- Delivery Commitment Numbers, October – March, 205 Heads
- Delivery Numbers Achieved – 209 (102%)
- Average Assessment Centre Pass Rate – 72%
- Average % Offers Accepted (subject to vetting) per intake – 94.26%
- Average % Passing Vetting per intake – 91%
- Current Attrition Level – 6% monthly – account set up running at approx 20% monthly
- Percentage of (unique) applications reaching offer stage – 3.8%
- Ongoing feedback sessions with all relevant stakeholders, highlighting areas of success, addressing issues and discussing talent pipeline vs delivery needs
- A data led approach to continuous improvement of attraction strategy vs candidate performance, understanding which employment backgrounds produce high performing individuals and those that do not
- Identification of trends within leavers, supported with relevant evidence (e.g. exit interviews, operations feedback, performance figures) and root cause analysis. Lessons learned sessions to influence future talent attraction, candidate expectation management, training or other relevant areas as needed.
- CCA throughout the partnership also identified that some Team Managers had challenges with interviewing, and some has no experience at all. CCA engaged with Directorate team and created a Team Leader training program which was created and delivered by CCA to most of the Team Managers across the estate. This proved critical and more qualitative and cultural fit hires delivered.